The Smoke Alarms Work

No worries. Our smoke alarms work. I gave ’em a good test last night.

It started out innocently enough. I wanted to make my family a nice Sunday night dinner after a long weekend of house hunting. Risotto, London Broil and broccoli. Clearly too much for our sweet 1970s-era appliances and lost-her-cooking-mojo gal to handle.

My first clue that I was pushing it should have been the fact that the oven doesn’t have a broiler but a broiler drawer. And although I will be the first to admit that my cooking knowledge and skills have waned in the years since I became a workaholic mom of two and sometimes wife to a very good man, I have never used a drawer to broil. Aren’t broilers IN the actual oven now? Oh well, this is Portland Bridget and she’s willing to try new things.

I was buzzing along – steaming the broccoli, stirring the risotto. I went to check the steak. And burnt the first layer of skin off the side of my left hand because I didn’t know how to check something that was cooking under a fire IN a drawer. Of course, after I burned myself and yelped some choice words, I found that the drawer face actually folds out and down and you can slide your food out – like a rack in an oven. So your food is literally scraping about half an inch from the floor of the kitchen. Mmmmm. Tasty. Clearly having a premonitory flash, Kenny quipped that this couldn’t possibly be safe. Safety issues aside, the steak was cooking. I flipped it, then flipped the drawer face back up, and went back to stirring risotto.

Two minutes later, we were deafened by quite literally the loudest smoke alarm in the history of smoke alarms. So much happened in the next two minutes:

  • I pulled the drawer open. Yup. Unintentional steak en flambé. I turned off the broiler and closed the drawer to smother the flames.
  • Gavin and Grace were laughing / screaming and covering their ears.
  • I then stirred the risotto, which in hindsight, is probably not the best behavior to display in front of young, impressionable children when an actual smoke alarm is going off. I am just waiting for Gavin to ask me some smart question like “Mom, why didn’t you stop, drop and roll when the fire alarm was beeping?”
  • Kenny came running into the room waving a towel. He rally-toweled in front of the smoke detector for a few minutes in an attempt to clear the air. That wasn’t quite letting me know just how much he loves when I cook, so he then proceeded to pull a chair over and whoop it up while standing on a chair. Of course, both kids wanted to try this “game”.
  • I opened the porch door.
  • Kenny checked the steak.
  • I opened the front window.
  • Kenny commented that he just knew the fire department was going to show up. Didn’t happen. Thank goodness.
  • I threw broth on and stirred the risotto and asked Kenny, “How’s the steak?” His reply, “It’s not on fire anymore.” That right there might just be the best conversation we’ve had all year. Classic.

Amazingly, everything turned out perfect. The steak was perfectly cooked. The pan in which it was cooked…eh, I’ll likely ask Santa for a new one.

And, I sufficiently terrified my children. Tonight I made pasta and they saw the steam rise from the sink when I drained it. They looked at each other and Gavin said, “Mom? Is that noise going to come back on?”; Grace nodded in support of his trepidation and chimed in “I didn’t like that noise. It was TOO loud. And you had to open the windows, and I was freeeeeeezin’.”

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