When did it become de rigueur to sneer politely at the notion of cooking on electric stoves?
Back when I started to try cooking, as opposed to grilling a chop and throwing together a salad. That is to say, when pretension set in. Me, cook on an electric stove? No way. “Everybody” knew real cooks cooked on gas.
It was only a few years ago when a close friend, who cooks all the time, renovated her small Paris apartment and had an induction cooktop installed. She raved about it. Well, then, I started thinking “induction,” in part because I’m a lazy housekeeper and really don’t like cleaning stovetops. I began mooning over the flat glass tops of induction stoves on appliance store web sites. A problem though: my stove space is 24 inches and as of yet, no induction stoves are made that small.
But before I get to the drooling-over-induction phase of my life, I must confess to my stupidity phase.
I have a lousy, exquisitely beautiful stove. It is Italian. What is particularly enraging about this stove is that, years ago, when I renovated the kitchen of my previous apartment, I made a mistake — of buying an exquisitely beautiful Italian stove. I was stove-shopping at Gringer, an old-time Lower East Side appliance store. I was gazing upon a good American stove — a GE, maybe, or Frigidaire — when I happened to turn around and face…a De Longhi. I mean, the aesthetics!
The price was absurd, maybe twice the American stoves, but those looks! That style!
It is not Gringer’s fault. I bought it. Within a year, an ominous rattle began in the oven. I cursed and stopped using the oven. It was then that I banned Italian manufacture from my home.
So wouldn’t you think when I moved uptown and had to renovate my kitchen I would have eschewed another Italian stove? I was at Krups, this time, and the stove was a Bertazzoni. It was gorgeous. (I didn’t know then it was also the new name for De Longhi. It was twice as expensive as a comparable American stove. I probably could have bought a Viking or Jenn-Air for the same price.) And I made the same fucking stupid judgment call I’d made twenty years ago. I bought the Bertazzoni.
A year after I began using it, a strip of its rubber oven insulation flange dropped off. Which means about a third of the (gas) heat expands into my kitchen instead of concentrating on my chicken. It takes, oh, hours to cook anything in the oven so I have adapted all recipes for the stove top. The four gas burners. Which are a pain to clean.
Ever time I look at that stove, I get angry. With myself. Again.
So now we come to the latest crazy fear about gas stoves, about how The Government is coming after them. For the first time in my life, I regret not being a paranoid because there is nothing I would like better than to envision The Government (black-booted appliance thugs) banging on my door, barging into my kitchen and removing my gas stove.
And I have an even better reason than food prep for wanting to get rid of the gas stove. About four years ago, I was diagnosed with a chronic pulmonary thing called bronchiectasis which, off and on, causes me to have problems breathing fully. My pulmonologist tells me it won’t kill me, which is good, and has helped me manage it. Also good.
Substances I avoid inhaling include steam and wet air. And now, in response to the screeching from the MAGA wingnuttery, scientific info has emerged about inhaling fumes that gas ranges emit. Gas can exacerbate asthma and is absolutely no good for bronchiectasis.
Until I can get rid of this stove, I turn the fan on high whenever I use the burners, to dispel the gas fumes. It makes a hell of a noise but is unattached from the stove. That is, it’s American.
So, Government: come ‘n’ get my Italian stove. Please.