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Mother's Day Immolation

(Cross-posted from teunc and statements.)

For Mother's Day, I took Banamum out to dinner. I asked her to choose the place, and not surprisingly she picked Happy Valley, a Chinese restaurant in Aggieville that serves very nice huo guo (literally "fire pot" aka "hot pot", shabu shabu in Japan). For those who haven't had this: it consists of sliced meat and veggies that you can cook in a (usually hot and spicy) broth at your own table. They bring you an outdoor fuel burner and plates of uncooked seafood, pork, chicken, beef, noodles, rice vermicelli, tofu, and vegetables such as broccoli, bamboo shoots, and you add these slowly over the course of the meal and let it cook.

About a quarter hour into our meal, Banamum had put in the seafood and we were talking about my summer plans and research projects. She fished out a mussel and put it in my bowl, and was scooping up another and asking whether I wanted it, when I tried to multitask and failed. Three things happened. First, the mussel separated with a slight pop; second, my elbow pushed a paper napkin a few inches forward and it went into the little blue flame under the pot; and third, a small fireball blossomed in front of me on the glass table.

I tried to look nonchalant as I batted at this spectacular little flame. Of course, my inept fanning caused it to burn brighter, at which point Banamum craned her head over. "Whatcha got there, a fire?"

She gestured unhurriedly to my drinking glass and said, "you can douse it... here, take your other napkin and wet it down". I listened, but I didn't wet it down quite enough. The edges of the new napkin caught fire even as the soaked center put out the first flaming napkin. As I was busily getting burnt into a corner of the booth, I thought what an ignominiously funny story it would make if I ended up catching fire myself. I had just decided not to become part of phawkwood's "what not to do" lesson for elementary school kids when Banamum, still offering helpful maternal advice, suggested I pour my whole glass on it. Still unwilling to make a scene, because the burner was blocking the waitresses' view of the fire proper even though it had just about landed in my lap, I took the wet napkin and beat the small flames into submission.

Naturally, at this point the tablecloth had caught fire, so mustered the shred of dignity I had left, took some water, and sprinkled the slightly smoking flame like a priest with an aspergillum.

A few minutes later, Banamum said "wow, I'm full - maybe you ought to turn the burner off so things don't get too hot?" I complied, and without skipping a beat she said merrily, "Oh, good. Now you won't set anything else on fire."

I then finished my meal and left an extra large tip. I can still smell the ash.

--
Banazir

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
banazir
May. 21st, 2006 03:11 pm (UTC)
The Hand that Rocks the Hot Pot Burns the World
The above was my alternate title for this entry, as yew may have seen in teunc. The mass brunning is inevitable, or so say the 'rogs.

--
Banazir
thanatos_kalos
May. 21st, 2006 11:02 am (UTC)
*snerk*

::wonders absently if she can work this into the "how not to do archaeology" film::
banazir
May. 21st, 2006 03:09 pm (UTC)
How not to do archaeology
LOL... and here's my newly-restored "embarrassed" icon, which LJ seems to have corrupted yesterday.

"Only you can prevent Chinese food fires."

Would you believe I actually have friends who've set their hair on fire over Sterno burners?

--
Banazir
thanatos_kalos
May. 21st, 2006 05:22 pm (UTC)
Re: How not to do archaeology
"Only you can prevent Chinese food fires."

CUT TO:

EXT. EXCAVATION CAMPSITE-- EVENING

ARCHAEOLOGIST #1 and ARCHAEOLOGIST #2 are cooking over a campfire with safety in mind. After a beat, DR. BANAZIR dashes in, on fire.

ARCHAEOLOGIST #1
Chinese food again?

ARCHAEOLOGIST #2
Guess so.

We HEAR a "splash" and a "hiss" as the flames are extinguished.

ARCHAEOLOGIST #2
Good thing we're next to the river.

ARCHAEOLOGIST #1
Mm-hmm.


Would you believe I actually have friends who've set their hair on fire over Sterno burners?

easily. Did I ever tell you about the firefighter/emt I knew who set himself on fire by leaning against a stove?
banazir
May. 21st, 2006 11:14 pm (UTC)
Re: How not to do archaeology
ROFL! Brilliant. That reminds me to watch your short film, which I had to temporarily put in the back (heh) burner because of deadlines.

What happened with the EMT?

--
Banazir
thanatos_kalos
May. 22nd, 2006 10:10 am (UTC)
Re: How not to do archaeology
ROFL! Brilliant. That reminds me to watch your short film, which I had to temporarily put in the back (heh) burner because of deadlines.

