Thursday, December 04, 2008

Too hot to handle

OK, I have 18 minutes to blog. That's the time remaining for my cake to bake in the oven. I promised the boys I will bake something tonight. Choco chip cookies, Markus said. But we don't have choco chips and we ran out of eggs. So I'm making this No Egg Chocolate Cake recipe that I found on the Internet. I hope it turns out well.

Here I sit, making sure I don't forget I have something in the oven. I have learned my lesson. It was about this day last year when I almost burned down our kitchen. I partially burned my arms.

What happened was, I was preparing to fry something and had poured canola oil in the pan when the phone rang. A telemarketer. It took a while before I could say, sorry, not interested. When I went back to the kitchen, I was distracted by the dirty plates in the sink and proceeded to wash them. I forgot about the frying pan.

As I was washing the dishes, out of the corner of my left eye, I noticed flames suddenly rise from the pan. OH NOOO! I panicked and lifted it straight to the sink under the running water. BAD IDEA. I knew I wasn't supposed to do that but I was not thinking.

What happened next was that the flames grew and burned the paper towel hanging above the sink. I got more scared and carried the hot and burning pan out into the adjacent foyer. I thought it was safer there.

I carefully put down the pan on the floor, while enduring a burning sensation on my hands. During those 6 or 7 steps to the foyer, I saw something burning on the right side of my face. OHHH NO MY FACE!!! I thought it had caught fire.

I quickly stepped back, covering my face with my hands, spun around, bumped into oven and lost my balance. I dropped to the floor with a loud thud. All these happened within seconds.

"GABRIEEEEL!" I screamed. I knew he was in the basement. I alerted him to what was going on so he could call for help or run for safety.

"Mom, what was that?" he asked, looking at the pan on the floor. The fire had almost died out. I was composing myself.

"I almost burned the kitchen," I answered. I checked myself in the mirror. My hair was singed but my face was spared. I was so relieved. I ran cold water on my hands and forearms which had turned red and were hurting.

I looked around the kitchen. How did the paper towel not completely burn? I wondered. It was like the fire was snuffed out as soon as it started. Same thing with my hair. Only the surface of my thick hair got singed.

I imagined my guardian angels must have been busy putting out fires here and there. Oh you foolish woman...

For the next several days, I applied lots of my doctor-prescribed cream that looked like mayo on my forearms which I then wrapped in saran wrap. "My lunch," I joked to the kids.

I still have burn scars on my right forearm. They look like a map, slightly browner than my skin.

"When your pan catches fire," a friend said, "just toss salt into it." Really? I never knew that. I know I can simply turn off the stove and toss in a wet cloth, which I forgot to do. I tried to grab the fire extinguisher, but didn't know how to work it.

"When you get a burn, rub toothpaste on it," another friend said. She swears by this first aid technique.

"Stop, drop and roll..." I used to sing with my young sons at their daycare class on Fire Prevention Week years ago. That's what you're supposed to do when you catch fire. Stop, drop and roll. I dropped and rolled on the floor, all right, but it was unintentional.

The most important lesson I learned from that experience is not to leave hot oil cooking in the pan. I am very aware of this now.

I think the cake is done. It will be ready when the boys wake up.

Take care in the kitchen.

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