Musings from a Seattle personal chef
Archive for the 'Miscellaneous' Category
I’m hoping all you faithful fans of Ovens to Betsy (all five of you) will enjoy my new blog devoted entirely to my fitness shenanigans: Eat Drink Run Woman (a play on one of my favorite foodie films, Eat Drink Man Woman by Ang Lee). Ovens to Betsy will continue as my food blog, and there’ll most likely be some crossover posts.
Why the change? While it made sense to me to intertwine my passions — food and fitness — I realize there were disparate audiences. Those of you who enjoy my posts on running & fitness don’t necessarily care about my culinary creations, and those who come for recipes and cooking techniques may not give a rat’s ass about my finish time for the Mercer Island half marathon.
Let me know what you think!
Given my profession and business name, one might think I’m an oven aficionado. Sure, having cooked with several over the past six years, I’ve formed some pretty strong opinions (I’ve never met a JennAir I like). I know what features are important, and which are marketing hype (TRI-vection? What the heck is THAT?) But I have a confession: when it comes to purchasing an oven, I’m a greenhorn.
That’s about to change.
When my darling and I moved into our house almost 10 years ago, we inherited a crappy electric range (along with a crappy refrigerator and even crappier washing machine and dryer). But funds were tight, so we vowed not to replace any of the appliances until absolutely necessary. The dryer was first to go belly-up, followed a few months later by the washing machine. The refrigerator is still working, but it’s now our spare (I bought a new fridge three years ago with the tip I received from a week-long cheffing stint on a yacht). As for the oven, the electric one was replaced by a KitchenAid gas convection range six years ago. But here’s the rub: it was a freebie!
Once I became a personal chef I wanted to upgrade to a gas range. But funds were still tight, so we waited. By happenstance we bumped into a friend of ours who was getting ready to haul his rental house range (the KitchenAid) to the dump. It still worked, but needed a new spark module. He recently had to replace the tempered glass surface after his tenant dropped a pan on it, so he wasn’t looking forward to shelling out more money for the spark module. We gladly took the range — which cost about $1,600 new — off his hands.
We fully intended to get the spark module replaced, but just didn’t get around to it. When the range was plugged in, all four burners would spark. But we didn’t need to plug it in to operate the stovetop; we just lit the burners by hand. It had to be plugged in to use the oven, but we got used to our “metronome.” We actually put up with it for two years until the oven went kaput. The repairs were $400, but at least we could now keep the range plugged in full time.
Disaster struck this past October (or more accurately, a bottle of pomegranate molasses struck after tumbling out of the cabinet above):
It was amazing; it shattered in an instant, yet kept crackling for more than half an hour. So far none of the glass shards have loosened, but spills have seeped down into the cracks (so it will never look clean). I thought about replacing the surface, but hesitated at the $500-600 price tag (at least that’s what my friend spent more than six years ago). I also toyed with buying a new range (my dream is to have a 5-burner Viking), but feel it’s ludicrous to put a high-end appliance in our current house (it’s a teeny-tiny hovel built in 1906. I don’t even think the floor joists could withstand the weight). A Viking would be the crown jewel of our home. It would be like placing a Renoir in, well, in our home. We’d rather wait to buy quality appliances until we tear down the current structure and rebuild (we hoped to do that this year, but realistically it won’t happen until next).
Alas, we’re now forced to make a decision as the oven has once again gone kaput. While the broiler works fine, it can take up to an hour to heat up to 500 degrees (the temperature at which we bake our beloved pizza). Although that’s not too terribly problematic, the fact gas fumes permeate the house as it’s heating is indeed extremely troublesome. Given the range is at least nine years old, it would be best to replace than try to fix. sigh.
Thanks to “Consumer Reports” I’ve identified a couple of candidates (convection would be nice, but I’m more concerned with high BTUs). I also found a couple of promising ranges on Craigslist that would be considerably cheaper than new. Of course, the timing totally sucks as tomorrow is the Super Bowl and I had a hankering for my baked buffalo wings.
I think I’ve only seen the show once (heck, we don’t even GET Nickelodeon any more), but when I saw this jersey I just had to have it! Unfortunately my size isn’t available and I haven’t been able to find it any where else (at least not the women’s version). The only thing better would be a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos jersey (are you listening Frito Lay?)