The color was very lovely, really. It was a sort of bluish purple with just a hint of a warm tan, reminding me of something like the color of quinoa and blueberries. In fact, it reminded me a great deal of that color, but that might have been because my breakfast was boiling on the stove and spewing blueberry-flavored quinoa flakes everywhere within a four-foot radius of the pan.
I never cease to be amazed by cooking physics. If I put a pot of water on the stove to boil, by the time the water boils, I could go read the unabridged version of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables complete with the one hundred-page description of the Paris sewer system in French, and I don’t even read French. On the other hand, if I start cooking something that could make a terrific mess, and the pan goes from enough water to drown in one second to spewing bluish purple cereal all over the place in the next second.
Physics aside — as fascinating as it is — I have burbling, brilliantly colored goop on the stove destined to decorate the kitchen with uneven polka dots. I wade into range very carefully, trying to dodge the boiling spurts of quinoa erupting from the pan. This is one of those times when I wish the stove controls were somewhere else, like in the next room. A glancing blow of purple lava strikes my arm, forcing a hasty retreat.
I’m starting to think I might need firefighter turnout gear, but that would take too long to acquire, so I grab the next best thing I have handy: a dish towel. Properly armed and armored, I creep back in, step by step, hiding behind the dish towel, catching steaming hot globs of cereal on the stained cloth until I get in range of the stove. With moves like a striking snake, I reach out and swipe at the control knob. A miss! I retract my hand until after the next bluish blob lands on the tile backsplash and try again. This time I make contact and manage to turn the stove down, but not off. One more time into the breach, and I accomplish my mission.
If this stove were gas powered, that would be the end of it, but the glass on the electric cooktop is still hot enough to brand cattle. I turn my dish towel shield into a gauntlet and jerk the pan off the hot burner. My breakfast makes one more half-hearted spurt, and the threat is over.
After a sigh of blessed relief, I look around at the impromptu effort at repainting the kitchen. The color is really quite lovely, but this isn’t my house, and I’m not sure the owners would approve of quinoa-and-berry based paint. My breakfast is obviously hot enough for the moment, so I grab a rag and start wiping up the remnants of my erupting meal. Now I know I need to keep a closer eye on that stove. No telling what color of paint it will select next time.