Convection, not Conduction

“Conduction is what happens when a piece of matter that is hot comes in direct contact with another piece of matter that is not…different types of matter react differently when hot.  Therefore, conduction will be different depending on the medium used.” (Introductory Foods, 13th Edition)

This morning, we got a firsthand lesson in food science.  Here’s some background.

So last night, I got excited about cooking and made a huge batch of chili and some cornbread to go with it.  I used a clear glass baking dish for the cornbread, and when it was done cooking in the oven (via convection), I put it on the stove to cool.  That night, I covered it in foil, put it on the back burner, and left it there to set.  This morning, after my run (but before my coffee, I may add), I put a pot of water on the stove for my typical morning oatmeal, and proceed to making my coffee.  After a little while, I wondered why my water was taking so long to come to a boil.  It was only a cup of water, how long could it take?  Two seconds later, I got my answer.

A sound like a gunshot, some low-key flames, and glass everywhere.

The cornbread was on fire.

Anna sprints to the cupboard looking for the fire extinguisher.  “How does it come off??” she exclaims.

In shock, I take the foil off the cornbread, turn off the burner, say a few choice words, and wait for the flames to die down.  I did not, as Anna suggested, “Pour water on it!”  Melissa simply sat calmly for a bit, before suggesting “Smother it!”

It did kind of look cool, the cornbread with its charred (blackened?) center in the shape of the burner, pieces of glass stuck to the edges, and broken glass covering our stove.  However, it ended up being a waste of a half a batch of cornbread, as well as a pan (oops).

So lesson learned:

  • Drink coffee before attempting to cook anything on the stove.
  • Don’t put pans of stuff on the stove; not even to cool! (thanks food science prof)
  • The fire extinguisher is in the pantry.
  • Glass pans need to cook things via convection, not conduction.
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