We had a house fire a few weeks back. Just a small one. In the oven. It was exciting.
The night before I made yorkshire puddings (aka popovers) for dinner. The recipe told me to put a cookie sheet under the muffin pans half full of oil. I complied but without really considering why, so I grabbed one of the flat ones instead of a sheet with sides. Predictably, as the puddings rose, the oil oozed over the edges of the pans, off the cookie sheet and all over the bottom of the oven.
Putting off cleaning the nasty mess that was our oven, I went to bed without mentioning the spill to anyone. My mom, who was visiting for the weekend, stirred up a batch of biscuits for a surprise breakfast. I'm pretty sure she was surprise to find flames engulfing them half way through baking. A quick squirt with the kitchen fire extinguisher stopped the excitement, and a few hours of wide open windows and doors cleared the air. Now I had a really nasty mess to deal with.
In a moment of despair, I stopped at the Bartells and gave into the can of oven cleaning chemicals. You know, the really stinky kind that has all sorts of warnings all over the entire can letting you know all the places it shouldn't go, and all the medical professionals you should consult if it touches your skin or mucus membranes. The kind the environmentalist have fits over. The kind I swore would *never* enter my home.
It took two coats and plenty of elbow grease (mostly from our housemate's elbow) but our oven is gorgeous. Like new. In fact, I'm pretty sure the stove was filthy when we bought the house because none of us can remember ever being able to see through the front window. So better than new. When I put my cakes in the oven, I see my own reflection in the door. It is truly a thing of beauty.
Now I find myself wondering what else in the kitchen would glow with the happy spray of chemicals.