"Um, literally or metaphorically?" I replied.
"Literally, a fiasco in the kitchen," Anne said.
Images of stove fires, out-of-control countertop appliances, knife accidents, and smoke-billowing ovens flashed through my head.
Anne explained that a fiasco, which is Italian for "flask," is the name of a Tuscan bean cooker. She's just been given one as a gift and suggested that we try it out one day soon.
A fiasco is a large glass flask, very similar to the kind you'd find in chemistry class, with a cork top that has a glass tube running through it. It was originally designed for use in a hearth fire; cooks would put a fiasco of beans on the embers at night, and they would be ready to eat in the morning.
The name, however, apparently has double-meaning. Those glass beakers have been known to break on the stove a time or two. During her research online, Anne came across one man who said he was on his third fiasco. "This could be fun," I thought. And, I made sure to bring my camera to work just in case we had a fiasco of our own.
The directions were pretty vague...and in Italian. We were to put the beans with water, olive oil, basil, rosemary, garlic, salt & pepper into the flask, then cook it for 40-50 minutes. So, that's what we did.
[un]Fortunately, no fiasco took place in the kitchen that day. We had to wonder, though, were beans cooked this way any better than if they'd just been cooked in a pot? We didn't think so.
I think the fiasco is just a reminder of the traditional Tuscan way of bean cooking...and a more attractive way to cook beans. I mean, if you have to have a pot of beans cooking on the stove for an hour or two, it might as well be done in a pretty vessel.