Apparently I wasn’t meant to have croutons on my salad today. I wanted to freshen up the stale ones we had in the cupboard so I put some in a pan under the broiler for a couple of minutes. That would have been perfect except I got busy making the rest of my salad and forgot about them.
About a second before the burnt stench reached me I remembered the croutons and rushed over to rescue them from the oven. But I was too late – the pan was on fire! Blackened nuggets that used to be croutons fed the flames until they were a healthy 4-5″ tall. Yikes! What to do??
I pulled the rack out and looked at the flaming pan, debating my options. Wow, I’m calmer than I’d expect, I wonder if it’ll wear out and I’ll freak.
- Close the oven door? No, what if the whole oven starts on fire?
- Throw the pan into the sink? No, carrying a flaming pan across the kitchen can’t be safe. Besides, I’d learned that you’re not supposed to put water on a kitchen fire.
- Baking soda? That’s what you’re supposed to do, but I don’t think we have enough.
- Baking powder? No, we definitely don’t have of that.
- Put a lid over it? I could, but don’t want to leave the open oven to rummage in the cupboard for a lid.
All of these thoughts went through my mind in about a millisecond. Then I spied the big box of kosher salt on the back of the stove. Aha! Smother the flames with the salt! I dumped salt on the blackened croutons until the flames were all out then put the pan on the back of the stove to cool, cursing my stupidity.
Meanwhile the boys and Tara (a daycare child) were watching with interest from the table where they were eating their lunch. “Something’s on fire, Amy.” “The smoke alarm is going off, do we have to go outside?” “Is the fire out?” “Can I have some ketchup?” “Why was there a fire?” “The smoke alarm stopped.” “What’s for fruit?” Oh gawd, I hope Tara doesn’t go home and her parents that there was a fire at Amy’s today!
Not having learned my lesson I still wanted croutons on my salad so I put the last of them into a clean pan, turned the oven OFF, and set the pan on the lower rack. I figured that with the oven off and the pan on the lower rack I was safe, and went back to constructing my salad.
I didn’t forget about them this time… OK, I did, but just for a little bit… When I opened the oven the croutons were dark, dark, dark, DARK brown. Arrrgh! These almost-burnt offerings – the last of the croutons – were tossed into the sink. Now I felt even stupider, was still hungry, and had no croutons for my salad. Waaah!
Then I remembered the garlic toast leftovers in the bread drawer. Hooray, my salad was saved! This time I was super-duper-smart: I put two slices on the oven rack and set the timer for one minute. Who says you can’t teach an old dog a new trick?! Hey, who called me an old dog?!! The garlic toast turned out perfect; nice and toasty, and most important- not burned.
Tomorrow I think I’ll have leftover spaghetti warmed up in the microwave. The nice, safe microwave.