Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Adventures in Cooking: Burning Rubber

While I’ve had my fair share of cooking disasters, the crock pot has always been a constant, faithful, loyal, non-hazardous friend. Until yesterday.

Previous culinary fiascos of mine have included, but are not limited to:

-Exploding an egg in the microwave. The recipe said there was no quicker way to cook The Perfect Egg. I say if you want The Perfect Mess, try watching me cook The Perfect Egg.

-Frying and eating pork sausage patties that were still PINK in the middle. I was 12, and I was darn HUNGRY. I served the medium-rare pork sausage to my 2 younger sisters and then proceeded to help myself to seconds. I swear I wasn’t trying to kill anybody, I was merely staving off starvation. Who knew about trychinosis? The outside was burnt, so I assumed it was done.

When my mother found out, she herded us to the back yard, where we had to make ourselves throw up. (Yes, three children gagging in the back yard with a frantic mother wringing her hands and calling every doctor on the East Coast. Such fond family memories.)

The Raw Sausage Story is usually referenced when they're discussing the time I had a tea party with my sisters and served D-Con rat poisoning. We weren’t going to eat it for gosh sakes. It just looked nice on the dainty little plates.

-Exploding a glass baking dish that was loaded with delectable, and soon-to-be shard-covered lasagna. I guess the oven was too hot for the glass. Hmmph. These cookbooks should provide WARNINGS about the possible hazards.

Anyway, the crock pot has been fool-proof cooking for me for almost 20 years.

Until yesterday.

After putting a meatloaf in and walking away, I soon smelled burning rubber. Fearing an electrical fire and wondering what I’d need to grab in case of a blazing inferno, I traced the smell to its source: the brand new, stainless steel crock pot with black plastic carrying strap.

Never mind the particulars, but Someone had stored the black carrying strap in between the heating element and the crock. Someone forgot to remove it before turning on the meatloaf, which, along with the black carrying strap, was going to simmer on low for 8 hours before shifting to warm.

Warning: If Someone ever invites you over to dinner, bring a Hazmat Team and safety goggles. As well as a pizza.

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