Well, that was embarassing.

Have you ever made a meal so good you dream about it, drool when you think about it, crave it so much that you think you could eat it every day of your life?  Tonight was one of those meals for me.

Today was my anti-procrastination day.  I had a laundry list of things to-do that I haven’t had time for, haven’t felt like doing or have put off for some other reason.  This afternoon I made a list, pulled everything together, threw it in the car and starting running.  I went to the local Post Office, which is still from the era of only one or two desk clerks and a long line to wait in.  Thankfully that trip went pretty smoothly.  From there I ran to various stores making returns for about 10 things that didn’t work out.  In most of these stores there were more lines.  If you can’t tell, I’m not a fan of lines, but I am willing to put up with them for a little extra cash in my pocket. 🙂

Mid-way through my errands I swung home, grabbed my son off the bus and took him with me.  Our first stop was the gas station for air in a low tire.  The air compressor was out-of-order.  I had to laugh.  What makes and air compressor be “out-of-order”?  Did it run out of air?  We bookmarked the air for a later stop.  From there we darted from store to store.  Mostly returns, but grabbing a couple of necessities when needed, then moving on.  One of our final stops was the grocery store.  After running all day I didn’t feel much like cooking up a big dinner, but then remembered one of my favorite recipes: Chicken with Walnuts.  It’s a recipe my mom has been making since I was in high school.  When I moved out that was one of the “must have” recipes from my mom.  I love that stuff!  I’ve made that recipe so much that I know the ingredients by heart so I knew exactly what to grab at the store so we could get home.

I think I actually started drooling in the car.  I could practically taste it. The ginger, the chicken, the crisp-tender green peppers and the toasty walnuts…  There is one thing about making this recipe though, since it’s a stir-fry it tends to be a titch smokey when it’s cooking.   Actually, that’s an understatement.  It’s always been a bit of a joke in my family.  When it’s smokey and you cough a little while it’s cooking but it tastes amazing when you eat it, we call it “a good do”.   Because of this, I always take precautions when I make this recipe.  The exhaust fan absolutely  has to be on  high before even starting and it’s best to keep windows and doors easily accessible (especially since I live in an old house so the exhaust fan really only recirculates the air.)  Usually I’ll close the kitchen door leading to the living room as well to prevent the smoke from wafting to the smoke detector.  Tonight, I didn’t.  The two dogs are just starting to hang out in the house together again since Darby’s back surgery and need to be supervised, so I left the door open.   So as I stir fried, transferred and stir fried some more, getting caught up in the smell and anxious for a bite, I lost track of the smoke that was building up in the kitchen… and the rest of the house.  It wasn’t until I was about a minute from finishing that my son said, “Wow!  There’s a lot of steam, Mom.”  I took a step back, looked up and saw the haze. “Uh, oh” I thought.  Seconds later the fire alarm went off.  I’m not talking a little battery operated smoke detector, but the full-blown fire alarm.  We have a security system in our house, which has the fire alarm wired into it, so when I say fire alarm I mean a sound blaring so loud you can’t hear yourself think.  Plus, the keypad for the alarm was blaring.  I dashed from the stove.. to the keypad.. to the detector (where I fanned wildly)…  to the keypad… to the stove… to the detector, again fanning wildly.. and back to the keypad.  Silence.  Whew!  My son and I started laughing.  That was close.

A couple of minutes later we heard sirens.  My son and I joked,  “Good thing that’s not for us!”.  But as I was putting food on our plates (keep in mind NOTHING burned, all the smoke was caused by the intense heat, oil and stir frying action in my cast iron pan) my son said, “Mom, that is for us.”  “No,” I thought, “it can’t be.”  (We live next to a busy street so we hear sirens all the time.)  That’s when I turned to look out the front window and saw flashing red lights bouncing off the windows of the house across the street.  My denial stopped.  That was for us.  A great big fire engine was now parked right in front of our house and more sirens could be heard in the distance.  As all the blood in my body rushed to my face I ran out to the fire engine and told them there was no fire. Just dinner.

Long story short, one of the fire fighters had to come in to confirm that we weren’t going to die from smoke inhalation.  Once we had all alarms reset and he confirmed I was just insane, he left.  Just after the fireman walked out our door and climbed back into the engine my son turned to me and said, “Well, that was embarrassing.”  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Dear Santa,

I wish for a commercial kitchen ventilation system with an external exhaust fan.

I’ll leave cookies and milk, but no stir fry.


5 Comments to “Well, that was embarassing.”

  1. A good do!


  2. That is an awesome story. Really awesome!


  3. Our smoke alarm goes off every time we even boil water if the basement door is open. Thank goodness it’s not hooked up to a security system where the fire dept would show up! We would need a frequent user punch card. I am asking for a new kitchen with industrial exhaust for Christmas as well:)


  4. Oh, man. Chicken and walnuts. I haven’t had chicken and walnuts in ages. Now I am drooling. Embarrassing, yes, but worth it.


  5. Oh how I laughed. l usually have a smokey kitchen but not to the fire department level. Of course I keep the outside door open a crack. You just made me hungry for chicken and walnuts. Mom


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