At Home with the Range

My kitchen stove ranks over all the other kitchen cookware–toaster oven, microwave, my new instant pot, waffle iron, popcorn popper, and even the barbecue out the back door. It reigns supreme. But my kitchen stove was about to bite the dust–or rather, the old brick-patterned linoleum. The oven element was toast and two of the burners were acting up. Yay! Time to get a new stove!

It’s orange. It reminds me of a rotting pumpkin. A kitchen designer might call it “burnt orange.” Or maybe “poppy orange.” It’s one of those garish appliance colors that oozed out in the 1970’s, along with a dirty gold and an “avocado green” that was more the color of split pea soup. Yes, my stove is almost 50 years old. Would I be able to find another stove that would last 50 years?

Toshiba Digital Camera

I don’t like to replace any appliance that still chugs along. I love the Earth enough that I don’t want to dump any more junk onto it than I have to, plus if I’ve got enough money to replace an appliance on the basis of its color only, I’ve got enough money to feed a struggling family meals for a month or two.

That stove had seen me through a sizable portion of my life. For all those years our sons were growing up, it baked 2-4 loaves of bread every week or so. Every fall it processed jars and jars of grape juice, applesauce, and sliced pears. Cooked dozens of blueberry pancakes for hungry grandchildren. Produced Thanksgiving dinners for 12-20 people for many years. Endless apple crisps, Christmas cookies, birthday cakes, and Sunday pot roasts. Clam chowder after beach camping and sourdough bread and pancakes.

After thinking it over some more, and on the suggestions of two friends, I called Bill, our favorite appliance repairman. As he entered the kitchen, he brushed past me and headed for the stove, “Wow–when was the last time I saw one of these?” He replaced the oven unit and the two burners, and suggested we might replace a control knob at some point, but thinks that stove will last “forever.”

I was wrong. The stove’s not the color of rotting pumpkins. It matches the color in the wallpaper and the old brick-patterned linoleum. It’s more the color of fire. It’s one hot baby!