Amusing kitchen accidents

Inspired by a couple of people mentioning having potatoes explode in another thread I was reminded of the time I tried to “fix” an undercooked “hardboiled” egg.

Yes, I knew eggs could explode in the microwave, but having shelled an egg that I could feel was very wobbly I figured I could just nuke it for a very short time and it would be fine. And it was.

Then I immediately put it in an egg slicer and once those wires hit the yolk it exploded, making a perfect crater from the center of the egg and up and out, and white and yolk rained everywhere in the kitchen.

I was teaching my daughter how to make one of our family favorites, chicken in white sauce. We had taken the casserole dish out of the oven and set it on the counter when BOOM, the glass dish exploded Fortunately there weren’t too many shards to clean up, but there was sour cream and mushroom soup everywhere. We at McDonalds that night, so the kids got dinner and a show.

About 2 hours ago I wrote this in a different thread:


I was coming in to post the same thing ’ yay I’ve taken the lumps out my gravy…ohhhh’

I was about nine, I knew enough to not try to microwave an egg as-is, but :bulb: nobody said anything about boiling an egg in the microwave.

  1. Carefully place egg in tall microwavable mug
  2. Fill with water to about 3/4 full
  3. Set microwave timer to an arbitrary amount, say, 3 minutes. (I’d heard of 3-minute eggs, seemed like a fine jumping-off point.
  4. Press [Start]
  5. (Watch progress with nose almost touching door window)
  6. Egg experiences rapid unscheduled disassembly, water geysers up from cup, helpfully coats microwave interior with eggy broth
  7. Realize this has not gone well, open door
  8. Unpleasant egg odor fills kitchen
  9. Concerned Maternal Unit enters kitchen, dispenses justice, and cleanup begins as required.

I tried the same thing many years ago when microwaves were novelties. The egg was getting warm after several short cycles so I gave it a few more seconds. BLAM! I swear the microwave bounced in the air. The entire microwave was filled with egg and had to be dismantled. Egg dust was even in between the two glass doors.

I fairly recently wanted to make a cheesecake recipe that required baking the cheesecake in a water bath. I set the large pyrex lasagne pan in the oven, which was preheating, but forgot to put water in. I got concerned about how hot the pan was, but didn’t want to wait for it to cool down, so I thought I’d put boiling water in. Boiled a kettle, pulled oven rack out a bit, started pouring into the glass pan, and POW, the whole thing disintegrated into little tempered glass bits. Covered the bottom of the oven, plus quite a bit of the surrounding floor and into the drawer under the oven.

My biggest shock was looking up at the oven temperature, and realizing that the thermal shock was because the boiling water was too cold. I kept finding glass bits for weeks. Also, I felt really dumb, because I knew better.

The important question is were you able to cook the cheesecake?

No doubt it was one of those new-fangled “Pyrex” dishes which aren’t actually Pyrex.

For decades now, after Corning sold off their consumer products division, Pyrex cookware has been made out of tempered soda-lime glass (i.e.- tempered ordinary glass) rather than the borosilicate glass that real Pyrex is made of. There was some song-and-dance about how the soda-lime stuff is mechanically stronger and more resistant to breakage if hit or dropped, but the bottom line is that it’s cheaper to make and definitely less resistant to thermal shock – which is a fancy way of saying that it’s more likely to explode when subjected to rapid heating or cooling.

I once had an old, real Pyrex casserole dish that I dropped and broke on my way to or from the barbecue. I thought, no problem, I’ll just go out and get a new one. Nope. Unless you buy one in Europe or from an antique shop it won’t be borosilicate glass. Stories abound of exploding new-Pyrex dishes. I worry every time I put mine in the oven. So far it’s held together but if it ever fails it will not only ruin dinner but create an ungodly mess. All so that the manufacturer can save a few cents.

There are differences in the logo between the old and the new stuff. Not sure if this is the most authoritative article on it, but there is some discussion of that here:

Yes, but it had a bad, scrambled egg texture.

I cooked a fantastic meal for guests one night, culminating in a flambé dessert, cherries jubilee. I guess I used a bit too much kirschwasser, leading to a WOOOMPH instead of a gentle flame.

With the lights dimmed, I didn’t notice the soot on the ceiling until the next day.

Mine is just a stupid simple one.

Was making steak, mushrooms, and onions in a wok and went to add a little pepper to it. The whole top of the pepper canister came off and the entire contents went into the wok and all over the food.

Needless to say, I didn’t have that for dinner.

You were so close! I routinely make poached eggs in the microwave, but they only take 1:05. And you have to crack them into the water.

Many years ago - decades, in fact - I was a novice cook who decided to make a dish that called for 6 cloves of garlic. I think it was a deep dish pizza.

I have since learned that a clove of garlic is the small segment that peels apart from the bulb. Yeah, that’s right, I added six bulbs of garlic.

