We have a very fancy oven. A lot about our life is fancy right now, and by fancy I mean grown-up. We now own the kind of things I associate with people who have Careers and car payments and mortgages. With women who dress to their shoes every morning and shop at department stores for their makeup. People who go to lingerie shops to get fitted for bras, and who have a shed to house their riding lawn mowers and the family mountain bike collection. I don’t see myself in that category, mostly because almost all of the grown-up accessories our life sports have been given to us. (Remind me to tell you about the new incredibly decadent set of china we scored.) I suppose despite my best efforts though, we are definitely easing into that category, with our table for 8 and our cloth napkins, and our respectably modest but safe car.
Back to the oven. When we lived in southern California, I was shocked to find that apartments there don’t come with appliances. We agonized about the stove. Should we obsessively check freecycle and take the first one we could get? Should we cruise yard sales, check the ads? Old or new? I have always wanted one of those old style gas ovens from the 40’s or 50’s. Our friends Doug and Laurie had one, and I coveted it shamelessly. In the end we decided to go for the 18 months no interest financing deal. Our first big purchase together. We picked out stainless steel, because – well because we are stupid. And now we have a stainless steel fridge and water cooler, because if you’re going to be stupid you have to commit to a whole stupid kitchen full of fingerprints.
It took me a full day of walking back and forth to and from Home Depot twice, and a guttural scream as I wrenched the gas connector off the line and almost gave myself a hernia, to get the damn oven hooked up to the natural gas line at our place. Then, since that was after all my first time playing with a gas line, I had to wait to turn the thing on until the gas company came out to check it. Yes, the gas company will come check your line, but they will absolutely NOT install the adaptor for you.
When we decided to move, we hauled the oven, not yet paid for, all the way to Yulee, where my dad did the minor alterations needed in order to hook the thing to the propane tank. That was 18 months ago, if you’re counting.
For 18 months, this fancy POS has been mind-fudgeing me every time I attempt to bake. As I’m sure you are aware, Internet, baking requires that you be fairly exact (um, that’s an oxymoron, right?) in your measurements and temperatures.
Here’s how it has to go when I’m trying to use the oven:
Wake up. Turn on oven to preheat.
Wait an hour or 2. Turn oven off, and then turn oven back on. (Oven will at this point be around 200 degrees or so. Oven refuses to accept the concept of “preheat”)
Wait about 20-30 minutes. Open oven and get bathed in very hot air.
Assume oven must be 350 by now
Place laboriously prepared cake batter into oven
Set timer for correct cooking time
When timer goes off, open oven and jiggle pan. Cake batter will still be liquid.
Set timer for 5 more minutes
Until cake batter has been in- oh, about twice the time suggested in the recipe.
Attempt to remove cake from pan
Pick up cake pieces from floor, and pour icing over them. This will be a “hot lava” cake.
Storm out of kitchen and begin shopping for old stoves on the Internet.
It’s time for us to break out, Internet. Luckily we haven’t yet thrown any money at a comfortable couch, because I’m on the hunt for a real stove. Fingerprint Sam is on his way OUT.