Day 327 – Situation Report
Ok some updates are in order.
- cooking on an electric stove
- charcoal vs propane
- house prices in ashland and other forms of insanity
I’ve had very little experience with electric stoves, and all that i’ve had has been bad. I learned to cook on my mother’s Chambers Gas Range (model 61C if i remember). In fact i never knew there were such things as electric “burners” until i was probably 13 or 14.
The Chambers in the Sea Cliff was (and probably still is) a great stove; built like a tank out of quality parts that rarely failed. It had a “well” and a broiler that threw some serious BTUs. You could make a black n’ blue steak in that thing like a pro… assuming you were ready to deal with any flare-ups when you opened the lid to check on the meat.
The quad burner arrangement was reasonably effective provided your pans were at least 8 inches across at the base. The gas control was via a handle that could be operated with gloves on and included a positive (!) locking mechanism in the off position.
When you cranked the front burner handle all the way up, the gas from the burner traveled laterally to the single pilot light in the center of the stove (about 10 inches) and ignited with a “whump!” as the flame traveled back down the tube to the burner. It signaled to all present that cooking was about to commence.
Electric stoves i’ve used since then were always a let down. I can still never tell with 100% certainty, at a glance, which burner is heating. I’ve burned spirals into the undersides of more than two cutting boards, and the heating time seemed an eternity.
However in this most recent living situation i’ve actually made friends with the ghetto “hotpoint” electric stove. I’ve learned to pay attention to the label of the burner knob and to walk away during the warm up. I go pick up the cat and walk around the house for a few minutes… or if she’s not into being picked up, i chase her for five minutes. On “High” the larger coils turn cherry red in minutes. Our largest pot of water boils much faster than on the GE “Home Design Series” (which is one notch above Hotpoint, both being made by GE) gas range in Boise. And i’ve come to appreciate the set-it-and-forget-it-low simmer setting. Back in Sea Cliff if you had something on a low simmer and somebody opened the kitchen door with exuberance, odds were good your flame blew out.
Don’t get me wrong, i’m not an electric convert. I still lust after a Wolf, Viking or Bluestar gas range, but i’ve enjoyed remarkable success with this overdeveloped hotplate.
Tomorrow: Charcoal v. Propane