Warning: This post originally aired in 2009. All fires are now extinguished.
It was the Canadian Thanksgiving this past weekend; wherein we celebrate, much as Americans do (but we do it earlier), with family and friends and many of us roast Very Large Items like turkeys or geese, and create many a side dish of potatoes or yams (no marshmallows please, I don't care what Nigella says about this) and other roastable products (maple-roasted parsnips anyone?).
So, this being our first house and all, we're having fun creating our own family traditions around all the holidays. This Thanksgiving the kids covered the front steps with mini gourds, white pumpkins, and giant Cinderella pumpkins, grown in the garden; they dipped leaves in beeswax, fragrant additions to the Seasonal Table; they made candle holders with colourful writhing dragons on them, surrounded with black paper, to remind us all of Michaelmas (which is often re-represented by St George fighting the dragon); and finally they brought in armloads of Michaelmas daisies and all the leftover flowers we have in the garden to float in bowls of coloured water with lighted candles. It was all very beautiful. Ethereal. Glowing. Warm. We invited some friends over, we set a turkey in the oven, I made bread and dug up potatoes and peeled many a parsnip.
It was the Yorkshire puddings that foxed me. If only I had put a cookie sheet under the muffin tins I would have been okay. The fire alarm wouldn't have gone off if I'd done that.
But I didn't.
I had to go and douse the muffin tins with generous amounts of oil, then set them in an already (sheila coughs self-consciously) oily oven
So I used what one might call a glad hand with the filling of the muffin cups. All two and a half dozen of them.
Sadly, the oil oozed out all over the floor of the oven after I'd filled them with the pudding batter and slid them in the oven to bake. Not that I noticed, because at that point that I was standing outside on the deck, thinking "Gosh it's hot in that pokey little kitchen, think I'll just have a glass of wine out here in the nice cold air."
It was when I peeked in the window that I noticed the flames.
I dashed in, followed closely by Max (when Large Items are roasted he follows me very closely, because he likes Large Roasted Items and frequently accuses me of trying to starve him by not roasting them often enough for his liking). I gaped. I tried to quell the rising panic in my stomach. I opened the oven for a peek, then shut it. It was filled with flames. Really filled. I don't think I'd ever seen it like that. And it might have been then that I thought "OMG this is a PROPANE OVEN - we're all going to blow up!" But, being the stalwart Jane Austen heroine that I am, I did not shriek out loud. I did not even panic. And I did not faint into a heap on the floor. Instead, I calmly turned off the oven, and shrieked "RICHAAAAAARD!"
Now, accounts vary as to what I said after that. I thought I said "Richard - the oven is on fire and we are all about to die come and do something before that happens" Richard thought I said "I've put the fire out but it's still on fire!" And, since he didn't do anything right away, we both think I then said "RICHARD GET IN HERE RIGHT THIS SECOND THE KITCHEN IS ON FIRE!"
And we might be right. I think I did say that.
Fortunately that got him into the kitchen pretty quick. In fact, it got everyone into the kitchen. I remember wondering why everyone would come into a place that was about to blow up. And realizing that I couldn't very well cut and run with them all standing there, about to blow up with MY stove. It wouldn't look very good. But Richard took matters in hand and started doing something. "Get the Yorkshire puddings out of the oven!" he shouted tersely, "Shut the oven door! Quick!"
So we did.
The fire went out.
Richard said "Why don't you ever clean that stupid oven? Look at all that oil!"
Our dinner guests said "Wow, it's exciting over here."
I said "I need a drink. Stop talking about cleaning the bloody oven, Richard, and get me a drink."
Max said "Will the Yorkshire puddings be alright? Will we still be able to eat them?"
And you know, they were. And we did.