Thursday, May 29, 2008

Nachos Flambe

My dear cousin Lisa (who never seems to learn where these things get you) asked:

"What? I need to know about the Nacho Fire Incident! Sounds… eventful!

Do tell."

So I had no choice but to respond:

Oh ... it was a doooosey!

We had my friends' daughter with us - Talen was babysitting .... We went to Fallbrook and played and played ... thought we'd heat up a pizza when we got home. Then it turns out Sven had eaten the pizza we thought was in the freezer so we settled on nachos.

A big, 9x13 inch pan chock full of nachos ...

So I put the nachos in under the broiler about the same second that Bella asked for help with the knitting she was trying to get started ... (yes, cue ominous music) I went to help her and of course it had to be completely re-done ...

After only a few minutes (I swear!) of undoing, I asked Noah to check on the nachos.

"Mom. They're on fire."


"On fire, mom. Like with flames."

Crap! I jumped up and ran for the kitchen to find, sure enough, a 9x13-shaped fire in our oven. The chips were completely engulfed and had flames about 6-8" high curling up and out of the oven. Our really high-tech fire alarm starts blaring. I realize we have about a dozen sprinklers in our apartment about to go off and destroy everything we own.

I thought, "Fire needs air." and shut the oven door.

I opened the door to check. Apparently our oven isn't really airtight (especially with the door open) because that fire was burning along merrily.

So I grabbed a dish towel and thought to smother said fire. I also thought, "This isn't very smart. What if the towel catches on fire?"

THEN it occurred to me that we have fire extinguishers in the hallway. So I pull it together like a crisis-trained lifeguard: "Noah, run down the hall and get a fire extinguisher." Yep, assign a task to an individual (Do I have to ask Talen to call 911? No, not yet.) and get them on their way. It's the Lifeguard Way.

Talen arrived in the kitchen a moment later. I say in my most authoritative voice, "Talen, you go with Noah. Help him hurry." She runs.

As the door shut behind her, another thought crosses my mind: "Water puts out some fires."

So I grab a 2-Quart Batter Bowl (God Bless the Pampered Chef) and head for the sink. As it starts to fill (rather slowly, I think to myself over the rather incessant screeching of the fire alarm) I realize that if I toss this bowl of water onto the nachos that are burning away quite happily in my Pampered Chef 9x13 Stoneware Baking Dish (the one with the fabulous French Vanilla finish on the outside) it will probably break.

Now, that wouldn't do.

But we have spray bottles under the sink. I open the cupboard and try to recall which of them are empty, which are filled with (flammable) cleaners, and which might have water. Luckily I had my plant water spray bottle right there with it's happy little green and yellow top. And it had water in it. So I picked it up, turned around, and spritzed a few squirts of water onto the by now burnt-out wreckage of cheese and tortilla chips.

Ahh. I pause a moment.

Oh yes.

The kids.

I open the door to the sight of Talen running frantically down the hallway, fire extinguisher in hand, Noah right behind.

And I yell, "Water! WATER puts out fires!"

Talen stopped, turned quietly, and returned the fire extinguisher to it's cubby.

Crisis well-managed, I'd say.