Well, for at least another day we’ll keep going with the Thanksgiving memory theme I started yesterday. Today we will focus on complications that can arise when preheating ovens. Is preheating necessary for Thanksgiving cooking? Probably. It helps to avoid an undercooked turkey and thereby avoids death and other holiday hassles. Of course, the deep fry contingent probably doesn’t have to preheat ovens, though I’m sure that oil has to get hot enough before you drop the turkey in.
Anyway, on to the Thanksgiving memory of the day.
As it happens, I’m not actually sure that this happened on Thanksgiving. It could have just as easily happened on Christmas. It’s hard to remember at this point. Many of our holidays when I was growing up was celebrated at my paternal grandparents’ house and dinner was often the same (turkey, pies, stuffing, and so on until nauseum) so I can’t really be quite sure. We’ll just pretend I am sure, though, and that is was Thanksgiving.
To continue, the Thanksgiving (read “holiday”) was proceeding. The family was all hanging out around various portions of my paternal grandparents’ house. I was hanging out in the basement, as usual, with the other cousins and whoever else wandered down. Dinner preparations were beginning upstairs in the kitchen. Then, a strange smell rose in the air.
Now, this wasn’t the usual smells that were supposed to arise during preparation of Thanksgiving (read “holiday”) dinner. Not the wonderful smell of cooking turkey, pies, stuffing, and so on. This was much more the smell of burning plastic. Chaos commenced.
As it turned out, my paternal grandmother had preheated the oven in preparation to put the turkey in. Normally this would not be a problem. However, in order to not have to climb more stairs than necessary at her age to utilize the basement pantry arrangements, my paternal grandmother had taken to storing bags of chips, bread, and other sundry dry good items in the stove. She would just take them out before cooking, or at least she normally did. In this case, she had forgotten. The preheating temperature was apparently sufficient to set these oddly stored dry goods on fire. Hence the commotion.
The family recovered quickly, however. Doors and windows were thrown open. Burned dry goods were disposed of. The oven was cleaned and re-preheated and the warming of intended dinner products (ones not still in their packaging) commenced. Dinner was salvaged, but it did add a certain notability to the occasion.
I’m not sure there really is a takeaway from this one, other than the fact that I thought this situation was extremely funny. However, at the very least this Thanksgiving, take a peek in the oven before you preheat. You never know what rancidly-smelling flammable material someone might have stuck in there. It’ll save you some time, unless you want chaos to ensue. If you do, just though a couple bags of chips in the oven, turn the preheat to 450, and sit back to enjoy the fun.