*A Hole In Cooking Preps*
30 July 2018
The end of February we discovered a hole in our cooking preps. Our electric range went berserk, broiler heating element wouldn't turn off had to turn the breaker off to keep the darn thing from melting down. This happened while frying bacon in a pan on the stove top, with the stove down and the bacon still very raw I decided to cook the bacon in our sandwich panini press. It worked but wasn't even a short term solution to cooking. I called the landlord and she was willing to replace the stove so I went to the big box stores and priced electric ranges. Problem was the landlady wanted to replace the stove with another bisque color stove to match the existing range hood, only one bisque stove in are area available that day. I thought no big deal I'll talk to the landlady she'll write a check for it and I would pick up the range and install it same day problem solved or so I thought. The landlady didn't like that brand and wanted a different brand, it's her money I didn't care about the color or brand so long as the range functioned reliably and cooked. The landlady and her daughter went that afternoon to look for a range without further boring details we will have a new her favorite brand "white" (she might be getting senile) electric range in a little over a week, "you do have a microwave don't you?" says the daughter on the phone. "No I don't" I agree with another Rubie who says they are unhealthy. Microwaves are good for one thing, reheating food, and the darn things don't do a very good job of that. I prefer to reheat food in the oven or on the stovetop.
My solution to this was to pull out one of my camp stoves with a 1 pound bottle of propane and set it up on top of the now unusable range. This solution was unacceptable to my wife, funny how an acceptable solution with the grid down was now unacceptable because we still had power. Up until now I hadn't planned on not being able to use the electric stove with grid power available. So with a little emergency fund cash we headed off to Wally World. We knew we would buy an electric hot plate or griddle but were still undecided about whether we should buy a toaster oven or a microwave. I knew one thing cooking bacon in a panini press worked but that wouldn't work for things like eggs or boiling water.
We quickly picked out a 2 burner hot plate and began looking over the toaster ovens. Most seemed overly complicated with 3 knobs to set the cooking modes and even the larger ones seemed small. There was one that was larger than the rest, convection heating even, and had a control pad like a microwave and it was only a little over $100. We liked it but with our limited counter space being directly under cabinets we didn't want the heat from the baking to scorch the underside of the cabinet above. The microwaves were smaller and would produce less heat under the cabinet and seemed to be a better short term solution for us. We figured we could do without baked Alaska. Turducken and souffle would also just have to be off the menu for a week. We figured we could reheat frozen left overs and ad in a few date night dinners (breakfasts and lunches too) to our menu for the stoveless week if we had too.
The old stove had the coiled electric heating elements that are just above the top surface of the stove and since we wanted to place the double burner on the stovetop to use we put a large cookie sheet over the stovetop burners so the double burner would sit flat.
One thing I noticed about the double burner (Main Stays Brand) we bought was that thin pots didn't boil water as quickly or as well as heavy bottom pots. I think we went too cheap on that one, after I read the instructions (shhh don't tell anyone I read the instructions) and finding out this model is more for keeping food warm on a buffet than for actually cooking. The burner turns on and off even when set on the highest temp setting. I didn't notice any such statement on the box but I threw the box out before trying the double burner and didn't read the instructions until a couple of meals in when I noticed the off and on of the burner even on the highest setting. We've been using the double burner a lot even though we have a new range just to see how quickly it fails. So far it shows no signs of burning out after a month of daily use.
The microwave served it's purpose for reheating food and we still use it to occasionally reheat veggies or a cup of coffee. If TEOTWAWKI happens it will be a good rodent proof place to store a little food.
This incident and the promptings of another Rubie have me thinking about solutions for everyday emergencies that don't involve the grid going down just household systems like heat/ac or water going down but the world still running fine.John1lt
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