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July 9, 2013

Home Cooking

Award-Winning Cooking
Those of you who have been reading for awhile know that my cooking skills are not totally up to par. I make a mean macaroni and cheese (from the box, thanks Kraft) but my Christmas cookies? Not so much. Apart from the cooking skills (or lack thereof), I also exhibit a mean case of Mommy Brain. For those not initiated, Mommy Brain is the mental condition where you periodically forget basic information such as where you put your keys, what you planned to do with that leftover piece of chicken in the fridge, or your children's first names. The combination of Mommy Brain with cooking skills that are best left to the fire department can be a deadly combination, as we discovered this past weekend.

I was feeling ambitious for dinner on Friday night and decided to whip up a good old fashioned casserole. This involved both the stove and the oven, as well as a skillet full of chicken. Once said chicken was cooking on the stove, I moved onto another part of the recipe, at which point I suddenly realized that I didn't have all of the ingredients.

So I did what any sensible person suffering from Mommy Brain would do; I scooped Evelyn up from the family room and we meandered over to Target while the boys worked on the patio outside. And yes, the chicken was still on the stove.

Thirty minutes later, Evie and I were done with our shopping excursion. I was loading her back into the carseat when reality broke through and I remembered my stove. Was it on? Was it off? Good Lord, was my house still standing?!

I jumped into our car and grabbed my phone, dialing Jonathan's number and hoping he would hear me over the housework. No answer. I called the entire ten minutes home, hoping and praying that he would be able to walk into the house and simply turn off the stove.

I pulled into the driveway, killed the engine, and grabbed Evelyn from her carseat. Together, we raced past the boys who were still working on the patio and made for the door. I yanked it open and was met with a wall of smoke so thick that I couldn't even see where I was going.

I ran back down the steps and put Evelyn down on the grass before racing into the smoky house, grabbing my blackened pan and hitting the button to turn off the stove. The smoke was so thick that it took me awhile to catch my breath once I made it back out.

Jonathan saw the commotion (having previously been unaware of the imminent danger as the house was completely closed up with the air conditioning blasting) and ran inside to open every window and door. Looking up from the lawn, I watched the smoke billow out of the windows.

It wasn't one of my better moments. In fact, this will fall under the category of one of the stupidest things I've ever done. But with all of that said, it came with one very large blessing- because of the smoke, we discovered that our fire alarms weren't functional. It's a simple thing- one we had simply overlooked, but there it was. Never once through the entire ordeal did they so much as peep which is a scary thought in case we ever had a real fire.

Suffice it to say that they are now fixed and in perfect working order and Nathaniel is even very excited about the fire plan we established as a family in case we ever need to use it. (I think he repeated it back to me no less than a dozen times last night just out of pure excitement, almost like he was hoping to see flames erupt from the roof.)

So all's well that ends well, this time at least. We discovered a potentially dangerous house problem and fixed it with no permanent damage except that our house absolutely reeks at the moment (though I'm told the smell should fade within two weeks). In the meantime, I'll be mouth-breathing my way through the kitchen, shopping for a new skillet, and compulsively checking my stove to be sure that it's actually off.


  1. Our second year in our house I set a baking stone on fire in the oven when I forgot to take it out before putting the oven on self-cleaning mode. It was December and there was so much smoke in the house we couldn't see. It took another 6 years for me to work up the guts to use the self-cleaning mode again, lol.

    1. Honestly, I don't blame you. I have never used the self-cleaning mode on any oven I own... mostly because I'm scared of burning the house down.

  2. Oh goodness! Glad you found out about your smoke detectors, but sorry you had to find out that way!

    1. Thanks Julie! It definitely wasn't the easiest way to learn the lesson but at least our house is still standing!! Looks like I'll have to be a better pyro next time! Ha!