Only I Can Catch an Oven Thermometer on Fire

by Marina Chotzinoff

So I was in my stride today. Happy that I could embrace good vegetable dishes, enjoy them, not completely let the house fall apart and exercise more. I even ate caramelized tofu banh mi for dinner last night instead of feasting on some meat. This afternoon the plan was to take a picnic to the Botanic Gardens and I was roasting some cauliflower and kabocha to add to some wheat berries with kale and toasted almonds. I intended to pick up some proteinish thing to put on top of it.

Now one thing about being married to a man with a self-described “wood problem” (who also happens to own an awesome custom furniture business) is that your oven might be used to dry the sap in some massive chunks of wood. This happened here a couple days ago. So when I turned on the oven to roast the veggies, the pine scent was intense. I had put the veggies in there but about five minutes later started to worry that was not good for them. My husband assured me it was not toxic, but might make things taste funny so I rushed back to take them out so I could broil the scent out of the oven. But when I opened the door, the bottom of the oven was on fire. I thought it was maybe dripped sap and took the veggies out only to find it was my oven thermometer. On fire.

To be fair, it was sitting directly on the heating element. But still! ON FIRE. I was able to grab them with some tongs but the outer rubber was completely falling apart. That is when I started to freak out that now my veggies had absorbed rubber dust AND sap vapors. So I posted to the Food52 hotline while I tried to figure out what the brand of the thermometer was. It turned out to be OXO and the rubber silicone. I found several posts saying silicone dust was not toxic but since it was likely my four year old would be eating this food I wasn’t buying it. I called OXO and after being on hold a while they woman asked me any of the burnt thermometer actually touched the food. I said no and she put me on hold again. And then she told me to throw everything out because the ash dust might have come in contact with the food. CRAP.

I had been mildly surprised that my cauliflower was $6. And now I had to throw it away. And a beautiful kabocha. SIGH. I intend to drown my sorrows in some hefty meat sandwiches to go and will resume all this tomorrow. And I was on such a roll!

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