It got pretty messy in here a couple days into the New Year. I had a grease fire.
I was making the Liberian black-eyed pea soup recipe from my favorite cookbook, Moosewood Daily Specials on a burner that some grease had spilled onto over the holidays. We had cleaned it up from the burner itself but neglected to get the rest off the drip plate below. I cranked the burner up to its highest setting to start boiling the water for the peas. Soon the burner was smoking. I ignored it for a while, but when the billowing smoke became too much to ignore, I moved the pot and turned off the burner in synchronicity with the burner pan catching alight.
I stood baffled for a split second since only a couple days earlier on New Years Eve my friend Audra and I had been exchanging stories of our childhood, watching our mothers put out fires with baking soda. This memory of my mother and my conversation still fresh in my mind, I turned to the cabinet and reached toward the second shelf where I’d last seen the baking soda.
With a few solid shakes of the baking soda the fire was put out; the mist of powder hung in the swirling smoke.
My pride broke with the ear-piercing sounds of the smoke detectors of the house going off in unison, since my dad has wired them all to coordinate in the event of an alarm.
I threw open the doors and windows, and turned on the fans.
When the ringing subsided, I eased back in to my position by the stove. I felt thankful for all the lessons mommy taught me, and I contemplated the way that particular story re-told came alive again.