Better Than TV

Daniel’s in love with “his” new stove and oven. It took me forever to make a decision, not just about which brand and features I’d like to replace the one that “broke”, but if I’d replace it at all. The cavernous unusable oven screamed out to me, “storage space! storage space!”, a perfect location for my insanely heavy, but wonderful to cook with LeCreuset.

And it isn’t as if I was completely without an oven, I rationalized. Tucked in one corner of the kitchen was a handy counter-top convection, rotisserie, broiler oven – a 3-shelved kicked-up version of a toaster oven. I’d grown fond of the dry-style of cheesecake it seemed to create so effortlessly, with a little help from me. Only mildly irritating was the way in which a 5-pound rotisserie rotating lamb roast rubbed the oven walls. Actually, rubbed doesn’t accurately describe the sound. It was more like a slap of lopsided flesh against metal. I figured, correctly, that it would shrink as it cooked, thereby removing any possible long-term irritation that might move me toward a too-hasty replacement decision.

Every Sunday, my husband announced “Appliance Sale!”, waving ads in an effort to cheer me on towards at least “going out and looking”. I suppose, secretly, part of me felt that since I still wasn’t ready to part with $9,800 toward my 64-inch 6-burner dual-energy DSC professional range with the warming “station”, (add to that another $20,000 remodeling costs), why waste a few hundred dollars on equipment that was going to go the way of the broken-down came-with-the-house-lowest-of-the-low-end 4-year-old Amanas. One might think I was happy to see that stove go.

I didn’t relish the idea of throwing more good money out to modern manufacturers who had thrown away the plans to constructing basic, work-horse ranges of my grandmother’s era, precursors to the Energizer Bunny – they kept going, and going, and going….

The Great Fantasy is that if I buy High End, I’ll get Forever. I know. I’m wrong. And I know that because I’ve read every appliance “list” and “board” on the internet in my quest to find The Perfect Replacement. I’ve learned enough to know that high-end lines are rife with adjustment issues, more prone to problems than the basic low to mid-range supposed workhorses of Kenmore and GE-fame, with service that is next to impossible to find.

Boy, I was stuck. And I wasn’t stuck for just a week. Oh, no, my German-heritage (that gets a lot of blame in my life) caused me to be stuck for several months. Besides, all I really needed was another $67 3-shelf counter-top convection oven. That and my gas grill out on my deck really could make my cooking life complete. In the back of my mind was the fact I also had an additional convection oven and stove-top in the motorhome. If push came to shove, I could run food in and out of the house. Kitchens were NEVER attached to the main house in the old days! I would simply be re-enacting cooking from an earlier period albeit with modernized equipment!

Then, the family changed their approach. Instead of encouraging my ability to generate whole meals from the inappropriately small countertop “cooking box”, they stopped clapping when I presented them with my “how in the world did she make that” achievements.

One of them must have gotten their little hands on an Applied Behavior manual. They switched from the positive reinforcement technique to the subversive method in hopes of Addressing The Problem.

My husband hung his head, and with Quivering Lips said sadly, “I miss your real cooking. I’m amazed, yes, at what you are able to accomplish – almost a pioneer-woman feat, but I do miss your real cooking”.

Following suit, my daughter modeled this approach using Sad Eyes because, as she explained, she “missed the best cinnamon rolls on the planet ever since the oven broke”.

Daniel, quick to pick up cues, caught my hand up into his, locked his big brown eyes on mine, going right to the heart of the matter, “But, Mama, whatever will we do to bake a turkey on Thanksgiving. And will we have pie?”.

Maybe I was just worn down. Before I had a second to think I said, “That does it. Put on your jackets. We’re going shopping”.

That same afternoon, a new range and oven were ours. Within 3 days it was delivered, installed, its first batch of cinnamon rolls cooling on a baking rack.

Daniel’s impatiently waiting for his turkey, but in the meantime, he’s having a great time watching whatever’s in the oven, giving me a play-by-play description of how the goodies are coming along. “Mom, it’s bubbling now. Is it going to explode or it is just burping?”.

Oh, to be a child when the real magic is what happens right in front of your eyes when your Mama cooks.


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