I love to cook. Usually. It gets old with minions whining about the little green things (herbs) or how the pasta tastes funny (because it isn’t elbow macaroni), but I generally like cooking. I love being adventurous. And not to brag or anything, but I’ve gotten pretty good over the years. This year’s culinary adventure was into the world of Asian food, and I’m now obsessed with Thai coconut curry.
That is irrelevant to this post, I just super love curry. Anyway. Yesterday was like New England summer (read: 50 degrees) so the girls felt that riding bikes in sun dresses and flip-flops was appropriate. Though I made them wear actual clothes, I DID wholeheartedly shoo them out the door. This left me with a rare window to prepare dinner without chaos. No one shoving me into the hot stove because it’s their turn to stir. No one sliding their finger under my chef’s knife to steal a piece of pepper. Because that’s happened. Just uninterrupted cooking. Glorious.
The whole house was clean, and I REALLY didn’t want to make a mess, so the Nerd offered to help me in the kitchen because he loves me. This could be fun, I thought.
Side note: The night before, Make-A-Wish volunteers delivered our wish package, along with pizza for dinner. You’ll see why that’s important in a bit.
We started prepping the ingredients. I asked him to chop the garlic. I use LOTS of garlic. I pulled out other things, only to look over and see that he was individually peeling each clove – with his fingers. I do the smack down – literally. I smack the garlic with the flat side of my chef’s knife, and the peel virtually falls off. It’s fast. I need everything to be fast at dinner time. But he didn’t want to try that technique, so I let it go and let him peel.
Next was the onion. I showed him how to dice an onion while I prepped a pot of water on the other burner for the pasta. He did pretty well, for a first timer. Thinking he had the onions under control, I turned on the oven to pre-heat and got out the rest of the ingredients from the fridge. A few minutes later, I realize he hasn’t stirred the onions. I give them a toss just in time – caramelized, but not burned. Thank heaven. He’s now asking about slicing green onions. I give him instructions. Smush walks in and asks what’s burning.
Wait, what? Cue this scene:
Smush: Uh, what’s burning?
Smush: Yes it is. I see smoke.
Me: Oh my gosh. There is smoke. Where is it coming from?
Me: The oven! The oven is on fire!
Nerd: But there’s nothing in there yet!
Me: I know! Oh God, wait. I left the pizza box in there. The pizza box is on fire! *rapidly turns off oven*
Nerd: Okay, I’m gonna open the door to let it cool off.
Me: NO!! You’ll feed it by giving the flames oxygen. It’s better to let the flames die out first, THEN open the door.
Nerd: Oh, right. Okay.
Me: *grabs fire extinguisher*
Nerd: What are you doing?
Me: Getting ready.
Nerd: Don’t use that. You won’t be able to use the oven if you spray that stuff in there.
Me: Okay, fine. But I’m ready. Just in case.
Nerd: *cracks oven door open when flames die out*
FUN FACT: The amount of smoke produced by a burning pizza box is UNREAL. Instantly the kitchen is full of smoke, and it is spreading through other rooms. The girls ran in to see the commotion.
Nerd and I: *coughing* Get out of the room! The fire is out but the smoke is dangerous! Get out of the room!
Nerd and I: *frantically opening every door and window we can find. Running around blindly because my eyes feel like someone poured acid on them and my lungs are crying.*
Nerd: I can’t see!
Me: Me either!
Nerd: Okay, I’m gonna grab the box and get it out of here. Clear a path.
Me: *moves things out of the way* Done!
Me: Thank God.
Both of us are still rubbing our eyes. I’m still coughing sporadically. We get outside to deeply inhale some fresh air. The house begins to clear up. Fans are on, windows are open, and most importantly, nothing is on fire.
Me: Where are the girls?
Me: They ran all the way to the church parking lot. *giggle*
In the beginning of the school year, Goo did a packet on fire safety. Part of that packet was making a fire escape plan and practicing with the family. Our plan was to meet in the church parking lot next door if, for some reason, we got separated. So at the sight of smoke, Goo made everybody run to the parking lot. At least we know she’s got a clear head in the face of emergency.
The house almost went up in flames. Again. But dinner wasn’t ruined. And I found out my kids actually remember the fire escape plan. So, umm, yay for being prepared?
You know, minus leaving the cardboard pizza box in the oven.