Mark Broke the Best Dish!

By , July 15, 2019

The day started off well enough.

After a lazy, contemplative morning, I realized that the high tide approached, so I decided to go out on the rocks to fish.

Almost right away, I got a strike. I caught a small Dolly Varden char, and decided to keep it and cook it up for the cat. Shortly after, I hooked a large pink salmon, although it shook off the lure. A second one did the same a bit later; eventually, I caught a larger Dolly Varden, enough to make part of a dinner for the family.

However, we already had a family dinner plan for that night. ‘Why not bake it for lunch?’ I thought.

That’s where the trouble began.

baking fish in a solar oven

The baking dish in happier days, doing its thing in the sun oven (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

I cleaned the fish, lined an appropriately-sized Pyrex™ cake pan with aluminum foil, and popped it in the oven.

We have a new, effective way to bake fish. We use a probe-style thermometer, which we can set to go off like a timer when the meat in the oven reaches the preferred cooking temperature. Because of the thermometer, I preheated the oven, but put the dish in somewhat short of the target temperature.

A while later, I heard something clatter and fall in the oven.

That seemed odd, but not troubling. The oven thermometer, which hangs on the rack, had been set a bit low, so I couldn’t read it through the oven window, so I’d opened the oven to glance at the temperature, then closed it. I thought perhaps I’d jostled the thermometer off the rack.

Then, the clatter came again. Time to investigate!

To my amazement, I found a foil packet holding fish laying on the rack, with a pile of glass shards around and below it! The dish had shattered.

broken baking dish

The remains of the dish, after removing the fish and foil (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Thank goodness I had been baking fish, instead of a cake or other dessert, in which case I wouldn’t have bothered with the foil. The shattered pan would have made the contents unsafe to eat.

Instead, the cat and I ate lunch while the oven cooled, then I cleaned up the mess.

This isn’t such a big deal, except that the dish that broke may be the most important baking dish on the homestead!

We have a set of three Pyrex™ baking dishes, which we use often. They each have a plastic snap-on lid. Michelle thinks we might have bought them since moving to Haines, but I’m not sure. Whatever, we’ve had them a long time now!

We break Pyrex dishes every now and then, but this pan’s virtual explosion in the oven troubles me. I can’t trace it to any known cause; Michelle’s assumption that it had developed a hairline crack somewhere along the way makes the most sense of any theory we can produce.

We use the middle-sized one, 7X11″, most often, because it’s the largest one that fits in our Sun Ovens. As the main cook during the summer months, this is my “go-to” dish, the one I automatically grab first when I make a meal.

I’m eager to replace it, as I don’t imagine I’ll get along well without it. I’m a creature of habit, particularly when I cook. I relied heavily on this dish in the past, and will depend on the new one just as much.

So much, in fact, that I’ve proposed replacing it with two identical dishes!

2 Responses to “Mark Broke the Best Dish!”

  1. Alice says:

    The newer Pyrex has a bad habit of exploding. You can research it.

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Oh, that’s not good! I’ve researched it, and it appears that there’s some feeling that a change in formula for Pyrex is responsible. However, that change over apparently began in the 1940s, so any problem has been in evidence all of my life, at least.

    My Mom taught me that Pyrex is “unbreakable,” and my siblings and I have certainly proven that incorrect many times. All glass-like utensils are vulnerable to breakage, much depends on how we use them. I feel like replacing this with a new one won’t hurt, although I’ll definitely be more careful. Once bitten, twice shy, after all!

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