How to Burn Water

Many years back, when I was still young and beautiful (lol), I shared a house in England with a handful of sweet Polish people.  We each rented a room or a bed in a room. The bathrooms and the kitchen were the only two common rooms left. The smallest room left just enough space beside the single bed to walk in and out. The largest rooms that must have been living and dining rooms (before we all moved in) could accommodate 3 beds.

The Polish girls sharing my room had invited some french boys over night once. I remember not being very impressed about that!! We also had a really cool Aussie guy stay for a few months. He wrapped up a real dinner for us once and we all religiously sat a table in the biggest room to welcome this beautiful meal accordingly. No special occasion. Just out of kindness, he shared his wonderful flavoursome home cooked meal. We even dressed up for the occasion.

How funny, I haven’t thought about that for years… So anyway,  our meeting room, our eating room, our catching up room, our putting things straight room… was inevitably the kitchen.

Because I was largely outnumbered for the main part of my stay over there. Even though we did have  a french boy at the begining and a different one at the end, I still spent a good many months as the only non-Polish person. Anytime I’d walk in the kitchen and Polish words were flowing like crazy through the room,  sentences left in mid-air would be systematically finished in English.

Now, that’s inclusion and respect right? I loved Polish people right from the start but this was a bonus: a life time lesson.

So here we are people coming and going fro and to the kitchen, sitting, gulping a “meal” on the side of the table, chatting a bit, sharing a chair (for there were only 3 for the 9 or 10 of us!! lol).

My my… this kitchen was small, but oh, so convivial. The long and narrow shape wasn’t giving much choice for furniture displaying. You’d walk in to face the fridge in the corner. It held enough for whatever we were eating back then (somehow a balanced diet didn’t seem to be our priority back then!! lol). Then, the  gas cooker was one of these old white fan and  oven incorporated one, and 3rd in line was the forever looking for attention little white sink. On the opposite side of that long wall, the little table was stuck between a cupboard and the door.  A window between the two walls was providing us with a refreshing forever green garden view.

So now, how do you burn water?

Well, you put me in charge of the baptism of a brand new wok!

Let me explain:

The instructions said to oil the wok a bit and warm it up prior to its first use.  So far , so good… Sounds pretty easy hey…

Except that when it comes to me looking over food cocking we’re going for disaster! Kind of boring to watch this oil heat up. So I just walked off.  Just for a little while… that’s what it felt like anyway.

The next thing I hear is screaming!

I’ve found myself  quickly recalling my wok and rushing in the kitchen to find a huge flame taking source in my beautiful brand new wok and liking the top of the fan! Quite a flame that was!!! I grabbed the solid wooden handle and threw the inflamed liquid out the window, the flame flew with it!

The kitchen instantly regained calm.

No sound.

Just those stunned Polish eyes on me with question marks shining through them…

????

When they all rushed in the kitchen to witness some exiting memorable moment in one’s life, they basically saw me throw an inflamed liquid (looking like water) out the window.

From that moment on, anytime a new person would move in, I’d be introduced as “a terrible cook who even burns water”!

And that’s how I actually started to cook decent meals. Not because I took better care but because there was always a kind and generous soul looking after my pans when I had long deserted the kitchen for a much more interesting distraction!!!

Dziękujemy bardzo my friends…

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