On Saturday I was toasting pine nuts in the broiler in preparation for a dinner with friends. I love making dinner for people. It is my excuse to indulge in extravagant new recipes and flavor combos, in this case: chili pepper peanut spinach pine-nut pasta. But distracted by a domestic kerfuffle with K, I forgot the pine nuts, and returned from the living room to a smoke-smelling stove. I turned off the burner, thinking I’d scorched the spinach, and then realized the whole broiler was on fire. The pine nuts.
My brain became a calculator: What puts out fire? Flour will smother it. I started flailing through all the cabinets; where did that bag of flour go? I located a bag of white sugar. Brain said no: Sugar = charred carmely mess. Kevin opened the broiler and tried to blow it out and the flames licked back at him like in some action movie. I dumped a plastic dish tub of water in the oven. But the broiler was just a little cupboard of flames. And I saw why it’s important to keep your fire-fighting supplies close at hand, with the flames growing exponentially larger and more and more black smoke crawling up the walls and along the ceiling.
I ran upstairs to see if our landlord had a fire extinguisher. They did not, but the landlord and his son rushed downstairs to help. Keeping the oven door closed helped put it out, and soon we were flame-less. We walked through every room opening windows and doors to the chilly evening air.
Dinner guests (hi, SJ-Y and Robin!) arrived a few minutes later and were good-humored enough to go with us to a BYOB Thai restaurant down the street. Plus take us out for karaoke afterwards.
We were lucky. I’m not sure if our oven still works.
But nothing seems so bad, on the other side of a put-out fire.