Cooking For Guys (Part III: Kitchen Safety)

Q: I didn't mean to start that fire. Now that we're both out of the hospital, I'm ready to keep learning. Do you think I'll survive learning how to cook?
A: Nobody died and the fire department managed to save most of the house. Worse things have happened when guys learn to cook. Cooking, like chemistry, skydiving, invading Iraq, and other masculine activities, requires some simple safety procedures. Safety Rule #7 is "Never put anything metal in a microwave."

Q: What's Rule #1?
A: "Turn off the mixer before you lick the beaters."

Q: Rule #2?
A: Same as rule #1, but for blenders.

Q: And Rule #3?
A: Don't worry about those just yet. We're guys. We learn by doing. You'll pick up the rest through trial and error.

Q: Okay. Where were we before we got distracted?
A: We were about to heat up some water. Why don't you put 6 cups of water in a pot?

Q: That's one and a half Nalgenes. Got it. Then, as I recall, we put the water in the microwave -
A: Which was what caused the fire. Don't NOT put that pot in the microwave.

Q: Oh. Right. Usually it takes me a few times to really get something right. So there's really no safe way to heat up water?
A: There are ways to heat up water that don't involve putting metal in a microwave.

Q: There are?
A: Yes. Can you think of any?

Q: Perhaps we could dump the water out of the pot and heat up the puddle?
A: Then how would you get the water out of the microwave?

Q: A syringe? I don't know. My brain hurts. Maybe we could microwave a plastic pot!
A: Can you think of any way to heat up water that doesn't involve a microwave?

Q: A campfire! We could boil the water on a campfire.
A: Very good. But instead of a campfire, we'll use a stove. Many stoves are electric stoves. Today, however, we'll use a gas stove.

Q: Can I call it a Bunsen burner instead?
A: Let's compromise and call it a heating element.

Q: What should I do first?
A: Turn the stove on.

Q: I'll turn the Bunsen burner on. Which of these dials should I turn? Are they timers? They look sort of like timers.
A: They regulate the amount of gas released by the stove. The higher you turn the dial, the more gas is released.

Q: So if I release a lot of gas, I'm probably a five or six?
A: Something like that. First, turn the dial to "ignite".

Q: I get it! We did something like this in our fraternity. This one time, one of the brothers had eaten like eight burritos for dinner and that night -
A: I don't think I want to hear the story.

Q: No, it's really a great one. The guy's name was McCue, but we called him McBeans because -
A: Just turn on the stove, please.

Q: Okay. I just turn the dial to ignite... and it's clicking a few times... and fire! Not another fire!
A: It's okay. There's supposed to be a bit of flame in gas stoves. That's what will heat up the pot.

Q: Like in a campfire?
A: Yes. Just like in a camp fire.

Q: And what's this metal thing that looks sort of like a grate?
A: That's what you set things on before you warm them up.

Q: So if I've been outside sitting in the snow for a while and I've got a cold butt, I can just sit up here, kind of like this and - augh! It's hot! It's hot! And my pants are on fire!
A: Turn around. I'll pour this pot of water over you.

Q: Augh! It's wet! And it's cold! My pants are soaking wet.
A: But you've learned Safety Rule #41(a): "Do not sit on a hot stove."

Q: 41? There how many of these things are there to learn? Oh well. I'll just hop back up on the stove to dry my pants off again.
A: I wouldn't do that. Rule # 41(b) covers precisely this situation. Why don't you fill that pot back up instead?