James bounded in the door after his first day of school (he’s hit the big time – he’s in first grade!). Words bubbled out of his mouth faster than Niagra Falls over his amazing day. I grinned from ear to ear listening to him as he unpacked his backpack.
He got to his lunch and shot me a glance – the kind that hoped I would be mad – and said, “I didn’t eat all of my chicken chili.” He pulled out the blue-lidded silver thermos from his lunch bag. “I thought-” he paused to twist the lid and grunted, “I’d try to finish it now.”
“It probably isn’t any good now,” I said.
He shrugged and continued to grunt and twist at the lid. “I’ll at least open it to see.” After a few more moments of wrenching at the lid, he passed the container to me. “Can you do it?”
“Sure.” I nonchalantly gave the lid a twist, figuring anything a six-year-old had a hard time unscrewing would be a cinch for me. I twisted harder. I grabbed a towel and wrenched the lid again, hoping the towel would give me more traction. No matter what I tried the lid refused to budge. “Who screw this thing on, superman?” I asked.
James giggled. “No. I did.” He bulged his little six-year-old muscles. “I’m strong!”
“Yes, indeed you are.” I gave the lid a final attempt before staring at it in contempt. “Nothing doing, it’s not coming off today. Perhaps Dad can get it when he gets home tomorrow night.” I set it on the counter. “It probably wouldn’t have been any good to eat anyway, I’ll give you an apple.”
And with that the container was forgotten. It never occurred to me what might happen if I let white chicken chili (with BEANS) sit in an airtight container and ferment over night….
The alarm jerked me awake at 5:00 this morning and I prodded Dot into wakefulness. Running a little late (her alarm is set for 4:40), she managed to get everything done and my crazy morning began. I ran Dot to seminary, came home and made sure Em was awake. While she got ready for school, I made lunches. Then at 6:30, a little before Em was about ready to go out to catch the bus, I roused the boys and got them loaded into the van. Once Em was on her way, we sped over to the church to fetch Dot and then took her to highschool, returning home with just over an hour to get the boys ready to catch their bus.
We were half way through breakfast, when I ran upstairs for something. I heard a really loud pop and bang, and yelled something about not knocking the chairs over, while I searched my desk for the needed paper. Jacob appeared at my door gasping for breath after charging up the stairs.
“You know the white chicken chili James didn’t eat? It EXPLODED!!” He threw his hands in the air looking both delighted and panicked at the same time. “The lid made a hole in the ceiling – and it smells really bad.” This last statement came out nasally as he pinched his nose.
Feeling a bit wary (of the mess I’d have to clean up), slightly amused, and extremely curious I followed him down the stairs and into the kitchen to survey the damage.
“Holy Flying Chicken Chili, Batman!!” I exclaimed, my jaw dropping.
The smell of fermented beans and sour milk clung to the air. Bits and pieces of chili littered the counter and floor – sometimes nothing more than the bean skin was seen laying forlornly by itself, with the escaped bean smashed a short distance away. The lid had landed, broken, close to the dining room entrance. I gazed up at the ceiling. A large clump of chili clung to the ceiling, dripping in great oozing drops, with a neat rectangular gash in it’s center from where the side of the lid had slammed into the ceiling. Had it been outside, it probably would have cleared the atmosphere. Clumps and gobs of chilie even slid morosely down the front of the fridge on the opposite side of the kitchen.
“Wow, impressive,” I managed to say before the chuckles began to hit. The boys staring at me in awed wonder – the little ones seemed rather terrified that something else might explode soon. I continued to laugh while I instructed them to fetch some supplies to start the clean up with.
I have a feeling I’ll be finding (and hopefully not smelling) bits and pieces of white chicken chili in random places for a long time to come, lol.
So, lesson of the day… if you have a thermos with chili in it that you can’t get the lid off – stow it in the fridge until the muscle arrives – unless, of course, you want the cool scientific experience. In that case, I’d stick it outside to avoid the mess (of course, with my luck it would indeed clear the atmosphere only to come back as a meteor and wipe out my house – I know, it’s impossible – but imagination is key here).
Water rockets have got nothing on me guys…. 😀
(Just don’t let me near a pressure cooker…. If I can’t handle a thermos, I shudder to thing what I would do with one of those! lol)
* two updates since writing this post: 1 – when I walked back downstairs to get back to cleaning, I remembered my first thought on observing the mess the first time (after the holy flying chicken chile, Batman) – Dang! I missed it! (as in witnessing the actual event. 2- I was washing the dishes and couldn’t figure out what happened to the rest of the lid – I had only found the cap – the part that stick out and into the thermos to help create the seal was missing entirely. I finally found it… under the dining room table! lol!