Dirty Oven?

We had a small disaster on Thanksgiving. Let me paint the scene:

We had just gotten back from our Thanksgiving Day Run.  Adrenaline pumping, I went straight to the kitchen to start out next endurance event.  Thanksgiving dinner.  Simon sat on the floor in the kitchen eating a clementine. I whipped out my Thanksgiving cooking timeline and set to work: Make Cornbread. Send husband to get eggs to make Cornbread. Defrost Gravy. Set the bag in a pot of hot water. Check. Slice Cranberry Sauce. Check. Heat Soup. Well, a little early for that, removed from the refrigerator and set on the stove. Not burners are actually on. Nick comes home with eggs. Start cornbread. Set out Hummus. Check. Cut Veggies for Hummus, and slice Brussels Sprouts. Check. Smoking stove. Check.

Wait. Why is the stove smoking?

I assumed first that I had put a burner on without realizing it (because that happens all the time, right?). No, nothing is on. But the top of the stove is smoking.

***I should take this time to mention that I have never had a gas stove before. When you don’t have a gas stove, and you like to cook, you always dream a little about having a gas stove. So its great. But I am slightly terrified of it. Back to the scene***

I freak out. I pick up Simon and run him into the living room. Then I cautiously, so cautiously open the oven. And smoke smacks me in the face.

Obviously, at this point I turn the oven off, and write a new to-do in the Thanksgiving plan. Clean oven.

See, I made a big mistake. One that, as I have been cooking for awhile, I shouldn’t have made. I feel silly even sharing it. The cornbread recipe called for the butter to be melted in the oven, in a cast iron or metal cake pan. Well, I didn’t have a cake pan, but I had a springform pan. The butter melted fine, but when I swirled it all over the pan, and then added the batter, the butter leaked out of the join and burned on the bottom of my oven. Hence, the smoke.

I have never cleaned an oven before (sorry to anyone renting apartments after us). I don’t even own oven cleaner. And I kind of thought it took a really long time. Luckily, I frequent enough crunchy blogs, natural parenting forums, and granola facebook groups to know that there is a natural alternative to everything. And when it comes to household cleaning, it usually involves baking soda.  Here is what I did:

4 T vinegar
a few drops of dishwashing liquid
enough baking soda to make a paste.

I let this sit for about 10 minutes, then scrubbed it down.  It cleaned off the grease perfectly.  There were a couple smaller spots that were predecessors to this incident, and they came off with some elbow grease.  There were two big black spots that had been there for much longer, and they did not come off.  You can’t win every time.  Next time, lemon juice?

Anyway, if you ever find yourself in a pickle on Thanksgiving with minimal time and no oven cleaner (or you just don’t want to use oven cleaner, because who knows what’s in that), this is a pretty decent solution.  Although I do hope you never find yourself in such a situation.