(Not my stove - image from here, and her story is similar!)
Rebecca over at Recuerda mi Corazon is offering a giveaway - the first cookbook that Muy Bueno has written. The cookbook looks wonderful - delicious, sumptuous recipes from Mexico, along with beautiful photographs and lovely family memories.
How to win the cookbook? She wants a "memory from your savory kitchen life." My near death experience (well, not really - a "could have been near death experience" is more like it!) in 1975 was the first thing that popped into my mind when reading Rebecca's post.
It was February 2, 1975 and I was baking a birthday cake for my soon to be (and now ex) husband. I was a novice cook and baking was not really my forte - it still isn't. The cake was going to be a simple chocolate cake, baked in a square Pyrex baking dish. Two of the ingredients were cocoa and boiling water.
I prepared the baking dish as instructed, put it on the stove, filled up the tea kettle, put that on the stove and turned on the burner. The stove was electric as were all my stoves when I lived in California (I hate them).
I turned away from the stove and was rereading the recipe. I found myself in a highly relaxed state - you know the kind where the back of your neck is so mellow that you don't know if you can keep your head held upright? It felt wonderful and I went with it. It was so calming that I felt like I was entering an altered state of being, as if my body were dematerializing or disintegrating. I continued to go with it - it felt so wonderful to be floating in that place, like Kombu seaweed in the ocean's waves - back and forth, sway and dip, relaxed, so relaxed. Just floating.
And then - B O O M!!
Talk about coming back into my body quickly!
At first, I thought someone had thrown a rock through the kitchen window, but when I looked over at the window, it was intact. My eyes went to the floor where, to my shock and horror, I saw shards of the Pyrex baking dish smoking and melting into the linoleum. The 2 dogs came rushing towards the kitchen, barking - I had to act really quickly to keep them from getting into the kitchen and burning/cutting themselves on the hot glass.
When I went back into the kitchen to assess the damage, I was startled to see that there was a perfect semi-circle of glass a few inches from where I had been standing. I stared at it, dumbfounded, noticing how perfectly formed it was compared to the haphazard way the other shards were dispersed through the kitchen. Between the numerous thoughts of "I could have been killed! What if that dish exploded while I was facing the stove? What if a shard sliced an artery and I bled to death on the floor?," I slowly realized that I had been protected by unseen energies.
I believe to this day that those energies - spirit guides, guardian angels, protective totems, whatever you want to call them - saved me by forming a protective semi-circle around me. I believe that the meditative state I was in was part of the process and that the feeling that I was disintegrating was my being shielded from what was about to occur. I was and am eternally grateful for that protection.
I will never use an electric stove again and have a gas stove that I really love. I can see the flame and not have to guess which element I actually turned on! No more potential combat zones in my kitchen!
(My kitchen during the Christmas holidays, 2011)