The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

13 August 2012

The incident of the smoking pan

It was like this, see...

I've recently become interested in cooking, by which I mean I either cook or starve. Or eat a lot of cheese sandwiches. A person can get very tired of cheese sandwiches.

To fuel my interest in cooking, I've been watching Master Chef Australia online and other cooking-type things such as Nigella Express. I've noticed a lot of people use grill pans, and I started hankering for one, envisioning beautiful meats with perfect grill marks coming from my very own stove in my very own kitchen.

I finally found one in one of those "You think this is expensive? It would cost you this much if you bought it elsewhere" stores. I was delighted with myself in manner of a hunter who bagged her long-stalked prey. I continue on to spend 2 1/2 hours admiring Jason Bourne's fellow secret agent confound the bad guys, and another hour strolling the aisles of a bookstore. But all along I was thinking about the hunting trophy in my car waiting to turn a sausage I had in the fridge back home into The Best Meal Ever.

On arriving home, I didn't wait to unpack my new books (this is not the time to discuss just how binding a resolution to not buy any more books really is) but immediately soaped and dried the treasured new grill pan and set it on the stove to heat.  It's an electric stove, the kind with coiled rings that you put little aluminium  bowls under to catch spills.

I noticed a funny white blobby sort of looking spot after I'd put the sausage in, but didn't consider it an indication of what was to come.  It may have smelled a bit, too, but I let the solitary sausage sizzle away while I tended to some dishes. My back was turned - honestly, it was a sausage in a pan, how much watching does it need? - so I didn't immediately notice the smoke. Until the smoke detector went off.  Clearly that noisemaker is too sensitive because while there may have been a haze in the kitchen, no one was in danger of being asphyxiated. Anyway. Once the pan had cooled down, I discovered it had odd white marks on the bottom, and that blobby looking spot inside as well, which was colouration rather than an actual blob of something. Nothing was actually burning... it was just a smoking pan.

I wonder if Nigella has to deal with malfunctioning cookware?

PS - the label on the pan said it could be used on a barbecue, stove top or in the oven - the simple line drawings were very clear on that. It neglected to caution against actually turning on the heat.


  1. I've heard smoking is bad for your health, but I didn't think this was what they meant. They'll have to put a warning label on pans from now on.

    That is odd. I have the same kind of stove - electric coils and such. I will consider myself forewarned of the dangers of grill pans.

    Was the sausage OK, or were you afraid to try it?

  2. Warnings on pans is a very good idea.

    This blog, if nothing else, will serve as a cautionary tale for all who attempt to cook sausage in a grill pan. And yes, it tasted fine - really good in fact. I am bracing myself to try again tomorrow. I mean to not be cowed by cookware.