Plastic Art

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Facebook fans and friends may have already seen the photo below. Take a good look and tell me what you think it is.

Plastic Art
Plastic Art

Suggestions so far are “art”, “a nat. Or maybe two nats” (what is a nat?), “plastic bottle sculpture”, “gelato”, “cake icing”, “melted plastic bottles” and “weird-flavoured icecream”.

Lenses cases
Lenses cases

If you look at the second photo, you’ll see the answer.  Jean Michel and I both wear contact lenses and because we like to keep spare cases in our bike bags, toilet cases, glove boxes, etc., we regularly sterilise the free ones you get with the lens solution. I have a very bad habit of putting things on the stove and forgetting about them.

I’m working away  and can smell something burning. I think it must be my laptop so I turn it off and go to the kitchen to make some tea. That’s when I see (and smell) the saucepan. Here is this molten mass in pretty shades of blue and green. I yank the saucepan off the stove then wonder what I should do with it.

I refrain from pouring it down the sink and clogging it up again the way I did last week with the contents of another burnt saucepan. Jean Michel spent quite some time getting that fixed. I put the saucepan down again and quickly get some alfoil out the drawer, tear off a sheet and pour the mess onto it. I then use a spoon to dig the rest of the molten plastic out of the saucepan. That’s a stupid move as the spoon becomes coated. I put my thumb on it to clean the spoon and burn my thumb. I discover we have no burn cream, well, not that I can locate anyway.

However, I see that once the plastic sets, you can peel it off. That’s OK for the spoon but doesn’t help the triple-bottom stainless steel saucepan. Usually when I burn saucepans, I pour bleach in (eau de javel) which is not at all environment-friendly, I know, but saves hours scouring the saucepan. It works remarkably well. The thing I burn the most is the meat sauce for lasagna. Spinach comes a close second.

The bleach doesn’t make much difference so I open all the windows to try and get rid of the smell and go back to work. In the meantime, Jean Michel had been repairing the portable airconditioner which I may or may not have been responsible for breaking. It has a second half to it that sits on the balcony and is attached by an unwieldy umbilical cord that contains little tubes with refrigerated liquid and air inside a metal sheath that musn’t get twisted or they’ll break.

Outside  air-conditioning unit
Outside air-conditioning unit

Well, they did get twisted somehow and the air-conditioning gave up the ghost  so he’s spent quite a few hours shortening and repairing the tubes and soldering the metal sheath with the help of a friend. Although he has expertise in air-conditioning and refrigeration he hasn’t used it for many years so he’s been reading up on it. The air-conditioner’s been recharged with gas and he calls me to tell me the friend’s going to help him carry it up the stairs.

Inside air-conditioning
Inside air-conditioning

I’m worried about the smell but Jean Michel doesn’t notice it and the friend is probably too polite to say anything. I do, however, confess to the saucepan as we’re cycling along the Marne towards the old chocolate factory.

The old chocolate factory at Champs sur Marne
The old chocolate factory at Champs sur Marne

He says I should use a razor blade but it doesn’t seem to have any effect. He has a go and eventually gets some of the plastic off and I take over from there, using a lot of elbow grease and steel wool until the saucepan’s finally clean.

I’d like to be able to say that it’s the last time I’ll burn a saucepan but can you really teach an old dog new tricks?

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6 thoughts on “Plastic Art”

  1. Ouch!!
    With a minor burn the best thing is to hold it under running water for 15 minutes to cool the tissue.

    Looks like the day ended better!

    1. Yes, cold water is what I usually do but thought I needed something stronger! Jean Michel said I should have put butter on.

    2. I do usually use running water but probably not for long enough. I’ll do so next time. The problem too is that 15 minutes is a long time if you’re trying to clean up the mess!

  2. I don’t have a miracle cure for plastic burnt on to saucepans, but I do suggest that you half fill the saucepan and boil some water in it before you use it for anything else. It will have developed hotspots, and be more and more likely to burn on the base if you don’t ‘re-cure’ it.

    The worst case of burning something dry on the stovetop I’ve ever witnessed was when an old boyfriend of mine boiled an aluminium kettle on a stove with coil type elements. The base of the kettle melted and went through the element in a big gobbet that we were never able to extricate.

    I also once ‘cooked’ my housemate’s stash of marijuana which was secreted in a plastic bag in the Breville sandwich maker. He was furious that I hadn’t opened the sandwich maker up before I turned it on.

    1. I forgot about the water. JM did actually suggest I fill the saucepan with water and boil it up again, which I did.

      I love your story about the marijuana. I’m still laughing! I can imagine how furious he was.

  3. Sounds like you need a thermomix!!! Best thing since sliced bread. An absolute must for pot burners (takes one to know one ;))

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