Thursday, January 03, 2008

High Flame Toni

So, my mother and I are sitting in her office talking about our day, Ed is in the family room talking to his mother on the phone and Frank (my step-father) is in the room adjacent to the kitchen, watching TV. Frank has a little bit of a cold and has been sporting a hoarse voice for the last few days.

All of a sudden, we hear him screaming for my mother. "Toni! Toni!" comes the barely audible voice from the kitchen. My mother jumps up and heads out of the room. "Toni!" I hear again, "Something is burning!" At this point, I decide not to get up because it's not uncommon for my mother to be burning something in the kitchen. It's one of the reasons my father dubbed her "High Flame Toni" when we were growing up.

Now, as she's gotten on in years, she's become forgetful and will walk out of the kitchen, get distracted by almost anything and by the time she comes back to the kitchen, she finds something sticking to the bottom of the pot. We're all used to it.

But this time, Frank's voice was so urgent and despondent and he was still shouting "Jesus Christ!" that I got up and went to the kitchen to see what happened. When I walked into the kitchen, I was met with a wall of acrid, white smoke; it was coming from the microwave. WTF? The smoke was stinging my eyes and lungs. I immediately ordered my parents out of the kitchen outside to the patio. I had to go out there myself just to get a breath of fresh air so I could return and investigate the problem.

When I had a sufficient gulp of fresh air, I headed back to the microwave, opened it, and found this inside:

You are looking at what used to be a rice cooker. It is sitting on the glass turntable that was in the microwave, which I picked up with oven mitts and hauled outside. The plastic was melted like lava and the rice inside was charred a crispy black. As you can see, it was still smoking.

With the exception of the time my mother almost burned my brother's new house down because she left a pot on the stove whose handle burst into flames when she walked away from it, this meltdown comes in a very close second. In my forty years of life, I've never seen a kitchen disaster like it.

It's been a while since we've had such a debacle; usually it's just a burnt grilled cheese sandwich or sauteed onions that hover on the edge of crispy. For a time, my mother had gotten away with pulling off some really spectacular meals. We've been graced with delicious pork loin, meatballs to die for and chicken soup that would cure anyone's soul.

But today? Today we can confidently say that High Flame Toni has come out of hiding and is alive and well, residing in a kitchen in Southern Arizona. If you are interested in dinner and a "show" be sure to call ahead for reservations!


Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Oh. My. God.

Kind of looks like a giant smore. Sort of.

I knew I hated microwaves.

Sauntering Soul said...

I also thought it was a close up picture of a burnt marshmallow. How long did she set the timer on the microwave for? My goodness!

Anonymous said...

Your day will come Salena!
Stuff like that gets passed on.
Believe me!!!!

I remember the days when my mother burned pot roast, over and over, when company was expected....
I remember when she dropped the cake, when company was expected ...
I am there now.
Guess what - it's part of your genes my dear girl ... your day will come!
It's a fact of life!