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.

An Ode to Mornings

Now, I am one of those rare breeds who, get this, actually enjoys the mornings.  I’m not the type of person who dreads the sound of an alarm at 7 AM and subsequently drags herself out of bed, rushes out the door, and unwittingly starts the day.  I am, on the other hand, enamored with the daybreak; smitten with the sunrise; captivated by the break of dawn.

Trying to explain the magic of the morning to a non-morning person can be nearly impossible.  It simply does not make sense to them why anyone would want to wake up before 11 on a weekend.  These are the people for which the 11 AM college brunches were made; the same brunch times that drove me crazy freshman year.  Here I was, 7 or 8 AM on a Sunday, ready to get my day going, and the dining hall is not open for hours.  Why would people want to start their days at 11 AM?  Half the day is already gone!  Or should I say, the best part of the day is already gone.

Here’s my theory about morning people: we like the feeling of opportunity; that the day is not yet started and the best is yet to come.  The world is sleepy, allowing time to wake up slowly and thoughtfully meditate on breakfast before entering the busy world.  Waking up and running in the morning has a calming, almost spiritual feel to it, the bustling world transforming into a peaceful escape for a few hours.  There’s nothing better than waking up, clearing my head with a nice long run on the quiet trails, kept company by the occasional deer here or there, and coming back to my whole day ahead of me.  Or better yet, going out for a pre-dawn jaunt, catching the sunrise while doing a couple laps on the track.  The best part about running in the morning?  If it’s my only run of the day: wearing real clothes.

Arguably the best part of the morning, in my opinion, is the food.  Now this may be because breakfast is the one meal I can say, with confidence, that I have mastered, but waking up to cook breakfast is as good a reason as any to get my butt out of bed.  Anyone that knows me knows about my religious oatmeal habit obsession.  Flexing my creative muscles each day to make a new oatmeal creation gets my brain going, and makes my breakfasts normally delicious (with a few exceptions- coffee oatmeal, not my greatest idea).  And after my morning coffee, I’m pretty sure my productivity hits its high point for the day.

Now that I have started semi-training for cross country, my normally slow-paced, relaxing mornings will be little by little transformed into productive pieces of my day, with a lot to get in before I work at 11, but for now, I am relishing my time to think, eat, and drink coffee in the sunny window in the kitchen.

Peace, love, and oatmeal.

Recap of the first 2 weeks: What I’ve learned

So before I say anything else, the title of this post is courtesy of the one and only Mattie.  If your blog happens, sorry I stole the title for this post 😉

Anyway, in my first 2 weeks of living in a house, on my own, with this thing called “personal responsibility,” here’s what I have learned:

  • My housemates are pretty great.
  • Working is tiring (especially with mono, but don’t you thing that anyone would be tired after having to lift heavy items and set tables for hours?)
  • Meat is expensive…should I consider becoming a vegetarian for the sole reason of saving money??
  • Sunscreen is also expensive– who would have thought it would be almost $10 per bottle??
  • One more- when did coffee get so expensive?  …This could be a problem.
  • You kind of have to buy food every week to avoid eating cereal for dinner on a daily basis.
  • Peanut butter = survival
  • Parties are messy .
  • If there is something sticky on the kitchen floor, don’t ask questions.
  • The water in Oxford makes clean dishes look disgusting (and mandates polishing every piece of silverware used at the Shriver center)
  • How to turn on the AC in the house.
  • How to clean a bathroom.
  • How to cook chicken.

Slowly but surely getting the hang of this whole deal.  And Mattie, I hope you are learning lots (just like we are).