Bananas Foster

Yesterday we spent cooking dinner for my parents-in-law, as their Christmas gift. For my wife’s stepfather we cooked split pea soup, and NY strip steak. At a the Bel Air Meat Market we bought the nicest looking steak I’ve ever seen, and from what I hear it tasted as good as it looked. For her mom we made salad and salmon that looked as good as the steak. For the dessert I made them both Bananas Foster.

Bananas Foster is fun, because it involves pouring some rum into a skillet and setting it on fire. It’s fun to watch, too, so I had as an audience my wife, my parents-in-law, and 3 small children waiting to see “the fireball.” I tried to downplay the fireball side of things, since it’s supposed to just burn with a moderately-sized blue flame over the pan. I took the pan off the fire, and applied the lighter.


There was, in fact, a fireball rising up to the ceiling where it widened out a bit like a mushroom cloud. My wife made sounds indicating she was scared, while I stood there holding the skillet. The fireball can’t have been there for more than a second or two, and I just felt briefly hot. Then it went to the low blue flame it was supposed to be. So it was pretty exciting, but not really bad. Then my wife commented that my hair had singed some and sure enough I grabbed some ashes out of the front of my hair. Burning hair doesn’t smell too good, either. I’m not sure what’s required before a hair fire is self-sustaining, but I think I narrowly escaped a minor crisis. On the upside, the sauce, bananas and ice cream all tasted great together.

This isn’t the first time this recipe has gone awry. I’ve made it 4 times now. The first two times I didn’t have any problems, just a nice little fire. The 3rd time there was a great big fireball that went right into the range hood where it started a nice little fire, burning all the grease that had attached itself to the filter. Afterwards the fan motor still worked, but the blades were completely gone. Yesterday wasn’t really a success either. I’m going to keep making this recipe, but I think from now on I won’t light the alcohol on fire anymore.

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Living the good life in Seattle, occasionally sharing something interesting with the Internet.