Mar 24

When I arrived here at Rydges Bell City hotel in Melbourne, I checked out the guest information book in the room. There it said that the rooms are equipped with smoke detectors, and if they go off, the local fire squad will be alerted and they will send one or more fire trucks to the site of fire, for which the guest will be financially responsible. The prices were something like $1600 upwards.

So I’m merrily frying the mincemeat steaks I bought today, and off goes the smoke alarm! Granted, there was smoke in the room despite me having the air duct above the hot plates at maximum power. I promptly took the frying pan off the plate and threw the steak away, while the alarm was beeping for good 20 seconds more. I tried to disable the alarm by frantically pressing the only button on it. Eventually it stopped.

Next thing you know, I open the window and start sweating about the fire squad. When will they arrive? How much I’m going to have to pay for my dinner (it better be good)? I can hear the distant sound of sirens coming from somewhere, but I soon realise that they’re just in my head. Time passes, but no fire trucks arrive. Some more time passes, and I start to think that the warning about smoke in the room in the guest information book was maybe a little too drastic. This hotel has hundreds of guest rooms, and I’d guess there’s maybe one or two fire alarms going off every week. Since the alarm in my case lasted for only about 20 seconds, I reckon the fire squad knew it was some idiot European cook at it again.

The smoke detector is about 2 metres away from the hot plates. Maybe it could be placed somewhere where it wouldn’t have the potential to cause as many nuisance alarms. And the hotel should definitely provide guests with lids for the frying pans, for crying out loud!

i still have some meat left to cook in the pan. Let’s see if I manage one better the next time ;)

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