This thread reminds me of an incident that happened about 5 years ago. We had invited some friends round for dinner, including a couple who were coming to our house for dinner for the first time, so naturally we wanted everything to be perfect. Anyway, dessert was creme brûlée and it was going to be the first time I used the cook's blow torch that J had given me for Xmas. However, about half an hour before the guests were due as I was about to start torching the puds I discovered we'd run out o sugar, so I had to jump in the car and nip to Tesco. Arrived back with 10 mins to spare and started on the blow torching. One couple who had been loads of times turned up early and insisted on watching the process. I was a bit surprised that the bruleeing sugar caused some wisps of smoke. The doorbell went, another old friend had arrived.... Julian left what he was doing which was preparing Melba toast for the pate to answer the door, take coat etc. All of a sudden the alarm went off and we realised that the kitchen was thick with smoke and it wasn't the blow torch, it was the Melba toast that had caught fire under the grill. We doused the flames, it stank.... opened all the windows and at that point the new couple arrived to find a house full of smoke and me standing on the bottom step of the staircase madly wafting a tea towel at the smoke alarm and everyone else it fits of giggles. Great first impression!