You people are going to know my kitchen well enough to come over and do some cooking for me!
I knew I was going to post about this when I showed my refrigerator because last week I bit the bullet and ordered a new gas range!!! And yesterday it arrived.
Our old range (two burners, 15 years old) started sputtering this fall. One of the burners wouldn't stay on for more than two or three minutes. That left me with ONE burner to cook dinner on! Tetsu wanted to fix the gas range... and he tried! Took it apart, brushed the gas outlets to clear them of debris, jiggled, wiggled and pushed buttons. A couple of times he even claimed that he'd fixed it! But in a day or two the burner wouldn't work again.
Now, I can't think of anything more dangerous than a poorly functioning gas range. And to be honest, I didn't really trust Tetsu's repair capabilities. A new range seemed to be a non-luxury, must be purchased item.
I could have opted for spending a fortune and revamping my kitchen to an electric Induction Heating system. That is the way many homes are going and for awhile this was lauded as the future mode for cooking in Japan. Because of the March earthquake and the scheduled black outs, some people determined that having an all electric home might not be the perfect solution and gas ranges are making a comeback. (Besides the initial costs, you have to replace all your cookware too....No thank you.) I did NOT want an IH cooking system which was a mighty relief to Tetsu.
I started on my quest of a reasonable gas range. For such a small appliance, there are numerous options nowadays in Japan. Did I want the high temperature burner on the left or the right? Did I want drip pans? Flushed heat for equal grill cooking? Water in the grill or waterless?
I knew I wanted a waterless grill. What does that even mean? It used to be that when grilling fish in the grill (it is called a fish grill... That's what Japanese grill in it. FISH!) the fish oil would fall into the pan and be hard to clean so someone figured putting water in the bottom of the grill solved the problem. Unfortunately I found it difficult to clean out the grill without spilling the messy water all over the floor. I wanted a WATERLESS grill (using Teflon these days I think...)
I also wanted flush grill heating (because when I flipped my fish to cook on the underside the fish would fall apart.) I didn't want drip pans because I wanted to be able to wipe up with a swish of a rag. (I dream of this range improving my cleaning skills). Okay... and while we're dreaming, throw in a thermostat and a timer. OOooh... Really going for fancy!
Tetsu stayed out of the purchasing process. I am going to buy myself a gas range. I am the one who will use it. After taking a survey with my friends and students I made a decision and then started combing the stores. Expensive! And then I went online and found what I wanted at a reasonable price. AND I PUSHED THE PURCHASE BUTTON AND BOUGHT MYSELF A NEW GAS RANGE!!!! I don't know what surprised Tetsu more. That I bought myself the fancy range or that I did it online. He was sure I would read the website wrong (in Japanese) and end up with something completely different.
BUT I DID IT! I have a brand new sparkling range in my kitchen! It is a set in type... (came in a box and I hooked up the gas hose and set it on the counter.) This too is pretty normal in the Japanese home. (As opposed to built in types that have three burners and a carpenter has to be called in to remove a counter or something.) It is Teflon coated all over for easy cleaning!
Last night I cooked on it and Tetsu politely suggested that the soup tasted delicious because of my new gas range. Flattery, flattery.
Now I have no excuse not liking cooking. Except that I'm going to hate to use my new range and dirty it up...