I subscribe to a lot of magazines. Maybe too many, but it is kind of an addiction of mine. In a quest to get rid of clutter, I'm going through old magazines and ripping out recipes and little tricks and hints to pass along to all of you.
So I'm flipping through the March 2010 copy of Every Day with Rachael Ray and read this in the Mess of the Month:
"Every morning I make hard-boiled eggs, and one time I cooked them the night before. While we were sleeping, the smoke alarm went off: The eggs were burning in a pot with no water. The entire house smelled!"
Before I continue with my point, I'd like to point out the magazine's response to this particular letter was "Watch us make hard-boiled eggs at rachaelraymag.com/march." Seriously? That's what you came up with? There are so many things wrong with that individual's "mess" that it makes my head spin and yet they used it as a jumping off point to promote their teaching on the website. By the way, some of their recipes and teaching is a huge point of mockery in their forums. (If you follow the link, make sure you scroll down to read the comments. You'll get a good chuckle)
My response would have been something more like, "WHAT THE HECK?!?!?! ARE YOU INSANE?!?!?!"
First, boiling eggs doesn't take very long. You cover eggs with water, get that water to boil, turn off heat & cover for 10 minutes, and then place them in ice water or under cold running water to get them to stop cooking. You're looking at maybe 30 minutes. If you cook eggs "every morning" you would know this. So why you think that you could leave them on the stove for, what I'm assuming is, 8 hours (or more) is beyond me.
Second, when I use my rating COOK IT IN MY SLEEP, I'm not meaning that literally. I may joke about it (and seeing this individual's comment, I'm guessing I should point that out as a joke from now on). You should NEVER EVER leave food cooking on your stove unattended. It's one thing to go to another room to put on some music or move the laundry from the washer to the dryer when you're getting water to boil or letting something simmer, but a good rule of thumb is cooking food should not be left alone. Especially when it involves grease or oil. My husband and I lived in an apartment complex where a building caught on fire. How? One of the tenants went to deep-fry some tasty treats and "forgot about them". Half of the building went up in flames and all 12 units had to be relocated while the building underwent reconstruction.
I like to encourage people to cook and if there is a failure or accident to bounce back and try again. I try to be supportive, understanding and non-judgmental. So let me rephrase my initial reaction to something a little less nasty...
When cooking always be alert. You are dealing with open flames and extreme temperatures in most cases, so always pay attention. Also, a little common sense goes a long way. Trust me, I have very little common sense (I'm what you call "book smart"), but the little I have has served me well. When I started cooking, there wasn't an internet (man that's depressing), but now if you're not sure how long to boil eggs? Look it up! Or you can always e-mail me or call someone you know is a good cook. This person is very lucky a fire didn't start and this would have went from a head-scratcher to a truly awful story.
Cook safe everyone!