I live in Florida, so it’s hard to take a foreign language other than Spanish. My innate hipster tendency really wanted to take Latin but Middle Schools just don’t offer it (or at least mine didn’t).
So, at the age of 12, I found myself in need of a project to take to school for Spanish class. My innate over-achiever tendency wanted to take something AMAZING. Something DELICIOUS. Like CHURROS.
That same evening, I found myself temporarily in the house alone and, being resourceful, I decided I could absolutely make churros myself. NOT A PROBLEM.
My Mom was a bit of a health-nut. We weren’t allowed to have Trix or Cocoa Puffs or any of the GOOD cereals. The closest we could get was Frosted Flakes if we were really lucky. Therefore, we didn’t do much frying of food in our house. I knew the basic idea though, so grabbed a pan and some vegetable oil, poured one into the other and set it on the stove to heat.
Now, in my mind, I associated frying with that crackling, popping sound. And according to twelve-year-old logic, that sound was what I was waiting on before I threw the refrigerated biscuit dough into the oil to create all the goodness.
So I waited. And waited. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand waited.
Eventually, the pan full of heated oil started smoking and I started to worry. This was NOT what I expected and things were not exactly going according to plan. When the kitchen started to fill with smoke, I decided to pull the plug.
I picked up the pan and walked out the kitchen door onto our back deck, planning to pour the oil onto a patch of sand (at least I was bright enough to know better than to pour it onto anything potentially flammable) and be done with it. However, that plan was blown completely to bits when the pan of oil IGNITED INTO FLAMES while I was holding it.
Twelve-year-old logic is pretty hit or miss as far as reliability. I instinctively knew the fire needed to be put out and the first thing that came to mind that I needed was water. However, the closest (and first) water source twelve-year-old logic thought of was the sink BACK INSIDE THE HOUSE.
I ran back into the kitchen, holding the flaming pan of oil, being careful not to spill it. I looked at the kitchen sink. It was full of dishes. No good. So my mind went to the next logical water source – the bathroom sink.
I panic-walked into the bathroom (which thankfully was adjacent to the kitchen), threw the pan full of fire and
terror super-heated vegetable oil into the sink and turned the water on FULL BLAST.
Now, some of you who are fire safety experts are probably WAAAAAY ahead of me at this point. But for those who aren’t, the absolute LAST thing you want to put on a grease/oil fire is water. It splashes the oil everywhere and can be VERY DANGEROUS. However, twelve-year-old logic had no knowledge of this and could only scream “PUT IT OUT! PUT IT OOOOOOOUT!!!”
When the water hit the pan, it basically exploded upward in a huge FOOOOOOOOM! The flames ran up the corner of the bathroom wall, hit the ceiling and (thankfully) went out. It singed my eyelashes and my hairline, somehow missing my eyebrows entirely (still can’t quite explain that). It also left black soot marks all the way up the laminate wall around the bathroom mirror.
As I stood in the bathroom, the kitchen filled with smoke, in complete shock that I hadn’t burned the ENTIRE house down, the smoke alarm started going off. And approximately 10 seconds later, my Dad walked into the house from next door.
There I stood, singed, reeking of smoke and sobbing, in the midst of complete failure and narrowly-averted disaster. After hearing what happened, Dad helped me clean up before Mom got home and flipped her lid. I think I finally re-earned the privilege of using the stove unsupervised when I was 16.
I don’t even remember what I ended up taking to school for my Spanish project.