It is the disease of not listening, the malady of not marking, that I am troubled withal. -- Shakespeare, Henry IV
As much as I don't want to admit it, I am middle-aged. Where the heck did all the years go?
This afternoon I had what I termed a 'senior happening' that up until now I had discounted as only experienced by older people who were in the process of losing their faculties. It scared me deeply.
I was cooking, stirring a sauce with a plastic utensil, which I often use to avoid scratching my cookware. Then I was distracted by a holler from my daughter in the next room; she wanted my attention for something, I can't even remember what it was now. I couldn't have been absent for more than a minute or two, but upon my return I discovered to my horror that the entire kitchen was filled with smoke.
Missy must have heard my curses but otherwise she seemed to be oblivious to what was transpiring. The pot I had been stirring now contained a foul gooey mess - I had accidentally left the utensil in the pot, and it had melted and welded itself to the bottom of the pot. At once I shut off the stove, whisked the pot outside, and then opened as many of the windows as I could to clear the smoke.
The windows would remain open for the remainder of the afternoon as I tried to remove the burned plastic from the pot. I managed to scrape off most of it without damaging the steel, but a stubborn quarter-sized area remained despite all my efforts. Eventually I had to concede that the pot was most likely no longer useable.
Hours later, after dinner had finally been served, the kitchen cleared, and Missy put to bed, everything finally hit me. I had been distracted for a mere moment, and had forgotten the most basic rule of cooking safety: never leave an operating stove unattended. I had endangered my daughter and myself. This should not have happened. Only a fool could be ignorant of what was happening in front of them!
As I write, the house still reeks despite the windows having been open for half the afternoon. I'll probably have to wash everything that can be washed, to get rid of the smell. And I hope that Missy and I don't suffer any ill effects from inhaling that smoke, even if it was only for a few minutes.
One thing's for sure, I'll never leave a pot on the stove again.