On Stoves

I currently live with a glass top (although I’m not convinced it is glass) electric stove. I am not a fan.

I grew up with a gas range and thought that’s what everyone had. Well, when I was a kid we took a vacation to my aunt and uncle’s house where they had an electric stove. The kind with the coils.

I thought of their stove as a kind of exposed toaster oven lamp in coils. I wasn’t sure how it cooked things when there was no fire. Well, I soon found out that those funny looking coils could make fire.

When our marshmallow roasting in the fireplace got cancelled, my cousin said not to worry and that we would roast some on our own. We dragged a chair to the stove, skewered some marshmallows on chopsticks and set to work. Turns out that your marshmallow can catch on fire over an orange coil of heat just like it can over fire. Who knew.

Well, it’s been many, many years since that marshmallow roasting experience and up until this year, I did not cook over an electric stove again. I was unhappy to find out that my apartment would have an electric stove, but I didn’t have much choice in the matter and just went with it.

Well, I can honestly say, I am not a fan. I know that a lot of people love their flat top electric stoves, but I really am not a fan.

I am a person of my senses and without flames leaping up, I don’t have a good sense of how much heat I’m giving to my pan. I’m also not convinced that electric does just as good a job as gas at heating my pan. I’m sure there is some personal bias in there.

The other thing that really bothers me about this stove is that my pans slide all over the place. On a gas stove the pan pretty much stays put when I set it down. On this stove, the pan will slip and slide if I so much as breathe in the direction of the pan. This makes cooking two handed at all times. I find this inconvenient since I usually am cooking on more than one burner at a time and I’d like to be able to reach over and stir in between attending to something else if I have to. That is not possible on this range.

I also find this range a bit dangerous. I had a scary incident a couple of months ago where I thought I had turned off the range, but instead of the range being off, the knob was slightly on and the setting for high heat is next to off. Well, I left a pan on there and left the house. (I leave pans on the range top so I don’t accidentally burn myself). When I got back, I opened the door to a funny smell. That smell turned out to be burning oil. Luckily, nothing had caught on fire and all that really went bad was a lot of wasted electricity. However, that situation could have gotten very dangerous. I like the ability to look at my stove and know that it’s off. I also like that I can smell gas, which can tell me if I haven’t turned things off.

The other dangerous part about flat top stoves is one I already alluded to – hot surfaces. I have definitely been almost burned more than a few times because I can’t tell if the surface is hot or not or I forget. A little light in the corner is not going to prevent me from trying to stick my hands on the glass top. So, as I mentioned earlier, I leave my pans on the surface until things cool off.

Finally, I feel like I’m constantly cleaning this stove top. I am always rubbing the surface to get the “stains” out and well, honestly, I’d rather not feel compelled to constantly clean my stove top because it looks dirty to me.

When it’s my choice, I will choose gas over electric. For now, this range does what it’s supposed to do and cooks my food. There are worse things in life than an electric range.

What are people’s thoughts on different stove tops?


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