::g:: let me know what you think!

What happened with the EMT?

he ran throughout his house, on fire, until his wife managed to get the fire out. No "stop, drop and roll" for Gene... :P
(Anonymous)
May. 21st, 2006 12:08 pm (UTC)
It so happened that I too was at Happy valley somewhere in the first week of this month, and guess what, I had ordered hot-pot too. I have seen it in many movies, and was always interested in knowing how the food (or the soup mostly) actually tastes. I really loved the food, it was delicious and was very different from my traditional foods which was mainly rice based and very dry. With my old habits of eating rice and curry with fork, and not generally used to soups and hot-pots (fire on table is not my usual style), I had a lot of stains on my white t-shirt and got a few burns on my fingers handling the hot vessel. But on the overall, I would say I really enjoyed the meal and would be back for some more.
I would like to point out that Happy Valley should use a bigger table for the hot-pots, as I felt the table we were assigned was a lot smaller and we had to some fumbling to find our ways through the stuff. I guess this was the main reason why you had trouble in putting out the fire.

-- Praveen
masteralida
May. 21st, 2006 12:27 pm (UTC)
Banamum didn't realize it was dinner and a show, huh? ;-)
banazir
May. 21st, 2006 02:57 pm (UTC)
Dinner and a show
LOL! It was my little-known "fire-eating" act.

--
Banazir
pursuer
May. 21st, 2006 01:29 pm (UTC)
Hey, gotta give you the props... thanks for sharing your humiliation with us. ;)

You are okay though... no burns to you?
banazir
May. 21st, 2006 03:10 pm (UTC)
Always humility, never humiliation
I'm fine - "only my pride", as they say.

Happy Mother's Day to you, too - that's a lovely pic of you and your daughter.

--
Banazir
spoothbrush
May. 21st, 2006 02:37 pm (UTC)
The table where my dad's family was sitting at my wedding reception set a napkin on fire... and then just sort of stared at it in bafflement. It burned merrily for a few minutes before one of the sisters-in-law realized that no one else was actually going to put it out and extinguished it herself.
banazir
May. 21st, 2006 11:13 pm (UTC)
Family means never having to say "you're on fire"
That's... just... rather like my family, actually, now that I think about it.

--
Banazir
onfeynyuan_shen
May. 22nd, 2006 07:41 am (UTC)
my family has a xmas tradition... well, legend? ... anyways, a story and inside joke

My grandparents and my mother's sister's family and mine were together for xmas at my parents' place.

I think we had already eaten, and something thing had been left/put on the table, like wrapping and stuff...

We were gathered, unwrapping presents nearby, when suddenly, wrapping paper on the dining table caught fire. There were a lot of us there, and there was a sort of moment's panic. Someone noticed the fire, and my Aunt shouted "Water! water!" To the group; to which, everyone was dumbfounded... someone else noticed the fire and said fire, I think i went over and beat at it with my bare hands; my brother went and got and filled a pitcher of water in the kitchen, and doused it. Somewhat typically, my mom complained to my brother about using the pitcher of water, because it mixed with the ash and stained the tablecloth; whereas I had slightly burned my hand trying to smother it in a more futile way... I don't know, i may have tried to use some cloth object to beat at it, but, yeah.

So anyways, now, when there is some panic or some sort, or just as a joke at xmas gatherings, someone in the family will sometimes shout 'water, water' jokingly - the point being, if you shout for what you need, and people don't seen the problem or make the connection, it might be futile, and panic or strong, thoughtless action may in fact not lead to a swift nor effective resolution to the problem. So my brother was sort of the hero there - calm enough to take the time to fill some water, and then willng to accept the problems associated with pouring it on the table (the mess, etc)
To truly deal with a problem with flare and calm, ie like a showman who has a burning platter cooking, and then places the lid on deftly, smothering the fire suddenly, is a pleasure to watch... actually, on that note, my brother is a bartender, and knows some tricks, like lighting zambuca in his mouth (flaming zambucca) and dropping cinnimon on to make sparkles... heheh he's a pain, but he's my lil bro' heheh
Anyways, with flaming zambucca, when your mouth gets too hot, you just close it, and it goes out - the liquid doens't burn, the vapour does, etc
same with gas... if you fall into a lit vat of gasoline... well, you're probabaly toast, but if you dive under, you won't be on fire, only the surface where oxygen is available will burn ... boil alive, maybe...

I think my cute lil anecdote is err... getting off-topic, so, yeah.

m_G


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