How much business have restorers gained since deep frying turkeys grew in popularity? I imagine quite a bit. The National Fire Prevention Association estimates these mishaps cause more than $15 million in property damage each year and warns that amateurs should not try to fry their own birds.
Deep frying a turkey involves lowering the bird into a cauldron of boiling oil. You may have seen this method on the news or in numerous fail videos on YouTube. Done successfully, it’s supposed to produce a succulent dish.
Two miscalculations usually cause disasters. The first is when the turkey is larger than the fryer, causing oil to spill out onto an open flame. The second is when the bird isn’t fully (or even partially) thawed, causing an explosion.
If you do get called to the scene of a fryer fire, what should you do? You could mock the homeowner as if he were the Fourth Stooge (and sorry fellas, it’s usually a guy who does this). You wouldn’t be wrong, but it wouldn’t be right. No, the correct response, as attorney Ed Cross explains in this issue, is empathy. Regardless of why an event occurred, the person who experienced it is likely distraught.
“Take a moment to acknowledge the human experience and suffering these people are going through,” Cross said.
Charlie Horn, president of Paul Davis of Louisville, knows how his clients feel after experiencing a kitchen fire of his own. Horn was making a much more conventional dish — fried won tons — when oil in a pan ignited and started a blaze. He suffered serious burns while trying to extinguish the fire and his family spent several weeks outside their home while the restoration process took place.
The event caused Horn to rethink his company’s approach to clients. Today he seeks out employees who can empathize with the homeowners and express that the company cares about them. One of his first hires after the fire came from a background in social work.So be thankful for the extra business these misadventures in gastronomy produce, but show sympathy for the would-be chefs. Of course, if someone was attempting to deep fry a turducken, that sympathy might take some extra effort.