Rice cakes are dangerous.
I found that out today when I almost burnt my kitchen down with them. Seriously, I really did.
Although I am laughing about it, there is a serious side to this.
I have never seen anything so flammable since my son set fire to some cheese. Yes cheese - he really did. And he called the Fire Service.
But that is another story.
Rice cakes are more flammable than petrol fumes!
And I'm not kidding. All I did was put them in the toaster. Well, ok, I forgot about them as well - but still...
Why did I put them in the toaster? Good question. They were stale.
I eat a lot of rice cakes because I don't eat bread.
Lately, I have noticed the crispness of rices cakes varies from a lovely firm but 'melt-in-the-mouth' crunch to, 'is this an old Styrofoam coffee cup I am eating?'
I like my rice cakes to have a delicate crunch quality to them, not make my mouth feel like the inside of a hobo's old boot on the bottom of a dried up river bed.
Rice cakes - can be a delight or bitter disappointment. They have far too much in common with those white styrofoam tiles we used to put on the ceiling in the 70s.
After throwing loads of stale rice cakes away, I had an idea.
It was a deadly idea as I found out today when I nearly burnt my house down.
Why not use the toaster to 'pep them up' - sort of re-crisp them.
Now, I'm not talking about out of date rice cakes or, rice cakes that have not been stored properly.
I'm talking about brand new, straight out of the packet rice cakes that just don't cut it.
I had the idea last night and was thrilled at the superior crunch quality that a short toasting on low setting gives them.
However, this morning was altogether different because, my husband had turned the toaster up (yes it was HIS fault!)
I popped my rice cakes in the toaster and went to sit back down at the computer.
Then I forgot they were there because, well... just because - OK? Don't you ever forget stuff?
Suddenly, I heard this BOOF! A sound that struck terror in my heart. I knew exactly what it was.
I leapt up and ran into the kitchen where there were unbelievable flames leaping up out of the toaster which was under the overhanging cupboards.
Even I didn't think stopping for a picture was a great idea at this point, so I went to grab the flaming toaster to run out into the garden with it.
(Ok pre-school children, what should I have done at that point?) Duh!
Of course it was plugged in and jerked me back, so I reached round it, feeling the heat on my face, ripped the plug out and flung the toaster in the sink - flames still streaming from three little rices cakes!
After I doused the toaster with running water, I fell to the floor and had a conversation with a passing spider I happened to see.
I said, 'shit Eric, did you see THAT!'
So these are rice cakes with the extra flavour that setting fire to them tends to give.
I swear to God I heard Eric say 'Why didn't you just throw a tea towel over the toaster?' - but it may just have been my own voice coming out as a high-pitched sort of squealy sound.
I stayed on the floor for awhile as there seemed to be more air down there. The top half of the kitchen looked like a 1960s November morning in London.
Then I thought I heard myself screaming a high, monotone scream that sounded like the smoke detector...oh yes, it was the smoke detector.
So the tea-towel did get involved after-all as I flapped it madly underneath.
With all the windows open and order restored, I went back to my desk to work.
When my sobbing subsided. I sat back and in my usual drippy-hippy style, I asked myself, 'now what positives can we take from this experience?'
And then it hit me, what a bloody brilliant substitute for barbecue charcoal if you run out but, you happen to have rice cakes in the cupboard!
Because man do those things burn!
And that wasn't the end of it.
Two hours later, with the toaster dead in the water, I was thinking about lunch.
'What about' I murmured to myself, 'what about if I put some rice cakes under the oven grill and stood there to watch them?'
Yup, that should work. So I did. And guess what, I nearly had another fire. I turned away to put the kettle on and when I turned back, smoke was gushing out of the oven and I think it was pretty close to the BOOF! stage again.
Setting fire to rice cakes is a dodgy business...
So I have promised myself I will stop unless it's to help light barbecue coals.
On a serious note, rice cakes really are incredibly flammable so it's best not to put them in the toaster or under the grill - they will catch fire very quickly.
They don't just go black like toast, rice cakes catch fire and the flames are huge - you have been warned.
Have you had any near death experiences with flammable food? Please leave a comment and tell me your story about the danger of rice cakes or any other food that almost killed you.