Where there’s smoke…

Soot illidtration

…there is soot

So, I was downstairs in the office working on my latest book while hubs was upstairs, making baked potatoes for supper. Often when I’m writing, I am oblivious to anything outside my own head. But when smoke alarms go off…
Every now and then something burns/smokes enough in the kitchen for our alarms to go off – and if I leap up and hare up the stairs to find out what the matter is, I get told not to be paranoid and get sent back downstairs pronto. But this time BOTH the fire alarms in the upstairs area sounded, and they kept going for a long time until they finally calmed down. When I later went up for supper and opened the oven, I was greeted by the sight of four BLACK potatoes in the oven. BLACK. I have never seen a potato that color before.
If you scraped the skin off, they were fine – they were edible baked potatoes. But it didn’t seem likely that they would have burned that black under the circumstances in which they had been baked – not unless our stove is basically fixing to turn up its tootsies and is giving us a ghastly warning about it.
The potatoes were black, and so was everything else in the oven – the sides, the racks, the foil we use to cover the racks (I’ve never seen foil that color before either), the oven window which was so sooted that it was completely opaque.
The next morning I rolled up my sleeves and tried to clean the oven.
I think I went through three quarters of a roll of paper towel, my kitchen sponge is irredeemable, and I have soot apparently stuck inside the nail bed of pretty much every nail on my right hand.
Turns out there was a charcoaled piece of… something… that might have been a piece of dropped toast but was now a fragile barely holding together shape of soot and black ash – and it might have been the incineration of this that caused the two-alarm fire, as it were.
It’s out now anyway and the oven is kinda sorta restored to the previous state – but I am not sure what all this has done to the burners, or to the functionality of the oven. Hubs says I am just (as usual) being paranoid.
But I have traces of black smears and black fingerprints all over the kitchen, I can still vaguely smell something BURNED in the air, and those black potatoes are burned in my memory. And I don’t quite trust the oven any more.
I think I need a new stove!
I am off to try and scrub my hands again. I look like a chimney sweep from Mary Poppins.
Then I MAY get back to my latest book, But on the other hand, any delay cannot be blamed on the usual writers procrastination – not this time..

(Photo: Jacqueline Day)