Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dude, You've Got Some Artz on You

The oven/stove range that came with the house was very scary when we moved into this house. It looked like it hadn't been cleaned in, well, ever. The bottom drawer was filled with spiderwebs and dead bugs and the outside had a thick coat of grime that proved very difficult to remove.

When we had the gas company come out to turn on our gas, the guy came inside to inspect the gas oven/stove. He informed me that two of the burners had broken igniters. He also commented that the stove/oven was very old and I should think about replacing it. 

I did think about replacing it. I thought about it a lot. After the gas guy left, I did two things: One, I put a lighter by the stove so I could manually light the burners (works great!) and two, I called the home warranty company to see if out oven/stove was under warranty. It was! So we payed the fifty-five dollars to have a repairman come look at it. 

While we waited, I discovered that the oven never reaches the programmed temperature. It also makes the house smell very strongly of gas when we turn on the oven, and anything we cook it the oven, tastes like gas. This made the safety of the oven highly suspect and I decided to exclusively use my small, counter-top, electric toaster-oven. It bakes, it toasts, it broils, it even turns off after the timer dings (meaning I can leave the house while something is cooking). I can't bake a whole loaf of bread, but I can bake mini ones. I can't fit in a whole cookie sheet, but I can do several batches. It works out just fine. 

The oven repairman discovered: One, the stove/oven is filthy. Two: the oven is broken. Three, two of the burners had broken igniters. Four, the stove is so old and rusted that in order to repair anything, the whole stove has to be replaced. Five: mice has chewed through several of the wires. He recommended I get a new stove/oven. I told him I agreed and he should make sure he passes that recommendation along to the warranty company. 

While I waited for an answer, I continued to cook on my stove by manually lighting the burners, and bake in my little toaster oven. 

The answer was no. One tiny bite mark one any wire automatically disqualifies the entire stove/oven from warranty. 

So I decided to finally clean my stove/oven. It took several hours, and some scratches and stains couldn't be fixed, but it looks much, much better. I got used to the idea that my stove/oven has personality, if not functionality. I decided I would replace my stove/oven, it would just take a few years. 

A few days ago I decided to call up the repairman and ask how much he would charge to come out and fix just the stove part. He nearly had a heart attack: "WHAT?! You are still using that death trap? It's dangerous! It CANNOT be repaired! Don't you realize that every time you manually light the stove you are playing with your LIFE? IT COULD EXPLODE! You are lucky it hasn't already exploded! It will explode your kitchen! It will explode your house! It will explode YOU! You cannot ever, EVER use it again! 

Oh. Good to know. 

But I cook. A lot. And even though I enjoy cooking, I don't really enjoy gambling with my life every time I cook. Although I can see the draw: EXTREME COOKING: Feel the heat. I could start my own reality cooking show. Learn new techniques, get new recipes and watch the contestants explode! Last cook not-on-fire wins! 

We can't afford to buy a new stove/oven right now (or anytime soon) but I can't NOT use a stove (maybe now is a good time to go RAW? Is the universe trying to force me into a new life choice?)  Thankfully, my mom had it covered. She shipped me a "Space Saving Buffet Warming Electric Double Burner" which is basically two stove burners that you but on your counter and they act just like a stove. 

So now I have an electric counter-top stove, and an electric counter-top oven.  It's a good thing my new kitchen has plenty of counter space. 


  1. You make me laugh. And always come out with the best attitude. :)

  2. Indeed...That's a pretty funky-awesome story. Glad you are looking at the positives.

    I was going to suggest one of those portable gas stoves people use for camping, but it looks like your electric stove has it covered.

    Random fact: The apartments I had in Japan all used this type of portable stove. It was a little bigger than the camping type and had 2-3 burners, but it was in every apartment. This was the stove; there was rarely an oven. I was gonna recommend one of those guys if this problem becomes long term, but I dunno what name to google for.

  3. There are no ovens in Japanese apartments? Is baking not part of their food culture? So I can live very comfortably with my two-burner, counter-to stove and no oven if I learn to only cook Japanese cuisine? I do love Sushi...

  4. have you checked free cycle and other internet sites? We have an ANCIENT fridge that is slowly dieing and a friend is redoing their kitchen. They're giving us their "old" fridge for 150. Maybe you could find a great deal on craigslist. It is surprising what people get rid of cause they want the latest and greatest.

    I love your positive attitude! Glad that you are still able to cook and most especially that you didn't get blown up!

  5. Actually, our plan is to eventually get a stove off of Craigslist. But besides the discounted cost (I'm seeing some between $200-$900) the problem is our kitchen isn't wired for an electric oven (and re-wiring so it is would cost upwards of $1,000, plus the cost of the oven/stove) and the gas that fuels our house is not natural gas, but propane. So either we buy a propane stove/oven (very expensive and also very rare, so we aren't going to find one craigslist) or we buy a gas stove and convert it to propane, which costs more money and more time. both of which we just don't have right now.

    Or, we could get a duel fuel range from Home Depot. They start at ten THOUSAND dollars. But that would be so cool...

  6. How about putting burner covers or even a piece of sheet metal on top of the old stove, and then you can put your two burner unit and your toaster oven on top? Use the inside for kettle storage...or anything else you want to store, and it's not wasted space.

    T used those kind of stoves in the Philippines too.

    Baking Soda with a very tiny amount of water and a lot of elbow grease will take the grime right off of a stove. No harsh chemical smell, but a lot of scrubbing required. A scrubby sponge (Scotch brand) works best.


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