A Particularly Rough Day in the Life of a Saucepan

Sometimes, I wish I could taste. Almost every day I'm filled with substances that my owners find flavorful. And sometimes I imagine what it would be like to be them. But I know that it is their place to taste, and mine to hold and to heat. Well, no, I don't actually heat--something else heats me and I heat the things my owners eat.

I have my good days, and I have my bad days. It's hard to know which are which. There are the days I luxuriate in the darkness of the cupboard, and days I reach a several hundred degrees, containing fireworks of oil and water within my walls. Of course, there are those times I'm left in the sink filled with grime and water for hours or days.

Today was nuts. I was not in the sink an hour before being scraped clean in a rush and thrown back onto the heat. It takes some time for me to warm up. My owner threw slabs of butter onto my surface, and I turned them to golden puddles. I don't normally melt butter at this temperature. It was bit invigorating. Sugar weighed down on me. This is why I'm made of metal, and not, say, paper. A paste of sugar and butter scraped me like sand as he mixed it. But it takes something much worse than sugar to actually scratch me.

There were apples, too. It all became molten soon enough. Wet apples clung to my surface and, cringing, I burnt them. At such moments I feel a pang of regret and anger at myself or at my owner, I can't say which. It is his neglect but my flesh. I got the feeling he was being especially negligent today, because rather than carefully maintaining the arrangement of apple pieces held within me, the spatula was flung every which way as he mixed them into a messy pile. Beside me I heard the frantic motions of a rolling pin. It did not take long for the molten sugar to begin to burn. There is something in the way it bubbles that gives it away. Atop me he threw brown scraps of dough like the ad-hoc furs of some barbarian. Most of the gaps were closed before I was thrown in the oven.

Waiting in the oven is different than the usual kinds of waiting I do--waiting in the cupboard, waiting in the sink--because, like him outside in the kitchen, I am anticipating being removed from the oven. In the cupboard and in the sink I don't get so anxious because I know I could be there for a long time. I'm never in the oven for very long, though I never know exactly how long. I keep wondering if the crust is browned enough, if he will be satisfied with how the crust looks. He opened the oven at least a dozen times during my stint in the oven this time.

When he finally did take me out, he ran a knife along my walls, as he usually does, to detach the crust. I do wish he would find a better way to flip me over. It makes me nervous being spun about like that, although honestly at some level I hope he does slip, drop everything including me (I'm metal, I can take it), and spill burning tart all over him. But yet again, he didn't. He did burn himself on my handle though. I suppose you could say I burned him. But really, he should've known better. I wonder why he's so clumsy today.

Like I said, just a quick scrub and I was put back at it.

As the ripping sounds of vegetables being sliced apart reverberated through my metal curvature, I became increasingly hot. Oil slipped across me, pooling on one side. This is why I have walls. My owner dropped the sliced vegetables onto me, and I made them sizzle. I could feel them slumping and sweating against me. What does a shallot taste like? A heap of broccoli interrupted my speculations. He didn't let the shallots develop their flavor, he was hasty. He usually leaves onions, which are similar enough to shallots, sauteeing for much longer. He was acting strangely.

The vinegar and olive brine barely touched me, becoming puffs of steam on contact. He covered me up, trapping clouds in my interior. Water collected in droplets inside my cover, and streamed down the sides. More water was splashed in from a cup, and more. Vapour spat out my sides.

The flour he sprinkled in just turned to tiny lumps. My task was basically done, then just a container into which more was dumped: shrimp, salt, pasta. For a moment he slides me back onto the heat, but takes me off again. That's it. I've been left in the fridge ever since. I'm used to waiting.

18 March 2011