life in a tiny apartment.

April 17, 2013

Tip #60: Your stovetop is not your countertop. Even if you want it to be.

I was going to take a photograph of my sandwich sitting on this charred wooden cutting board. But then I realized that I was more interested in eating the oozing cheddar-cheese and hot sauce-covered egg sandy than I was in photographing it. So. You get this instead.

I have developed a habit of making myself lunchtime egg sandwiches and serving them to myself on this slim board. Ever in search of a way to do fewer dishes, eating off the cutting board means one less dish to wash and if you ask me, it’s the perfect combination of pretty and practical.

The routine goes like this: I take my toaster down from its perch on the refrigerator and place it on the 12 inches of counter space we call ours. Then I pop in my toast, fire up my pan and ready my board for receiving the sandwich. (I like to imagine that the operation looks something like this, only I’m the moving parts). To make things easy, I balance my board somewhere between the inch or two of available counter space and the electric burner on the stovetop. It’s not perfectly flush, but it works.

Until I turn on the wrong burner.

And then I char my cutting board, alarm my neighbors, and remind myself to get renter’s insurance. Again.

It’s tempting, in this kind of small apartment to use your stove as countertop, but this week I was reminded that it’s also not very wise. Just in case you’ve been similarly tempted, here’s a friendly reminder to move the operation elsewhere. Preferably someplace that won’t catch fire. Oops.

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  • Reply Suzan April 17, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    I have several cookbooks with burns the shape of concentric circles. Yes, indeed, I've done that.

  • Reply lisaathome April 17, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Oooh this has happened to me in my little space… though I have no excuse since despite the size, we have decent counter space. The worst was probably turning the wrong burner on while there was a pyrex dish on top… never did that again!

  • Reply Mags Pomichowski April 17, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Haha such a funny post. Be careful.


  • Reply Milynn {Love + Whimsy} April 17, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Wah! Well, at least it gives your cutting board character 😉

  • Reply Jennifer Allison April 17, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    ewwww….yeah. my fire extinguisher and i are on a first name basis. don't ever let it get to that point…they are MESSY beasts.

  • Reply Chloe Moon April 17, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    I did this with my plastic very flammable cutting board. I didn't realize I had turned on the wrong burner for the pot of water but luckily my boyfriend smelled the plastic burning before there was real damage!

    I agree though it does give your cutting board some character! =)

    Ergo – Blog

  • Reply Liv April 17, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    I now have plenty of counter space, but I still worry about making this same mistake. Or simply putting groceries down and accidentally turning on a burner in the process. YIKES. Glad it turned out alright.

  • Reply Alivia April 17, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    Remind myself to get renter's insurance.

    Oh Lord I do this at least once a week and yet….not yet.

  • Reply Carol GK April 17, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    I turn on the wrong burner all the time but usually a burner that has nothing on it so I just warm up the air. Do you have a pull out drawer in your kitchen, like for junk or silverware? You can pull that out and rest the cutting board on it, then put the cutting board away and shut the drawer when you're done. It does give you another foot or so of temporary counter space.

  • Reply judy April 17, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    I did this last night! I accidentally turned on the wrong burner and had a wooden spatula on the pan. Instead of boiling water, the spatula started to smoke! Oops!

  • Reply Neurotic Workaholic April 17, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    I'm glad you described how you used your toaster, because I've been wanting to get one for a long time but I don't have enough counter space.

  • Reply fibreandspice April 18, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    I totally thought it was just a cool new "thing" to have these awesome blackened rings on wooden kitchen items, and I think it looks so cool! I might "accidentally" do that to my own someday… 😉

  • Reply Rebecca April 19, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    "Ever in search of a way to do fewer dishes…" The story of my life. My latest discovery? Paper plates. But shhhhh, don't tell anyone I use them on occasion. It's just that my 12-inch round sink isn't very conductive to washing dishes.

  • Reply Camille April 20, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    I use my stovetop as counter space all the time. It's slightly less of a hazard in our case because we have to actually light each burner with a match when we turn them on, so it's pretty hard to turn on the wrong one absentmindedly. My problem is that I always set wood cutting boards down on recently-turned-off-but-still-hot burners and scorch them pretty regularly. Thankfully, we have a good supply of cutting boards laying around.

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