The Jew And The Carrot

The Exploding Wok: A Cautionary Tale

By David Chudnow

  • Print
  • Share Share
David Chudnow
General Tso’s Chicken

As many of you, my co-religionists out there, may have done, I chose to spend my 25th of December as I have for much of my life: I ate Chinese food and watched movies. So what’s with Jews and Chinese food? I mean, I love the stuff, but you have to admit, this is a pretty ridiculous tradition. Songs and literature have been written on it; this year social media was even buzzing with mock halachah on why Jews eat Chinese food on X-mas. But as ridiculous as it is, it is pretty delicious, so I’m going to keep doing it. But this year was the first year that I decided to cook the Chinese food myself, which proved a lot more difficult than I would have thought.

Menu planning was the easy part. I just posted a question on Facebook, asking what I should make, and sure enough, I got upwards of twenty suggestions within a few hours. The bill of fare: string beans, mu shu beef, sweet and sour chicken, and general tso’s chicken.

To complete the task, I borrowed a wok from a friend who left town for the week with his family. I felt up to it, as I have never shied away from a new cooking challenge. After doing some research on cooking with woks, I really thought I knew what I was doing. I swear. Let me explain.

I put the wok on my little electric stove on high heat, and got it hot before I put the oil in. A well-seasoned wok is a great thing. Just like cast iron, when it is used properly, and not washed with soap, it becomes a wonderful nonstick piece of cookware. But I guess the learning curve was a little higher than I thought. So when I heated up the pan, and put in some oil to start cooking, it exploded. I must have had the heat on too high and did not account for the grease stuck to the inside of the pan, because the whole thing set on fire. A fourteen-inch diameter bonfire, about two feet high, was just sitting on my stove. So I quickly covered the fire with the lid, and set it down while the fire went out. Realizing that I had just put it back on the hot stove, I picked it up again to walk it outside, into the cold air. This whole time, my apartment was filling with smoke, and the smoke detector was blaring, so things were a little distracting. But I think the wok was getting jealous of me thinking about all of the other things going on, because it decided to explode again. As I held it, the lid jumped a few inches of the wok and a flame blasted out the sides. So I took it outside, let it cool off, dumped out the oil and started over.

So I cooked the food, we ate it, and it was delicious. Maybe next year we will go out for Chinese.

David Chudnow is an up-and-coming film/video professional and self proclaimed foodie who always figuratively and literally eats his mistakes. He currently resides in Columbus Ohio with his lovely fiancee, Heather, and two cats, Lando and Wedge. David is looking to relocate, so if you know of any job opportunities, please contact him.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: chinese food, christmas, wok

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.