The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Clean Break: Part Deux

by Melissa Bell

I didn't mean for this whole household chore kick to become a two-parter post. I assure you this will be the last I write on the topic. But I did something the other night that I was surprised I'd never done before - surprised that I'd managed to reach blah-blah years of age and had somehow avoided the task. I cleaned my oven. And seeing as how I love to cook and I use an oven almost every day to make something, how is it I've never cleaned one before? Am I just a neglectful slob who never noticed the build-up of black crust and baked on grease as I was sliding another pan of cupcakes onto the bottom rack? As I basted chickens and kept a steely eye on the garlic bread, how did I manage to ignore the oil spatters on the front door, the hardened ooze of lord-knows-what clouding my view as I carefully watched Mom's magnificent popovers rise to record-breaking heights?

I wish I had the presence of mind to have taken a before shot, friends. It was truly shameful and you would have recoiled in terror. But behold! The glory of the nice shiny oven! And it only took me...oh, maybe three hours. Not including the overnight wait time. Or the trips to the store to get the cleaner, the rubber gloves, extra paper towels.

Here's a tip: When buying cleaning products - or pretty much anything - READ the instructions while still AT THE STORE so that you can gather what else might be required in order to use said product. I was delighted that someone at my Dominion had the good sense to stock rubber gloves right beside the oven cleaner because rubber gloves are one of those grocery items that just doesn't seem to have a specific place in the stores. Like toothpicks. Or birthday candles. They're often never where you think they should or might be.

I went with the overnight method for the oven-cleaning - the Easy-Off Oven Cleaner people offer you a couple of choices, but I figured I'd spray it on Friday night and get it over with first thing Saturday morning. Another tip: Don't spray it on Friday night, go out and party, and have to deal with it Saturday morning if there's a chance you might be slightly hungover. The spraying part is the easy part. After eight hours of letting flesh-burning caustic chemicals eat through the petrified grime, now you must wipe it all out of there. It's challenging, my friends, especially the back of the oven and the top. It's physically awkward and your back will hurt and you will keep making faces as you keep pulling out spongefuls of brown-black sludge with every pass. I have to say, however, that the one-two-punch of Easy-Off and my heroic Mr. Clean Magic Eraser performed beautifully. I know that Easy-Off isn't probably the most environmentally-friendly method of oven cleaning out there. But I honestly can't imagine what else could possibly be effective in cleaning out all that crap . I did read an article regarding the use of a baking soda paste. It also sounded like that particular method would require hours of post cleaning clean-up. Anyone tried it?

So now that the oven is all sparkly sweetness, that means one less excuse not to be writing. Then again, maybe I could go bake something. Then again, I might never bake again. The oven-cleaning experience was not something I care to repeat any time soon. So there will be no Sunday roast, no jam tarts or scalloped potatoes for a while. Thanksgiving is going to be extra challenging this year. But I'm sure somewhere there's a recipe for stove-top turkey and pumpkin pie. :-)


Blogger Tricia Dower said...

The worst house cleaning chore ever, ovens. Worse than toilets. I could smell the Easy-Off as I read your post and feel the sting in my eyes. It IS hard to believe you never cleaned an oven before, Mel, but you can cross that stirring experience off your list at last.

Sun Aug 26, 03:35:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Antonios Maltezos said...

Easy Off! my eye!! That's obviously a picture of a brand new oven from your local Sears. Come on, Mel.

Sun Aug 26, 04:20:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Chumplet said...


Mon Aug 27, 06:36:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Steve Gajadhar said...

Just don't use it. I stick to the BBQ mostly, but then I do live in Hawaii so there's no winter to contend with.

Wed Aug 29, 03:05:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger tamara said...

steve, you bragger!

you're welcome, mel, to come on over and clean mine. it's gas, though. so no easy off... plus, i'm allergic to the chemicals :)

Thu Aug 30, 06:47:00 pm GMT-4  

Post a Comment

<< Home