Friday, June 24, 2011

One Small Step for the Kitchen, One Giant Step for Our Gastronomic Possibilities

For many months our kitchen has looked like this.
The refrigerator has protective coverings but has been plugged in and working for quite a while. That has been the extent of our kitchen function. As you can see, the oven is in place but its protective coverings and interior packing materials have not been removed. The many boxes in this picture contain the cooktop, microwave, garbage disposal and, yes, the kitchen sink. You will notice a definite lack of cabinets and countertops.

Today we took one small step for the kitchen and one giant step for our gastronomic possibilities. The oven has now been fully installed! Real baked potatoes, pizza bigger than 13" (whicht is the biggest that the toaster oven will hold), a Texas-sized pan of brownies and angel food cake that is not seared on the top are all mine with the push of a few simple buttons.

Weber, being a good consumer, opted to read the manual for the oven rather than choosing my more experiential method of just pushing all the buttons and figuring out that way how it all works. This proved to be as entertaining as it was informative.

The following are exact quotes from our new oven's manual.
  • Never Use the Oven for Warming or Heating the Room. I thought this was an added bonus offered with most ovens, one that is not appreciated at this time of year.
  • Children should not be allowed to sit or stand on any part of the oven. I guess that they should be laid comfortably on an appropriately sized pan before cooking.
  • Wear proper apparel. Loose fitting or hanging garments should never be worn while using the oven. I now have an opportunity to wear that baking bikini that has worked its way to the bottom of my drawer. And I'm so glad that they specified "hanging garments." I'd hate to think that I couldn't cook unless I'm wearing proper foundational garments!
  • Flammable items should not be stored in an oven. I sure hope we have cabinets soon since I no longer have a place to store the lighter fluid.
  • Do Not Heat Unopened Food Containers. So much for convenience foods.
  • DO NOT TOUCH HEATING ELEMENTS OR INTERIOR SURFACES OF OVEN. Where was our governor Rick Perry when this manual was being written? He vetoed a bill prohibiting texting while driving because he said that he "did not want to micromanage the personal behaviors of individuals." I think I should have the right to touch my oven wherever I want to. If I am foolish enough to engage in an inappropriate relationship then I should learn from the error of my ways.
Though we had several good laughs reading these warnings, the sad truth is that they are included here because someone or ones did these very things, probably with somewhat negative results, and tried to blame the manufacturer. If we promoted cooking education instead of abstinence our society might be better equipped to face the challenges of everyday life. Oh wait, wrong soapbox, but I guess it works here too. If rather than simply saying don't touch the heating elements, the instructions said be sure to use an oven mitt when the possibility of touching a hot oven exists. And remember, oven mitts alone are not a guarantee against serious burns.

Despite the comical nature of the oven's instructions, it is a very nice appliance and I am looking forward to building a long-lasting relationship with it. It does some really cool things. It has a setting for dehydrating. And one for proofing bread. It also has a Sabbath setting. It does all the normal stuff too. And, did I mention that it will cook an angel food cake without searing the top? This is a relationship made in heaven!