Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Shrapnel in the Kitchen

It's the subtitle of an article Pyrex Panic: Shrapnel in the Kitchen. But it just happened here, so I get to use it.

I was unloading the dishwasher while my husband took his Banquet chicken out of the oven. He placed it on the stovetop, which is a smooth-surface countertop stove that's across the room from our convection oven, right next to the dishwasher. I was explaining my techniques for fighting primarily with the handgun in the professional level of Resident Evil 4.

His hand had just let go of the dish, still protected by an oven mitt, when the dish suddenly exploded.

Now, World Kitchen, the company that now owns Pyrex and Corningware, doesn't like the word "exploded." They say

"We want to assure you that neither PYREX glass bakeware nor other glass bakeware 'explodes.' Glass does not explode but it can break. As glass bonds break, people may hear a noise and be surprised."

Surprised!? Uh, yeah.

When glass breaks in a manner that it flies halfway across the room, I think it can safely be described as "exploding."

Fortunately, Andy, our three-year-old, was in the living room, and neither Pither nor I were hurt. But I had to pick chunks of still-warm glass out of the dishwasher. And, thanks to my parents leaving us a shop vac, the clean up of tiny slivers was fairly easy, too.

I understand that sometimes things explode. It's the way of life. But it's nice to at least have an idea of which things might explode. The article indicates that World Kitchen is denying their dishes explode and aren't warning the public to be careful.

The article, by James R. Hood of ConsumerAffairs.com offers useful advice where World Kitchen fails.

• Wear oven gloves; you won't burn yourself and if the dish blows up, you're less likely to be cut;
• Wear shoes. Being pregnant is fine but being barefoot in the kitchen is out;
• Keep the dish away from your face. You avert your face when connecting jumper cables to your battery don't you? (You don't? You should.)
• Keep kids and dogs away from the cooking area;
• Set bakeware dishes down gently. Banging them around greatly increases the chances of trouble;
• Preheat your oven before putting anything in it. Some ovens use the top heating elements (the "broil" elements) during the preheat cycle, which can cause trouble if you put a cold bakeware dish in there;
• Don't put objects on the top of the stove unless you intend to cook them. Even if the burners aren't on, heat can be vented from the oven. And, most important ...
• Don't let your kids undertake big baking, roasting or frying projects unsupervised. The kitchen is a dangerous place.

Oh, and our advice for Vice President Arnold? Spend a little less time on semantics and give a little more prominence to the safety warnings you now so skillfully downplay.

Thank you. I still have a smaller Pyrex baking dish.

... I'm a bad visual blogger. I didn't take a picture in situ, but here are a few pics of where it happened, as well as the garbage full of sploded Pyrex.

From the oven,

to the stove,

to the garbage.

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