Why You Shouldn't Store Random Stuff In Your Oven
And if you do, for the love of all that is good and holy, leave yourself a Post-It note!
I write this cautionary tale with hair that smells like a burnt marshmallow and a three-year-old who keeps reminding me of that fact, chirping in my ear: Do not store random things in your oven.
Especially if you are single. Especially if you are married. Especially if you have roommates. Especially if you are a mom. Especially if you are distracted. Especially if you are focused and type A. Basically, you, whoever you are, learn from me and don’t take advantage of that tempting “extra” space to stash something for “just a minute.” Just don’t.
This weekend, my husband was awesome enough to treat our kids to donuts, even taking two of the kids with him to the store, scoring me about twenty minutes of weekend silence before my daughter woke up. If you’re married, you know this is the sexiest thing, the best gift your partner can give you.
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He returned with a box of six for our family of five, which means that we had two leftover (the infant was the only one with the willpower to abstain). Our Saturday hummed along and before we knew it, it was Sunday morning which in our house means pancakes, eggs, and sausage.
I was just flipping the last pancake and calling the kids to the table when I looked over my shoulder and saw it: the casserole-dish sized white donut box still lingering on the counter with two untouched donuts in it.
Anyone who has hosted knows where this is going. If your pickiest critic, in my case a three-year-old boy, is walking into the room and spies something more tempting than the meal you’ve slaved over—in this case leftover sugar bombs—they’re totally going to pick the freaking stale donuts over your piping-hot, freshly prepared meal. That was not happening to me.
I grabbed the box and shoved it in the oven. Everyone ate. Everyone got sticky. Everyone moved on with the day. I ran errands a few hours later and froze in panic; “DO NOT TURN ON OVEN” I furiously texted my husband, who is known for breaking out the good snacks for the kids (you know, the ones you have to bake verses nuking in the microwave) when I’m gone.
Relieved that I’d saved him some pain, I went on about my day. That was Sunday.
Fast forward to Tuesday. I race home with the kids from school and work. Clinging to the last evenings with daylight still lingering, I break out the backyard toys then run inside to preheat the oven for dinner. To 475 degrees. Because fish sticks apparently need the fires of hell to cook.
I head back outside to play (because it takes longer for an oven to preheat to “scorching” than to actually cook, especially on a weeknight when everyone’s hungry) return about 20 minutes later to… burnt marshmallows. No wait, was the pizza stone still in the oven… dirty? Is popcorn—OHMYGOSHOHMYGOSH, went my brain as I raced into the smoke-filled kitchen.
If you’ve never run into a smoke-filled room, don’t. Really, just don’t. If you must, like I did because someone had to turn off the damn donut roaster, you should really cover your nose and mouth and try to keep your eyes from being wide open, both things I failed at spectacularly as I ran around bug-eyed, furiously waving dish towels at the mysteriously silent smoke detectors while shouting, “MOMMY’S COMING BACK!” to my three kids, two of whom were stranded on swings outside. Or, as I like to call it, safe and secure.
I turned the range vent on full blast which thankfully actually does vent to the outside, threw open the doors to the kitchen and hallway, then closed every other door in the house in hopes of limiting the smoke exposure. I never did open the oven door.
I turned off the top oven, then, obviously, turned on the bottom oven instead, because dinner still has to happen. At this point, I’ve been in the smoke about three minutes and my eyes are burning, my nose is not great, and, as my children reminded me the rest of the evening, I smelled really bad. Remember, this is what happens when you smoke a single cigarette, I would’ve told them if they were old enough to know what cigarettes are.
The great news is it’s nearly 24 hours later. My kitchen still smells like a burnt marshmallow, but the rest of the house has aired out. After it cooled, I finally removed the now deformed, severely singed donut box from the oven and put it in the (outdoor!) trash, muttering about how I always knew donuts were bad for you.
To his credit, my husband didn’t say a word. Not as we ate dinner outside on the deck. Not as my kids reminded me how stinky my hair was at bedtime. Not as he stood in the lingering smell with me while doing dishes. It was only at bedtime that he said, “I’m just asking, you did actually take it out of the house, right?”
This morning I noticed that the oven still smells like a terrible scented candle, so I decided to go Pinterest crazy and put a box of baking soda in there for the next few days. I mean really, what could go wrong?