I was house sitting for an elderly relative tonight because she is hospitalized. I went there to pick up a few things for her and also to fry a couple steaks. Even though I don't cook much, I do know how to pan fry steaks and I do know that I should turn on the range hood for ventilation during cooking. Yet, the kitchen just got more and more smoky even though I had turned the hood on high. A few minutes into cooking my steaks, the deafening smoke detector alarm went on. It threw me in a panic mode because I had never experienced this before. I just didn't know how to turn the freaking smoke alarm off. I was so afraid that the firemen would show up if I didn't quiet the alarm down soon enough. A rush of embarrassment also took over me because my elderly relative lives in one of those very tightly packed 55+ communities where row-houses (actually row-condos even though they look like houses) are very close to each other. I just didn't want to disrupt the peace and quiet of the retirees in the complex.
After painstakingly running around to open up all the windows and setup window fans to air the smoke out; I rushed for a wet towel to duct tape around the smoke detector, I finally got the alarm to shut the hell up. This is why I don't cook much. I always feel that cooking just involves too much hassle and much of it can be just too unpredictable.... I much prefer the peace and predictability from just ordering delivery and take-outs. I can never trigger the deafening and embarrassing smoke alarm by ordering delivery. The reason that I didn't order delivery tonight is because this 3000+ units complex is out of the range of delivery from the only decent restaurant I found in town. This is a suburb that has only one supermarket, no hospital, and yet many sprawling 55+ communities, and several thousands more 55+ units being built. The only supermarket in town is always congested and busy. So when I saw the steaks in the fridge, I instinctively took on the CIY (Cook It Yourself) challenge.
I just hope I didn't damage my hearings because of this alarm. My ears are still feeling the trauma as I am typing now. I rarely cook and losing my hearing just because I cooked tonight is so not worth it. I always feel that this retirement community has bad feng shui ( or Karma). The complex looks like every resident was kidnapped by aliens. May be they are just hospitalized in different towns like my elderly relative. I guess for those who love peace and quiet, this is the place because the complex looks like an empty ghost town. There isn't much sighting of humans but the regular big jets that fly overhead. May be I am young, I find this lack of life forms very depressing. This is a quiet place and yet there is the regular noise of the loud jets from above. Then there are all kinds of people targeting the residents of this community to rip them off. Like this useless range hood that is installed by a contractor who supposedly had installed and serviced many range hoods in this complex. I remember the time when my elderly relative told me about the total kitchen remodel this contractor sold her...which wasn't cheap. She told me the contractor ran ads in the community's magazine and was highly regarded by the HOA...
I don't know if it's fair for me to blame the hood unit for the weak ventilating capability (Broan QS142WW Under Cabinet Range Hood, QS1 Series, Allure I), or the pure cosmetic installation of the hood by the contractor. The air suction of the hood is very weak, but then I wonder if it will get better suction and ventilation if only the unit is actually connected to a chimney. No, my elderly relative's range hood isn't connected to any duct or chimney that runs through the roof. Her range hood is literally an under-the-cabinet hood that is attached to the bottom of her cabinet shelf, on which are piles and piles of plates and bowls. This is why the cooking smoke just accumulated as I cooked even though I had turned the hood fan on high. All I did was actually blowing the cooking smoke all over to the living room to trigger the smoke alarm. This is the most ridiculous kitchen gadget I had ever seen. Just what's the point of having a range hood if it can't ventilate? I'm appalled to find that a contractor just took advantage of an old lady like this? How did he have the decency to install the range hood this way? Literally underneath a sealed cabinet shelf?
I found this out because I was just too curious and shaken by the alarm. I just didn't understand why the fan was somewhat blowing and yet the smoke just accumulated to a point that it triggered the alarm. So I opened the doors on the cabinet above the hood and there I saw why.
Many people keep taking about the good old 50s and how great a time it was. But I personally think people from the 50s are just a lot more naive and not as informed. My elderly relative just never realized a hood was supposed to be connected to the outside in order to ventilate? The scary part is, my elderly relative was educated by UCLA in the 50s...UCLA is a very competitive college today. I don't know how my elderly relative was admitted back then since she seemed to be quite clueless about too many things, like how a range hood ventilation works. I mean, I am young and I don't cook much but I do understand a little about how ventilation works. There is no way I will pay anyone to install a range hood this way for me.
I hope the hospital where my relative is staying is giving her the proper treatment, and her hospitalization isn't a cosmetic one like her range hood installation.