As I recall I not only tossed the pizza in the garbage but I ultimately had to throw away the baking dish as well.


That reminds me. In college a friend decided to make some sort of Chinese dish for dinner. Possibly dumplings. The recipe called for a thumb-sized piece of ginger, so that’s what he used. We figured out they meant a slice about as big around as your thumb.

I was making a pan pizza, in a cast iron pan. After baking in the oven, you are supposed to heat the pan over a burner to finish browning the bottom of the crust, then put it on a wire rack to cool. After I did this, I was wondering if I really browned the crust enough. I picked up the wire rack with the pizza on it, lifted it up to eye level and peeked underneath. The pizza, with the bottom covered with a nice slick layer of oil, promptly slid off the rack and landed on the floor upside down.

Somebody made that same mistake – bulbs vice cloves – when making the garlic soup at an SCA event some years back…

This is very un-gourmet.

I have a Pizzazz that I’ve used for years to cook frozen pizzas and a variety of other things. I love it because I don’t have to preheat the oven, no dripping of hot cheese in the oven and the pizza always comes out perfect. This is one of those appliances that are too big to keep in the kitchen so it lives in the basement until needed. One day I thought why keep hauling it up and down the stairs? So for the last few years, I’ve kept it on the workbench in the basement and just cooked the pizzas there.

If you don’t know what a Pizzazz is it’s a rotating pan that has heating coils above the pizza and underneath it.

One night I plopped my pizza on the Pizzazz and headed upstairs. About 10 minutes later, my husband says that somethings burning…bad. I ran to the basement door, opened it, and thick smoke came billowing into the kitchen. I went down to the basement and found that I hadn’t set the pan properly so it wasn’t rotating. It was stuck in one place, meaning one pizza slice size of pizza was getting all the heat. That one spot was burnt black, the rest was still cold. There was so much smoke I could barely see. Every smoke alarm in the house was blaring (at least we found out that they all work!) My husband was very irritated. He has a thing about fire (I suppose we all do - but he really does). He said no more cooking downstairs, blah, blah, blah. We had fans blowing, windows open - it took about a week for the smell to dissipate.

Then after a week or two I started cooking my pizzas in the basement again. By this time my husband had calmed down and everything was hunky-dory, no more burnt pizza.

About a month later, I put a pizza on the Pizzazz, making sure the pan was aligned. After 20 minutes I went down to get my pizza, which was perfectly cooked. I unplugged the Pizzazz, shut off the light and headed up the stairs. I was halfway up when I heard a loud POP! I ventured down only to see FLAMES on the Pizzazz pan. I was able to blow them out and saw what happened. My husband left his Dremmel plugged in and when I unplugged the Pizzazz, I must have dragged the Dremmel cord under the heating element. The cord started on fire and melted AND blew a fuse. I had to break the news to my husband. I thought for sure he was going to flip out and throw my beloved Pizzazz in the garbage can. But he just laughed and reset the circuit breaker.

I couldn’t stop giggling over this. It’s a move I’d make, too.

I’m sure if I think about it, I can come up with more than a few amusing kitchen accidents beyond my husband’s exploding potato in the microwave. For the moment, here’s the earliest one I remember:

I was a budding culinary aficionado from an early age. I think I was around 11 when I decided to make a sauce Bolognese from scratch to feed my 2 younger siblings (our mother worked a lot). All went well until I decided to thicken the sauce with flour. I mean, it made sense, right? You want a nice thick sauce and you use flour to thicken. So went my reasoning.

Except you don’t. I mixed some flour and water together, poured it into the sauce and maybe cooked it about halfway. The mixture turned an extremely unappetizing pale pinky-orange color.

Served it over pasta to my younger sibs. My sister puked on her plate.

Speaking of exploding glass containers, I was once lifting a quart jar of freshly canned tomatoes from its water bath and the jar exploded out the bottom – which fortunately was pointed away from me and mostly down into the canning container. Made quite a mess, and I learned that day to let the jars cool a bit in the bath before removing them. But the mess was not as bad as…

My father, also an aspiring non-professional cook, had an obsession with developing the perfect New Mexico style enchilada sauce. He would fiddle with his dried peppers, ratios of garlic, onions, oil, tomato paste and seasonings for hours, trying for that perfect combination. When he deemed the sauce sufficiently tortured and reduced, he would finish it by giving it a whirl in the blender.

Once, he forgot to put the lid on the blender before he whirled. The result was a perfect ring of enchilada sauce sprayed on all the walls in the kitchen, about a foot down from the ceiling. We cleaned enchilada sauce off hidden surfaces for years.

It was also during one of these enchilada sauce capers (ha!) that Dad rubbed a bunch of dried peppers between his hands into his sauce, then absentmindedly went off to the loo for a pee. Took awhile for that to work itself out.

I remember he developed a preference for canned enchilada sauce after that.