The rise and fall of spray oil when cooking with a Trangia

IMG_3493Okay, I know the other day I wrote about how spraying cooking oil from a can into a hot stainless steel bowl is not good because it bursts into flames (see Lesson #1). And I know a normal person would have actually learnt from that lesson and not attempted it again. Obviously I am not normal (at which the Captain is vigorously nodding).

For the record, during this whole cooking (mis)adventure I am about to describe, the Captain was sitting inside trying to make a helmet visor for a road helmet, something I am sure you will hear about later on, and had no hand in my…cough, cough…stupidity.

After reading about people cooking pancakes and baking bread using the Trangia, we were inspired to try it, after all, who doesn’t like the thought of home baked goodies at the end of a long day riding? (And before you say anything, I know this is only really true if someone ELSE bakes them).

I decided to try making a small batch of pancakes on the Trangia, using the method I saw on this YouTube video making pancakes on a Trangia. It seemed easy enough. Using only the basic ingredients we will have on tour, flour, sugar and water, I mixed up a small amount in our stainless bowl and set up the Trangia ready for cooking

In the video mentioned above, the fellow places a Trangia bowl upside down on the flame, heats it and spreads oil on the bottom of the bowl. Then he pours some pancake batter onto the heated surface, turns it over using two knives, and ends up with a beautiful looking pancake!

I lit the Trangia, placed the bowl upside-down over the flame…and that’s when the fun started.

Our plan was to take spray cooking oil on the trip. It’s light, can be used for just about everything and won’t spill.

But, as the bowl started to heat up, I realised that the man in the video had used liquid oil, out of a bottle. He poured it on the bottom of the bowl, he didn’t spray it. Can you see what’s coming?

In my wisdom, I remembered the lesson I learned last time… and thought I would just test it out again in case the whole flame thing when using a propellant spray can was a fluke.

I tentatively sprayed a little of oil onto the bowl, no flame (see, last time must have been a fluke!).

I sprayed some more oil to cover the bottom and ever so quickly poured batter onto the bowl before any flame could appear. Phew! This was going well and pancakes were definitely going to be a standard on our menu!

That pancake cooked nicely; I turned it over using our bamboo wooden spoon and mini can opener, and just a few seconds later the first pancake was done!

Now for the second one. Feeling more confident, I sprayed oil on the bottom of the bowl and WHOOSH! up went the flame. This was gone as soon as it appeared, but in a panic, and knowing the Captain was inside unaware of the potential disaster I was creating outside, I quickly poured pancake batter onto the bottom of the bowl. By this time the bowl was ferociously hot and the batter started the burn almost instantly. Still panicking I grabbed the bamboo thing and the mini can opener and tried to turn the pancake over. It was stuck fast because it didn’t have any oil underneath it! The smoke was rising so I tried lifting up the bowl with the same two utensils. This was highly unsuccessful because neither the can opener or the bamboo spatula are actually designed to grip things!

As I tried to lift up the bowl, it tilted over and I could see the flames leaping up inside the Trangia courtesy of the windy day. The pancake batter that wasn’t burnt black already was starting to head down the side of the bowl into the flames, making it worse.

Burnt pancake

You can’t see it very well in this photo, but the other side of the bowl is covered in black soot from where it was tilting into the flame on the Trangia. The inside of the bowl is also covered in black soot.

In a last ditch effort, I managed to somehow flick the bowl out of the Trangia…and upside down into the bowl of pancake batter, soot and all.

…We did get one good pancake…

Lesson # 2 DO NOT USE SPRAY OIL ON A HOT TRANGIA! (The capitals are for me). We will be taking some good old liquid oil in a pouring bottle, and I’m not sure pancakes will be on the menu…

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