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Kitchen NightmaresThe kitchen can some times be a dark place! Inanimate objects can come alive and unimaginable things can go wrong. Disaster can strike at any time making any chef or enthusiastic cook go weak at the knees . . . enough to make a strong man use the F word or need a stiff drink to steady the nerves.

Below are stories of some of those kitchen nightmares! Many thanks to all who have contributed.

Kitchen Nightmares of Jonathan Arthur:

At the age of eleven, that's many years ago, I was enrolled in Callington Grammar school, in darkest Cornwall. I have to say it was a perfectly fine school with dedicated if somewhat eccentric teachers and a generally enlightened outlook.

It did however stick to many of the traditions of the day. Sports and metal work teachers tended to have a military background and short manly nicknames that they fondly thought the pupils wished to call them . . . Skip, Gunner and Pip are three that come to mind. They also included in their lessons a ritual humiliation and jovial sadism that no doubt was supposed to be good for our character but was something I could never see much fun in. The result was that I, which was a first for a male student, opted to take lessons in domestic science rather than metalwork or woodwork.

Jonathan Arthur ~ chef and cooking vacation organiser
A long way from the classroom Jonathan now runs amazing cooking holidays in Italy . . . read more

Domestic science had nothing scientific about it but the class was all girls, apart from my friend Cobb and I, which was just fine by me.

Our first lesson was hardly challenging. The menu was beans on toast and cocoa. Each pair of aspirant cooks had a work surface, sink and gas stove. After successfully getting the beans out of the can and into a pan, the milk into another pan and the already sliced bread under the grill I couldn't help thinking this was all just too easy, and in the same way that the first officer on the Titanic might have nonchalantly called for some ice, I asked Cobb to look for some plates for our meal.

As he crouched down to look in the cupboards next to the stove a number of things started to happen in quick succession. First, realising that the beans were, to put it mildly, over cooked, I tried to scrape them off the bottom of the pan, not noticing that the milk was on the point of boiling over and that the already smoking toast had burst into flames.

Luckily, or perhaps not, our teacher had spotted the situation and strode purposely over to take control of the situation. What she could not have realised was that one of us (we both later blamed the other) had managed to switch on the gas oven without lighting it. The pressure of the gas slightly pushing open the oven door.

It might have been the lit rings on the top or a piece of falling, incandescent toast but the oven chose that moment to explode setting light to Miss Pendragon's light blue and white check house coat, which went up in a sheet of flame leaving molten plastic stuck to her clothes, arms and nyloned legs. The force of the blast also knocked the cupboard off hitting Cobb's head momentarily stunning him so he was in no condition to avoid the boiling milk that now jumped off the stove . . . it did spring him back into consciousness quite quickly though!

With what I still believe to be great presence of mind I doused both thoroughly with a bucket of water that had previously been used for cleaning the floor but I am saddened to say was never thanked by either of them.

Jonathan Arthur ~ chef and cooking vacation organiser

. . . there are more to come!

If you have a kitchen nightmare to contribute then email info@hub-uk.com

Published 9 Dcember 2008

Email Hub-UK : info@hub-uk.com