BATTLE MOUNTAIN, NV — Wife and stay-at-home mom Maria Bruciato began preparing Sunday dinner by opening her recipe book, pulling out required ingredients, and quietly disabling all of the smoke alarms in the house.

“Disabling smoke alarms is one of those secrets handed down to me from my mother,” said Bruciato as she walked through the house preemptively opening all of the windows. “I love family traditions surrounding a home-cooked meal; things like sharing what we did that day, and scraping soot from the kitchen ceiling before my husband gets home.”

After deciding to burn meatloaf for dinner, Bruciato added a few extra steps to her famous recipe, such as adding a pinch of cumin and surreptitiously replacing recently-emptied fire extinguishers with new ones.

When the Bruciato family sat down at the dinner table, they were met with a cornucopia of extra-crispy foods and 17 scented candles.

At publishing time, Mr. Bruciato was quietly paying a plumber to fix the toilet he promised his wife he would fix.

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