03 October 2007

Burn, baby, burn

I did something today that I have never done before. I wish that sentence could lead into a description of a fantastic accomplishment (or at least a kinky sexual position), but it doesn't. Instead, the smokey haze lingering around my house represents something much more mundane. I burned the crap out of dinner. Well, part of it.

The tomato sauce (made up of good stuff I had around the house like onion, ground beef, and purple basil from our garden along with half a leftover jar of store-bought sauce) was happily simmering on the stove when I decided to reduce some red wine I had stashed in the freezer (the dregs of various bottles from past dinners and parties). The idea was that the reduced wine would add a layer of complexity and deliciousness to the otherwise decent but boring sauce.

It might have done that, had I paid attention.

Instead, I went downstairs to work. I did check on the wine a couple of times but it hadn't reduced enough. Eventually I got involved in a task (probably updating powerpoint status charts - how TPS-report-esque can I get?) and forgot about the wine. When I went upstairs to grab my bag to go pick up the boys from daycare, I was met with the smell of charred red wine and the sight of smoke billowing out of the saucepan. Fuck.

Fortunately for my eardrums, but unfortunately for the house had the smoke turned into fire, 2 of the 3 main level smoke alarms had been disconnected by The Scientist last week when a slightly cruddy broiler pan gave off too much smoke while making chicken (no chicken was burned that time, though). Had the smoke alarms been on, I'm sure I would have been alerted much sooner to my mistake, but I would have OD'd on adrenaline and probably ran around frantically rather than just turning the burner off and calmly setting the burned pan on the concrete step in our backyard (poise under pressure, that's me).

I'm glad the crisis was minor. I'm especially glad I didn't burn the house down. I feel pretty stupid for making such a rookie mistake and I'm bummed that one of my favorite pans might have to get thrown away.

Updated to add: The Scientist laughed at me when he came home, but he said he didn't even notice the smoke smell. He managed to rescue my pan, triumphantly bringing the blackened, rubbery disc of burned wine he pried out of the bottom of the pan for me to see. The smoke smell drifted upstairs to our bedroom, though, and bothered me all night, prompting weird dreams of fire that jolted me out of sleep several times. Oh, and the sauce was decent, but boring.

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