Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Day I Almost Burned The House Down

On Friday night we were going to go out to dinner with my parents' and some friends on a gift certificate someone gave my parents for Christmas. We were all going to get Friday night fish fry and it was going to be amazing. But then Martin ended up working late, and I didn't get home all that early and we decided to skip out. But, still craving a fish fry - I decided I would make them at home. I have never actually made fish fry and I don't own a deep fryer but I reasoned my grandma makes homemade doughnuts without a deep fryer all the time it can't be that difficult.

So I looked up a recipe for beer battered fish fry. The recipe said to fry the fish in two quarts of oil. I only had one, but I figured that would be sufficient. I put the oil in a pot on the stove and went to work making a batter and planning the rest of dinner (broccoli, sweet potatoe fries, dirty rice and homemade tarter sauce for the fish). When I was done making the batter it already seemed like a success to me. I even took a picture because I knew the meal was going to be that good. In my head I was thinking up quirky little things I would write on my blog to describe the amazingness of this meal.

Somewhere along the way of whisking up the batter, I noticed that the pot was turning a very dark red and when I tried to shove it more centrally on the burner it didn't really slide. This was when I started to think that the candy apple red pot from Walmart wasn't really up for the job of hot oil. No fear, I had a cast iron pot that we got for our wedding and I hadn't even taken out of the box yet. I would just transfer the oil and dinner would be on its merry way.

During the transfer of the oil things got a little smokey, but no harm, no foul. I just kept Aubrey out of the kitchen. Then Martin called...

Martin: I'm just leaving work now
Me: Ok (my eyes were tearing slightly due to the smoke from the oil transfer)
Martin: Are you ok?
Me: Oh, yeah. I'm fine. It's just a little smokey at the moment.
Martin: Do you want me to pick something up for dinner.
Me: No. We should be good. I'm making fish fry!
Martin: Ok. See you in fifteen minutes.

Now things were really going well. I had a pot that was up for the job, baked sweet potatoe fries, a batter that looked delicious. This was gonna be GREAT! The kitchen was a little smokey, but whatever, we'd just eat in the living room. I brought Aubrey's high chair and set it up in the living room. I whipped up some tartar sauce and brought that into the living room with some lemon. I threw that bag of broccoli in the microwave to steam. Then I took the top off the pot of oil and picked up my first piece of fish to dip in the batter.

That's when flames shot up out of the pot. FLAMES. ACTUAL FIRE. I hadn't even gotten a piece of fish in there yet. OH MY GOD!!! I slammed the lid back on the pot, grabbed Aubrey and ran downstairs.

Me: Andy, take Aubrey. Just hold her for a second!
Andy: (confused) What?
Me: I'll be right back.

I ran upstairs and grabbed the pot making a beeline for the field outside. I figured if I could dump the pot in the field outside all would be good. Of course, it proved to be slightly difficult to navigate a flight of stairs with a scalding hot pot and I nearly burned my legs off on a few close calls. When I got to the bottom of the stairs I set the pot down, opened the door and then picked that pot back up to run for the field.

Except, then I dropped it. Right by the side of the house. And then there was a real fire ON THE SIDE OF THE HOUSE. OH MY GOD.

Andy: What? Fire? Where?
Me: (grabbing Aubrey from him and running towards the fire) Here, on the side of the house.

Then my Uncle Andy used a rug to beat out the fire.

At this point the apartment was filled with smoke. Smoke that burned your eyes. Andy sat downstairs out of the smoke with a screaming Aubrey while I gathered up fans. Then I sat downstairs out of the smoke with a calming Aubrey while Andy opened all the windows and put fans in them. Then Martin came home and the three of us sat downstairs in Andy's apartment for an hour. By this point it was 9:00 and far past Aubrey's 8:00 bedtime. The smoke upstairs had mostly dissipated but it still didn't really smell like the air was good for the lungs. So Aubrey and I headed to my mom's to spend the night.

Needless to say, we didn't have fish fry Friday night and I spent the majority of Saturday washing the smoke smell out of our entire apartment.


  1. Oh my gosh! Did you ever eat anything?

  2. Oh and also I don't think I would have thought about getting my kid out right away. Way to go mom

  3. Ha. I did end up eating at my mom's house and Aubrey ate right away in Andy's apartment. Funny this was your first concern after reading this story.