East of Paris Bookstore

Monday, August 9, 2010

Eau de Wildfire

Ten years into marriage and it may well be that Mr. Wonderful and I have finally had an argument ... or, more diplomatically, a difference in views. We did not argue; rather, we danced around the key issue. Was this non-altercation about art? Politics?  Monetary policy?  Alas, no; nothing so prosaic.  It was really about cooking (or something)!!

The other evening, I volunteered to be responsible to make our dinner.  I also had a 6:00 p.m. telephone call scheduled with a fellow trustee of a non-profit entity with which I am involved.  When the appointed time came, I was seated at my desk: computer turned on and telephone at hand.  My fellow trustee did not call.  So, after ten minutes, I went to the kitchen to start dinner.  I planned to get things done to a certain point, then turn off the burner on the stove and attend to my telephone call when (if) it happened.   My colleague finally called, and I went to the library to attend to business matters.

As I sat at my my desk in the library pontificating on various matters, I thought I smelled wonderful aromas drifting from the kitchen.  After a short time, I thought I smelled something burning.  No matter, Mr. Wonderful was in the great room next to the kitchen; and, good man that he is, he probably realized something was burning and turned off the burners on the stove. As I continued the conversation with my colleague, the smell of something burning  got stronger. Having full faith in Mr. Wonderful, I dismissed any feelings of foreboding.  I assured myself that he had handled any possible crisis and that I was only smelling residual aromas of a problem that had been solved.  Ha!

When my telephone call ended and I walked into the kitchen, I clearly saw the burner under my All-Clad Stainless 6-Quart Saute Pan was still on "high."  Clearly, I had forgotten to turn it off when I went to answer the telephone.  Equally clearly, Mr. Wonderful had ignored a potential kitchen catastrophe.  The Brussels sprouts that I was going to glaze had burned beyond recognition.  They were black and crumbled to ash as I brushed them out of the pan and into the garbage disposal in the sink. The heretofore wonderful saute pan (a wedding present I might add) was destroyed.
So, what have we learned here?  Obviously, never leave the stove when cooking.  Check that burners are turned off.  Then check again.  And, the big lesson:  do not rely on anyone else to address the first two lessons!  When I asked Mr. Wonderful why he had ignored the smell of burning ... he merely shrugged and suggested that  dinner was not his responsibility that night. When I asked what he would have done had I been on the telephone and had he seen flames leaping from the saute pan, he said that the cover was on the pan, so there would not have been any flames.  Lovely.  At that point I decided to eschew noting that with such attitudes Harvard alumni are frequently seen to be out of touch with reality.  He would not had understood ... poor man ... and I would have been wasting my breath.

Nevertheless, we had a nice dinner -- minus the vegetable course.  We made up for it with more wine.  Perhaps by the end of the week, the house will no longer bear the aroma of eau de wildfire.

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