Sunday, November 26, 2006

Damn Stove

I hate an electic stove. Just hate them.

Can't cook on the damned things, because I can't see the fire.

Naturally, I live in an all-electric house.

damn, damn, double-damn.

I want to cook some ham-beans. It's an easy recipe. You take a pound of dried white beans, either great northerns, baby limas, or big limas, and you boil them for ten minutes, then simmer them for three or four hours with chopped ham till tender. It's a recipe as old as the hills and people have been cooking ham beans since man learned to dry beans and smoke ham. It's folk food. Of course, it goes without saying that some spices help. Like onion and bell pepper and salt and black pepper. This ain't a recipe, it's a rant. Damned stove.

And over the years, I've cooked hundreds, ney, thousands of pounds of dried beans, and simmering is crucial. And I can't get this damned stove to simmer. It's either a rolling boil, or nothing. I've been fighting it for two hours now, and it may be getting ready to simmer. I'm not sure.

With a gas stove, I'd lean over and look at the flame, adjust it to a quarter inch and go to another project, secure in the knowledge that the beans would simmer. Not with this damned electric stove. It's got ten settings and none of them will give me a simmer. I get a rolling boil or nothing.

I've cooked ham beans on campouts, with camp stoves and on open fires. I've cooked them on gas stoves and big commercial galleys. Everywhere but on this sorry, non-adjusting, no flame, excuse for cooking, electric stove.

Its enought to make you throw your hat in the creek.


Anonymous said...

I think something like this might help? The link is just an example. I've seen similar types that probably work just as well?

Anonymous said...

I'll second the hate on the electric stoves. For the critical stuff, I'll break out the Coleman stove with the propane converter and cook on that. I cooked all my meals on a single burner propane stove (and a microwave) for well over a year on a single standard grill sized propane tank, so I've got that setup available if ever I have problems with my now all electric house.

For the beans, however, I've gotten downright lazy. I skip the soaking and i don't worry about hard water either, because I just do 'em in the pressure cooker. Most every kind of beans you want cook down to soft from the dried state in about 45 minutes.

Anonymous said...

The ideal stove is the socalled "Duel Fuel" stoves, where you have a gas(either natural or LPG) burners, and an eletric oven - you already know about the failings of eletric burners, but gas ovens aren't great either - they don't provide the precise temperature control that eletrics can with a thermocouple and microcontroller.

Anonymous said...

I've been looking at those types of stoves. Did not know they were called "duel fuel" I figured that the stove itself would burn for months from a standard propane bottle that I could store on the deck, and although I'm not so worried about keeping a constant temp in the oven, at least there, electric is not a drawback.

It is my understanding that most gas appliances will convert easily to propane with a simple reversal of some kind of regulator part. Plumbing for propane can't be that hard.

Anonymous said...

Well said, sir!

HollyB said...

I can give you a great big loud AMEN! I,too, hate cookin' on an electric stove top. I have a gas stove at home, but when I go visit my Mom and cook for her, I always take my Calphalon. It's the only way to comopensate for her electric cooktop. The anodized surface spreads the heat evenly throughout the cookware. She thinks I'm weird for brinking my own pots and skillets, but then I've always been the oddball in the fam.
If you can't put in a "dual fuel" stove, try some Calphalon. It's expensive, but look for it on sale, or in a garage sale, it's worth the price!
That's a good bean recipe, btw. I'd leave out the bell peppers, just cause I don't like them. Otherwise they sound yummy. I'll bring the cornbread.

Anonymous said...

If you plan to live in that house for many years, you need a stove top you like. Go visit your local Propane dealer. They might install it.