You know how my cooking adventures always seem to end up somewhat life-threatening? Well yesterday was a fine example of what NOT to do when bbq’ing.
I recently thought it was about time to get a bbq, since I had been without one since my ex-husband and I split.
I decided on a propane one, since that little itty bitty charcoal one my mother had given me seemed like far too much work.
Besides, it kept trying to kill me with its asthma-inducing smokiness.
I’m sure pouring water on it to ‘turn it off’ isn’t the normal thing to do, but with my luck, I figured if I didn’t completely subdue the damn thing, I’d end up standing amid fire trucks, watching helplessly as it tried to bbq my home.
So propane it was!
A friend of mine was going to be working in a different province for a couple years and wouldn’t be using his, so being the kind man he was, he decided to give it to me.
I gladly accepted, bought a propane tank to go with it, and read the manual cover to cover.
I was somewhat fearful of this adventure because it involved fire and the very real possibility of bbq’ing myself, or at the very least…removing my hair with a huge fire-ball.
It took three whole days of imagining the worst and having serious discussions with myself about how stupid I was being, before I finally found the courage to connect the tank to the bbq and light it.
Because I had read the manual no less than twice, I knew I had to turn the propane off and wait five minutes before trying again.
I waited thirty!
Once I had convinced myself that there wasn’t a huge cloud of invisible gas ready to engulf me on my second try, I hesitantly crept outside and tried again.
The ignition button thingy was clicking just fine, so I had no idea what the problem was.
During my perusal of the manual, I remembered reading a part that mentioned the possibility of the hose being partially plugged with debris…and that this could cause a flashback.
To clarify…the manual had a diagram of the hose with a picture of a spider web and spider in it.
My first thought when reading this was:
A) Wouldn’t the propane fumes kill said spider?
B) Wouldn’t the flashback incinerate spidey and his little web, thereby clearing the hose?
I knew there was some kind of one way valve regulator thingy that would prevent the fire from entering the tank itself, so I was safe right?
Therefore, to my perfectly sane way of thinking…tiny spidey was now dead from fumes, and very close to being incinerated once I finally did manage to light the damn bbq.
Buuuut…the thought of a huge fireball had me paralyzed.
I decided after a lot of contemplation, to just leave the bbq alone and wait for some strong manly type person to come along and light it for me. Perhaps one of my kind neighbours, my step-dad, or brother.
The problem was that I had stupidly invited a bunch of friends over for the next weekend.
I had promised a working bbq.
I’m normally an ‘I can do anything!’ kind of woman, but I admit there are a few things in life that defeat me.
One is electricity; I’m not too fond of shocking situations.
One is fire; I’d prefer to be cremated after I die…not before.
One is motorized thingy’s with attached cutting devices; I personally think my limbs look better on, than off.
Everyone has a fear of one thing or another.
Some are strange, far out fears that have a 0.00001% chance of ever happening in life (being killed by a lethal thumb tack stabbing to the eyeball while a rabid dog gnaws off your fingers).
Some are fairly normal fears about things we see on the news every day (plane crash, car accident, randomly acquiring the flesh eating disease).
And others are fears that people hear you admit to and think ‘Really?!?’, then end up nodding their head to a few seconds later thinking, ‘Ok I can maybe see that happening.’
Well I’d like to think I’m in the 3rd category.
Maybe I’m even a step ahead of the 2nd category folk because I’ve accepted the fact that there’s nothing I can do to prevent those things. If they happen…they happen!
However, my category is almost entirely preventable.
I can choose not to handle powered machinery that unforgivingly cuts limb from body.
I can choose not to wire my house myself.
I can choose not to light a bbq and be killed by lethal fire ball caused by stupid resident spider.
I chose not to light it…until my teenage daughter came home from work and asked happily what we were bbq’ing for supper that night.
I was caught on a tight rope.
Do I admit my fear to her, thereby validating my self-limiting behavior and possibly having my daughter start to think this way herself?
Or do I suck it up, try again, and pray to not only my God, but everyone else’s as well, that I survive that stupid little spider who is bent on destroying me?
I finally decided that I was being a tad paranoid and compromised with myself. I told my daughter I had tried earlier to no avail and was a bit scared of blowing myself up, but willing to give it another try.
She encouraged me, and even joined me for moral support.
So that’s how it was that my daughter and I ended up staring at each other in wide-eyed shock minutes later after barely surviving the hugest bbq fire-ball she had ever seen.
I say ‘she had ever seen’ because I had been crouched down about to turn off the propane when it erupted, so I only felt a flash of heat overhead.
My baby girl had to quickly jump backwards as it fiendishly attempted to engulf her, narrowly escaping permanent disfiguration.
Once she had assured herself that she wasn’t on fire, she immediately felt for her eyebrows (which thankfully remained un-singed).
I turned off the tank, stood up, and we stared at each other for the next minute in speechless shock.
Needless to say my daughter now has a very healthy fear of being blown up by rogue bbq’s in cahoots with angry spiders.
As a sidenote: My step-father came over with my mom that night and started the bbq for me (while I stood INSIDE the house). I then proceeded to bbq chicken thighs that turned out quite well.
I’m not sure why most of my cooking adventures are so rife with danger, but at least the outcome is always a tasty meal.
It’s almost worth it.