Saturday, January 7, 2017
Burned Sweet Potatoes
So, I had three sweet potatoes hanging out in the pantry and they were getting a little rough looking. A little dimply, as though may begin sprouting those dreaded 'eyes'. I had the great idea of wrapping them in foil and popping them into the oven to bake while I tended to packing some of my Etsy store orders. Easy peasy. No need to set the timer, because did I **really** need a timer to tell me to take them out in 45 minutes? Nah! So, off I went.
Except. Except that I shut myself in the other room, packing away, and having a great catch-up/quality time convo with my daughter. It was great. I was getting stuff done and all was right with the world. You don't really notice how quickly time flies by when you're caught up in something, ever notice that? Well, I open the door and step into the kitchen and, huh. It kind of smells like that smell when something sugary is burned in the oven. Hmm. Oh, well. Continue puttering and putting items away. DRAT! NOW I remember. Saved the sweet potatoes - they were quite delicious. But NOT before they left some wonderfully hard, black clumps of burnt sweet potato juice on the bottom of the oven. Ugh.
Good - sweet potatoes have been saved. Bad - oven will have to be cleaned. Moan. Whine. Whimper.
If you just figured out that one of my least favorite things to do is to clean the oven, then you are mighty clever. I hate is because:
*because it's so dang hard to reach in to clean it without laying on the door to do so.
*because every time I have to clean it it's a horrible reminder that I never clean it.
*because I can't believe I actually use it enough for it to get dirty.
*because I'm afraid of the commercial oven cleaners*.
*afraid of commercial oven cleaners? Yes. I'm afraid because I have a gas stove and I think the house will blow up. I'm afraid because I'm not convinced that all of the cleaner will be cleaned from the oven and will poison our food. I'm afraid that they'll be over spray and my dog will lick it and die.
I think I have purchased one can of commercial oven cleaner once in 27 years of marriage. I'm terrified to use it. Sometimes, if I whine effectively enough, my wonderful husband will clean the oven for me. Not because he loves me, but because he loves to eat and wants the oven to work when he's hungry.
So, this time, as I looked into the cold, burned sugar encrusted orifice that is the oven, I was determined to clean it without whining and without the commercial cleaner. I sprayed the interior with a mixture of vinegar, water, and natural dish soap. I then sprinkled baking soda all over the surfaces to be scrubbed. I let is rest for about 30 minutes, and then used a bucket of warm water and a sponge to scrub it all. The baking soda makes a paste and is just abrasive enough to break down all of the burned crustiness without damaging the oven's surface. I won't tell you that the sponge and the bucket of water turned a horribly disgusting shade of brown - that would be gross. I will tell you that I was pleasantly surprised at how clean my oven became and without the use of any chemicals. A little elbow grease goes a long way, too.
Next time, I will be setting the timer when I pop a few sweet potatoes into the oven. For sure.