Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Putting out the Flames

Alas, comes a time in every fledgling cook's kitchen when a little mishap occurs.  For instance, I remember one winter I was cooking up a storm at my parent's house, when I heated up a skillet on high, forgot about it for several minutes, remembered it was on and I had to get some onions caramelized, and poured olive oil directly onto it.  WHOOSH.  That oil immediately lit up in flames.  In a complete panick, I managed to get the front door of the house open, grabbed hold of the skillet with a mit, and triumphantly threw the entire blazing mess outside into a snowstorm that was currently blanketing the driveway.

This evening came another "hands on" learning experience: broiling mushroom caps slathered in EVOO.  

My roommate and I were both making our respective dinners tonight when suddenly...smoke. LOTS of smoke.  She smartly turned off the oven because she was first to notice something was amiss, opened the oven door to see what was going on, and FIRE BABY, FIRE!  The oil on the sheet of tin foil that the mushroom caps were roasting on was entirely ablaze. Flames were licking the inside of the oven.  Smoke billowed out, the fire alarm was going off, the dog was running around barking like crazy, I was in the middle of eating some grapes, and we were both completely panicked because neither one of us knew exactly what to do.

After shrieking for a few moments, we got things under control.  And shortly thereafter, I Googled "How to put out an oven fire" (for future reference) and the very first link that popped up was information hailing from dummies.com.  Naturally.

Below is that information of what to do (and what not to do) in the event your baby quiches or roasted veggies take a turn for the worse.  Amusing thing is - my roommate said those mushroom caps still tasted great.  They were delicately smokey in flavor. 

How to Put Out Kitchen Fires. (From here).

When a fire starts in the kitchen, you need to act fast to keep the fire from getting out of control. But how you act depends on what kind of fire you have and where it is. Follow these instructions for putting out kitchen fires:

• If you have a fire in the oven or the microwave, close the door or keep it closed, and turn off the oven. Don’t open the door! The lack of oxygen will suffocate the flames.

• If your oven continues to smoke like a fire is still going on in there, call the fire department.

• If you have a fire in a cooking pan, use an oven mitt to clap on the lid, then move the pan off the burner, and turn off the stove. The lack of oxygen will stop the flames in a pot.

• If you can’t safely put the lid on a flaming pan or you don’t have a lid for the pan, use your fire extinguisher. Aim at the base of the fire — not the flames.

Never use water to put out grease fires! Water repels grease and can spread the fire by splattering the grease. Instead, try one of these methods:

• If the fire is small, cover the pan with a lid and turn off the burner.

• Throw lots of baking soda or salt on it. NEVER use flour, which can explode or make the fire worse.

• Smother the fire with a wet towel or other large wet cloth.

• Use a fire extinguisher.

• Don’t swat at a fire with a towel, apron, or other clothing. You’re likely to fan the flames and spread the fire.

• If the fire is spreading and you can’t control it, get everyone out of the house and call 911! Make sure everybody in your family knows how to get out of the house safely in case of a fire. Practice your fire escape route.

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