Last year, one of the males in this house (who shall remain nameless) wanted some pasta. He made some in one pot, while heating up sauce in another. The pot with the sauce was the "lonely, forgotten" pot. He occasionally gave it a glance, and even stirred it once. When I stir anything that may stick to the bottom of a pot, I use a metal spatula with a flat bottom. I scrape it along the bottom surface of the pot so that things don't stick. Even though I've described and demonstrated this in detail, I apparently dropped the ball somewhere, because no one else does this, EVEN THOUGH they've been reminded numerous times.
It just so happens that this particular male in question opted (once again) to not follow my advice and although he claimed to have stirred the sauce, neglected to scrape along the bottom of the pot. Of course, many males tend to think that you just turn the heat up high and it will all heat up and/or cook faster, no matter what it is inside that pot.
After the male enjoyed his pasta, he eventually began to clean up his mess (not bad, considering he only needed to be reminded about 3 times), but when I heard an "uh oh" muttered from the kitchen, I knew there was a problem.
Apparently this male now had visual proof that it is best to scrape the bottom of the pot because there was burnt sauce along the bottom of said pot. Stuck. Black. Thick. Yucky.
The male in question began to scrub the pan in earnest, for a very long time, yet failed to win the "Battle of the Burnt Sauce." He gave up. Resident female (ME) said, "Oh no...you don't just quit. You keep at it until it's clean. I use that pot fairly frequently."
To which resident male replied, "Well I don't know what to do...it won't come off!"
"Keep at it. It's that simple."
The pot remained out and was attacked with a variety of cleaning agents and tools over the next several days. My mother was eventually consulted by the male in question. She suggested baking soda and boiling water. That didn't work.
Finally, due to sheer perseverance, the poor pot was fairly clean. There were a few little black spots on the bottom, but you could not feel anything. At that time, I told the resident male that it would be alright. Heck, the pot had been scrubbed, scoured, power washed, and sterilized over the past few days, the dark spots would now just become part of the cookware family, sigh.
Fast forward to yesterday. Around 3:30 I began the whole dinner making process. Part of the dinner menu included macaroni and cheese. (Homemade stuff, not the box.) I brought out the pot in question, and put in the butter to melt, then added the flour to make the roux.
As I whisked the roux around the pot, I noticed little, tiny dark flakes floating around. If I didn't know better, I would have thought it was pepper, but since I don't like pepper and don't use it when I cook (hey, people can add pepper when the dish is served!), I knew that the specks were something else.
AHA! The specks were the black bits from the sauce from LAST SUMMER.
I couldn't believe it!
How easy was that?? Just make a roux, and off the spots come??
I went to the sink, added water to the pot to cool it off, then poured it down the sink. I rinsed out the pot thoroughly.
IT WAS SPARKLING CLEAN!!
So what's up with that?
I washed the pot, then started over, just tickled pink with myself.
I'm sure there's a scientific explanation for all of this, but since science is not my strong point, I'll just take the clean pot and run with it.
Take that, Heloise!