Sunday, May 12, 2013

Good-bye Old Stove!

“The estimate for the repair is over $500?”
“That’s what he said. Time to go look for a new stove. What are you doing tomorrow morning?”
“Looking for a new stove with you.”
“I think so!”

Our first married stove, and the first stove I’ve ever even owned, was purchased in the spring of 1995. That was eighteen years ago. Today, we bought that stove's replacement.  For me, it is a bit stressful to spend on a new appliance and to take a guess on selecting one that will prove worth that investment.

We had been hand-lighting the top burners on the old stove for years. They quit igniting along the way. Our old stove clock, in times of power outages or time changes, could only be reset by unplugging, plugging it back in, and then setting the time. The timer hasn’t worked for years. We just dealt with it and took it in stride. Inconveniences, but not essentials. Then this week the oven died. That was the crushing blow that resulted in our new purchase.

My husband, who enjoys cooking, too, has opinions on these matters. We had fun looking for the new stove together. We debated getting the cheapest stove we could find or one more expensive, yet more suited to our needs over time. This one will serve us better in the long run.

We got it loaded in the truck and, with help from a friend, moved it into our kitchen. That saved a delivery charge and we did not have to wait to get it home. He confidently installed it, with only two trips to the local hardware store. He also cleaned behind the old stove, for which I am so grateful. That was a dusty, grimy scene, evidence of housekeeping neglect for who knows how long.

New, shiny, and so clean...
So, we have started the clock to see how long the new stove will last. We bought the five-year warranty, which I’ve come to accept as necessary these days. Appliances are not as reputable as in our parents' days. Replacing appliances has its financial challenges all bundled with hopes for a good product that will serve and last.

Our new gas range is a better-looking appliance, of course, as styles and tastes change through the years. Once we got it home, I realized a simple pleasure for the first time in my grown-up life: a white refrigerator, white dishwasher, and now white range. They all match. Our old stove front and the top panel were black, which now looked dreary and dreadful. 
Old Faithful...
Aside from color changes, the new stove comes with minimal razzle-dazzle technology and dashboard of keypads, which we learned to use quickly.  It comes with a bigger oven and five burners, which my husband thinks will be useful, especially with two couples cooking in this house - and all four people cook, the men and the women. [Another couple lives upstairs]

Our new KitchenAid range
Now we have burners that actually ignite when you turn the switch/knob, a bit of a thrill that I do not take for granted. The clock/timer problems are now solved, additional pleasures of the purchase. I'm feeling a bit spoiled.

We can now roast or bake with a convection oven. That will save energy, something pro-environment for me. It seems easy enough to do, according to the instruction manual.

Within less than 24-hours, we broke in our new stove and gave it a whirl: 

First baked item, Monkey Bread – a worthy choice.

First spill – melting butter with brown sugar.
  • First piece of popcorn hit the stove top and came to rest – proof that love is in the air and plenty to share.
  • Grease spattered while cooking this morning's breakfast bacon. I had to back down almost immediately from my new vow of hyper-vigilance in keeping the stove top clean all the time, though I am hoping we keep it cleaner than the one we are retiring.
I was feeling a bit reflective with the transition in stoves, another turn of the page of time. A stove is so central to our home life, to the kitchen, to the meal. A tool for nourishment and connection. The stove itself, a choice, a selection made by two minds, two sets of opinions, with hopes of being able to afford it, and dreams that it will last a long time. It is a blessing to have a marriage that outlasts a stove these days!

Thoughts included summers where it is too hot to cook. Holidays where certain baking and roasting smells fill our home and announce a season or a festive meal. Watching cheese melt and bubble on a pizza through the oven window at the end of a busy weekday. Anticipating a cake or cookies or fresh fruit crisp for a sweet treat. New recipes to try with humbled expectations and fun in the process. All these things revolve around a stove. The sizzle of sauté whether onions or garlic or something else. Stirring a hearty soup. Caramelizing anything. These are some of our delicious times around the stove that create bonds and memories, anticipation of something good, and value for the process.

So, out with the with the new. Good-bye old stove! Now we have to figure out what to do with the old one. It looks so used and dirty with the new one nearby. It served us well for many years and now we will dispose of it in an environmentally conscious way.
Did you know new ovens no longer include broiler pans? Do you think replacing a major appliance ever comes at a convenient time?

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