The Difference Between A Smoke Detector & A Fire Detector

Last summer I wrote a post about a Fire! I had in my dryer.  What was so amusing to me after it all happened was that even though the entire laundry room and back hallway were filled with black billowing smoke, the smoke detector never went off.  I suppose this could be overlooked if the smoke detector were someplace at the other end of the house, but it was right in the thick of it in the back hallway.

To make matters worse, I swear at least once or twice a week when I am baking something in the oven, the darn smoke detector starts blasting.  It has gotten to the point that the family teases me that if the smoke detectors not going off, Mom’s not cooking.

Well, this afternoon I decided to try a new recipe for Saganaki or flaming cheese.  I was making gyros with fresh pita bread for dinner and thought it would be just like going down to Greek Town for dinner if I served the cheese we typically started our meal with down there.

I wasn’t sure what type of cheese to use, as I decided on this little addition to dinner while I was at the grocery store, so winged it and bought something called “Frying Cheese.”  How bad could it be?

When I got home I found a recipe for Saganaki, and of course I’d bought the wrong cheese, but at $5.00 a chunk, I decided it would be good enough.  I marinated the cheese in brandy, dredged it through some flour, heated it in a cast iron pan with olive oil, and then called everyone in the kitchen.

Hubby suggested I light the cheese right on the stove since that area is fire resistant.  Not being the bravest of souls, I gave him the match, set the cheese in the cast iron pan in the center of the cooktop, and poured 1 ounce of brandy over the bubbling cheese.  Hubby struck the match and — OPA! Flaming Cheese!

Immediately I knew I should have used a bit less brandy.  The flames shot up to the ceiling, scorching the light fixture.  I tried squeezing the lemon wedge over the flames to put them out (as directed), but the flames were too high.


Then, as the flames continued to glow red I noticed that the hot pad cover for the cast iron skillet handle was on fire. Things were just snowballing out of control.  Of course everyone panicked, Hubby tried beating the flames out, but wasn’t thinking and used the long wooden matchstick he’d used to light the cheese in the first place.  The match relit and joined in the billow of flames collecting on top of the stove top.

I grabbed the rest of the lemon wedges, braved the flames, squeezed every ounce of juice I could over the cheese and slowly the flames began to subside.  Of course the sink was two feet from the cooktop and why we didn’t just douse it with water I’ll never know, but at least the cheese wasn’t ruined.

Now as scary as all of this might seem, we were all laughing the entire time this was all going on. Why?  Well you see, no sooner had Hubby lit the cheese and yelled “Opa,” and the “Fire” detector went off.  There was no smoke, just flames. The smoke detector is probably 15 feet from the cooktop, around a corner, in the back hallway and the instant the fire began, BAM! it went off. Am I missing something here?

So obviously there is a distinct difference between a smoke detector and a fire detector, as mine doesn’t go off when there is actually smoke in the house, only fire.  I suppose this does have its place, but it really makes me think about the saying “Where there’s smoke…”

Oh well, the singe marks on the ceiling fixture give me a great excuse to clean it, the cheese turned out pretty darn good, we all had a great laugh, and no real damage done.  All in all, a good time, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.