That’s Just Fancy

(photo credit: Tawnya Gibson Photography)

We recently bought a new stove, our previous one adopting a nasty habit of not ever fully shutting off after use. I didn’t love our old one, in fact, I can’t remember a time I didn’t curse it since moving into our home over a decade ago. But I also joked it would never die and I couldn’t, in good conscience, replace a perfectly adequate appliance. But die it did, thirteen years after the jokes and complaints started.

I did hate it, but I knew its quirks. We had learned to live with each other until unplugging it became the sole method of shut off and it was obvious appliance shopping was eminent. I am not a woman who loves shopping. I’m a woman who loves to part with her money even less, but knowing supply issues are still a thing, I logged on and started my search. Normally, I would take time in finding just the right price and product. Notebooks full of notes and comparisons would be involved. But our time crunch threw that out the window and diving in ruled the day.

We ended up with a model that matched our replacement of a few years ago fridge and it’s lovely and having them match is, while not something I really ever thought about or cared about, an esthetic that I begrudgingly admit to being nice. I understand that is something a lot of people do care about and is nearly universal on design sites and within the influencer community. No one could ever accuse me of being an influencer, however… Our older model stove was builder’s grade sturdy get the job done just shy of fifteen years ago. Our new stove can seemingly fly a solo mission to Mars on a moment’s notice. And, while I plainly see that the next few lines will out me as someone sliding down the hill of old at an alarming rate of speed, here goes.

My new stove is fancy. And it’s barely upgraded from the base model (remember, loathe to part with money). Or is the base model. Either, it’s not even cracking the surface of the things stoves can now do, but the call of fancy is still alive in its soul.

Every time I go to bake something, I look at the buttons and, I swear, start a sequence of pressing things that is reminiscent of base coaches in a sports ball game. Or mission command at NASA. Or the sequence of nuclear codes guarded heavily near the President. Or so I’ve heard. Sports metaphors aren’t really in my wheelhouse. I’m not really a STEM girl and my knowledge of the nuclear football was enhanced by watching TV presidents nearly using them on several occasions. Nonetheless, baking has become something altogether more complicated than before. I have three new lines of choices facing me instead of my previous “bake” or “broil” options from my now deceased oven. Three lines! And bake is in every one of them, just with slightly altered wording on each. I am not deficient in the kitchen. But this situation makes me feel for every mocked home cook on any home cooking show. The playing field has been severely altered.

The one feature I was really excited about was the fifth burner. It’s sole function, clearly labeled, encased between the two back burners: KEEP WARM. Oh. I cannot tell you how often I wished for a keep warm burner. It seemed, as you juggle pots and pans in preparation of a meal, the smartest of inventions.

I have used it exactly once.

I’m not declaring it dead, yet. Or even officially useless. I do think it must be a useful tool — melting butter for popcorn comes to mind — but I have not turned it on quite like I imagined I would during the years of lamenting not having one. I’m still holding on to hope that one feature and I will be best friends for years and decades to come. It may simply be stubborn pride over denial that stoves are more complicated, now, but I’m still holding on.

Now. Our washer has been making some moves of its own toward breaking, lately. We’ll see if round two is nearer to my future than I would like.

(Originally heard on Utah Public Radio’s She Goes On)

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Native New Mexican who longs for the Oregon coast while living in Northern Utah. I’m an essayist and photographer who’s happiest when I marry the two.

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Tawnya Gibson

Tawnya Gibson

Native New Mexican who longs for the Oregon coast while living in Northern Utah. I’m an essayist and photographer who’s happiest when I marry the two.

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