Lost in Suburbia: A half-baked column
“I think it’s time we retired this oven,” I said to my husband as I displayed a sheet of blackened sweet potato fries. “Even the dog won’t eat these.”
“Sure he will,” he said, tossing some fries on the floor. The dog immediately sucked them down.
“Not my point,” I said.
We had known that our oven was on its last burners for quite some time. But it still worked, sort of, which was more than we could say about the prehistoric dishwasher or fridge, so those got replaced first. For years, I tried to convince myself that I really wasn’t jealous of my friends with their fancy stainless steel ovens with enough BTU’s to power a rocket ship. But the truth was, I had major cooktop envy. I wanted a stove that could boil water in 6.2 seconds. I wanted an oven that not only cooked my salmon perfectly, but also caught it off the coast of Alaska, skinned it, and cleaned it for me.
OK, maybe I wanted something that didn’t exist. But I at least wanted a stove that had actual numbers that weren’t rubbed off the dials so I didn’t have to guess whether I was baking or broiling.
And thus began our quest for the perfect oven. Armed with our pretty little Internet oven pictures, we headed off to the appliance store.
“My old stove had one oven on top and a separate oven on the bottom so I could cook two things at one time,” I told the salesman. “Do you have any 30-inch stainless steel stoves like that?”
“Was your old oven seven feet high and pale yellow?”
“Yes!” I said excitedly.
When he was done rolling on the floor laughing out loud, he helped us find something that was actually better than what I’d had and was also from this millennium. Then he showed us the price. I choked.
“You know, for this price, the thing really should be able to go to Alaska and catch us some fish,” I said.
“That’s the next model up,” he replied.
Finally, we had our stove. We set up a delivery time and then I waited home for eight hours so it could be delivered and installed.
When the big, new, shiny, stainless steel oven arrived, I immediately knew how my husband feels when he goes into a car dealership. I stared in reverence for a full minute and then I caressed the knobs, stroked the burners, and polished a little streak away with the edge of my sleeve. It was truly a thing of beauty.
“So, how’s the new stove?” asked my husband when he got home that night.
“It’s pretty!” I gushed.
“I know it’s pretty,” he said. “But how does it cook?”
“Oh. Um,” I stammered. “I don’t know.”
“You don’t know?”
“Yeah,” I replied. “I was so excited to get it, I forgot to go food shopping.”
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