Tuesday 4 December 2012

My deaf fire alarm

Yesterday, I came into possession of some free baking potatoes – not through theft I might add. 

'Excellent,' I thought as I did a mental Ready Steady Cook thinking about the beans and cheese I knew I already had at home.

But of course jacket potatoes, if you want them with tasty skins are not something to hurry but given the fact that my hunger rating has been off the scale recently, a two-hour slow cook in my beloved Smeg oven was out of the question.

So instead I scrubbed my potato and stuffed it in the microwave for 5 minutes while cranking my oven up to its top fan-assisted heat setting.

The microwave pinged – allegedly as even my new aids don't give me this sound – and I transferred my somewhat gelatinous baked potato to the shelf of my rather hot oven wishing the skin would crisp quickly.

Ten minutes later I opened the oven door and discovered that my Smeg oven is seemingly capable of solar-like temperatures. My jacket potato was in danger of becoming a cinder of its former self.

I quickly scooped it up, plonked on the hot beans and added a little sprinkle (ha, can anyone actually just have a little sprinkle?!) of grated cheese followed by a dash of Tabasco and some sea salt flakes.

It looked delicious.

But then, from amongst the whirr of my oven cooling down and the low hum of my TV, another sound began to penetrate my hearing aids. 

'What is that?!' I wondered as I stood and listened for a second gradually realising it was a low buzzing sound. I picked up my door phone thinking someone was outside but it wasn't that. And then I remembered I'd just burnt my jacket potato in an oven that was hotter than the sun and flew into my bedroom.

There was a disco going on.

The fire alarm strobe was flashing in a retina scorching manner and the vibrating box? Well to ensure I am awoken in a fire, this is sandwiched between the mattress and the wooden bed frame and the wood acts as the most amazing sound conductor. I picked it up in a panic, before realising that I had to put it back down and go and waft my smoke alarm to shut it up. I grabbed the closest thing to waft with – my pyjama bottoms – and legged it to my hallway, flailing wildly underneath my smoke alarm, which is miles away given the height of my ceilings. The disco continued in the next room.

Mid flail, I anticipated just what kind of email I'd be receiving from my neighbour.

Then finally, everything was calm.

Well everything except for me that is. I was shaking like a Powerplate stuck on high. Adrenalin coursed through my veins, my hair looked like I'd been dragged through a hedge backwards after it had become tangled up in the flapping pyjama bottoms, and my dinner?

Well thankfully as it'd baked it in an oven that was hotter than the sun, it was still nice and warm and the sprinkling (ha!) of cheese had melted nicely.

As I sat there munching away, marvelling at what had just happened, I couldn't help wondering how it is that I can bake such marvellous cakes and dream up quite bonkers recipes but when it comes to simple things, such as boiling eggs (they explode), stir-fries (I always cook the meat to death for fear of poisoning my guests), cheese on toast (another fire alarm causing meal of mine - how do you stop the corners from catching fire?), and indeed baked potatoes, I'm completely hopeless.

It takes me right back to my school days when my chocolate pudding exploded in my pressure cooker, came through the valve and decorated the ceiling like a cow on laxatives.

So tonight I am doing the following for dinner – making sure someone cooks it for me. Any offers?


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