|Hazardous waste bottle in a chemical lab (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Like most kids I had a curiosity about chemistry, sometimes bordering on the potentially hazardous. If interesting ingredients were accessible I was ready to mix them up to see what would happen. I'm pretty sure it was inspired by something I'd seen on TV. In one case I know it was.
In one of the Little Rascals episodes the gang was baking a "surprise cake". They mix up a batch of stuff in the kitchen to create a batter that eventually starts groaning and bubbling. I wanted to do that. So one summer afternoon while my mother was talking to a neighbor across a backyard fence, my sister Joy and I and one of the neighbor kids decided to make our own surprise cake. Joy and I were about 4 and 5 at the time and had imaginations that were always at work.
We climbed the counters, digging out flour, milk, spices, and whatever else we could get to and manage to get open and we started mixing in the biggest bowl we could find. The mixture never bubbled or made noise, but we sure did make a big mess, evident by my mother's angry reaction when she came inside. To our defense, we were in a hurry to mix things up and didn't have time to clean up.
Then there was the time a few years later after we had moved to San Diego. Once again it was Joy and I and some friend from down the street. Joy and I were like the two stooges so I guess we always needed another kid to make the trio complete. It was summer and we were exploring the garage to see what was there. We quickly started assembling an assortment of chemical products--cleaning supplies, turpentine, and other miscellaneous containers of mystery liquids.
We got a galvanized metal bucket in which to mix up our chemicals and the experiment was underway. After stirring up half a pail of some nasty smelling dark liquid we waited to assess the results. Nothing happened so we hid the bucket away in a sort of clubhouse that we had constructed out of stuff that was stored in the garage. We then went to seek out other mischief.
It was a few days later when a truly foul smell started permeating the garage. When my mother inquired about the smell Joy and I looked at each other conspiratorially. We knew what that smell was and now we were a bit concerned. Scared even. After my mother had gone back inside the house we immediately went to where the bucket was hidden. The brew had a gag-inducing smell with a truly sickening appearance with unidentifiable particles floating in a film on top. It was disturbing to say the least.
Now I can't exactly recall what we did with this toxic mixture. It was undoubtedly deadly or at least unsafe. If this had been in the current age we might have called a hazardous waste clean-up crew to dispose of the substance. Maybe we just dumped it in the backyard or maybe one of our parents disposed of the evil liquid. As I think more on this I do believe I dumped it into a utility sink that was beside the washing machine in the garage. I don't know what we created in that frightening chemistry experiment but I shudder to think back on it.
It was kind of funny though--in a perverse sort of way.
What were some of your fearful kitchen adventures? Did you ever mix up liquids to see what you could brew? What did you brew?