A public service announcement, or how I almost burned down my apartment building…
The ten or so places I have lived in my life all had electric ranges. This apartment marks the first time I’ve ever cooked on a gas one. It took a little getting used to at first. I was constantly burning things on the stove and I felt I had to stand there while something was cooking because the idea of an open flame (a little fire!) freaked me out a bit.
Flash forward to last night when I was struck by the idea of broiling the nice little steaks I bought over the weekend.* I moved the oven rack to the top shelf (as per usual, in my electric stove broiling experience), turned the oven setting to broil, and went about preparing the steaks. When I went to put them in the oven, I noticed a curious thing — it didn’t appear to be hot (as in, my glasses didn’t fog up). I turned it off and turned it back on again. Puzzled, I stuck my head in the oven a la Hansel and Gretel and noticed there wasn’t a heating coil thing on the ceiling of it. More perplexed than ever, I considered why the oven would have a broil setting if there were no broiler. It was around this time I began to notice the distinct smell of gas.
At precisely this moment, my mother called. I explained the situation (with the oven still set to broil, thinking maybe it would heat up in the interim). She offered an interesting observation that I, having never previously cooked on a gas range, was oblivious to — the broiler might be below the oven, which has always been a storage drawer in my experience.**
Let’s step back from this scene for a minute. I live in a studio apartment but my kitchen is ridiculously large. Since there’s only one of me and all this cabinet space in the kitchen that I couldn’t possibly fill with food or cooking implements, half of my kitchen cabinets house off-season clothes and other assorted things I can’t find a place for. It’s purely happenstance that the only thing in the “drawer” below the oven was a baking dish — a drawer is a drawer, anything could have been in there according to my organizational methodology.
Shocked at this new found revelation, I opened the little drawer beneath the oven and found the broiler, decidedly on and luckily only baking an empty pie plate. A happy ending to what could have been a disastrous little story.
* Pan frying is usually my method of choice when I make steak
** Although I would never pretend to be an expert cook, I swear I can usually find my way around a kitchen without a tour guide