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That was a long one, Dave, but worth reading. Lots of stuff I didn't know: I'm happy with my 150-dollar standard-Japanese-"gas table", but I'll be more forgiving of the electric I grew up with back in the UK, in future.

... Hot Knives...

Hey, Maggie. A knife balances quite nicely with its tip between two of the coils of an electric cooker - and gets as red hot. And in those days, the translucent, soft plastic milk bottles, with the bottom cut off them, were just the thing as inhalation funnels.

Stay away from rugby players.


QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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Nice piece, Dave, but I will stick with gas. I love the flame.

Cavemen didn't cook on a glowing coil. The pioneers used wood.

Electric is so Reddy Kilowatt...so 1950s...so Florance Hanford...so stove-of-the-future...so Levittown. Ewww.

So you grew up with one of those brass "This Home is All Electric!" medallions by your front door, too?

No but Philadelphia Electric tried. LOL. Thinking about it, Florence Hanford's all-electric cooking show in Philly has to have been one of the first on TV. I have dim memories of a black and white lady in a dress cooking on TV.

added...here's her wikipedia writeup http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florence_Hanford

The squib that the WSJ obit (linked from wikipedia) has looks interesting, but I'm not a subscriber.

added again..

A YouTube of her show. Pretty 1950s!
Edited by gfweb (log)

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. . . I care most about what I've got when I'm doing the big power tasks: bringing a few gallons of water to the boil is a key example. On a quality home gas unit, that took me two or three times longer than the 1970s-era Thermador electric I have now.

So help me think about this, Dave. What is it about the electric ranges that delivers the power on superhigh?

There is little doubt that an electric burner will deliver more thermal energy to the bottom of a flat pan than a similar gas burner. This is because the surface-to-surface conduction of thermal energy is far more efficient. I imagine if you had a high powered induction burner it would be even faster.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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Timely and interesting article. I've spent most of my cooking years using either a woodstove or an electric 1958 GE Hotpoint. Both stoves I understood and could fix/adjust when needed. Now we're about to remodel the kitchen and it's time to bid my hotpoint farewell. I've cooked only a few times with gas but have become completely enamoured of the Capital Culinarian with its open burner (23,000 BTUs each) design and lack of electronics. Maybe induction is a smarter way to go...but where's the love? There's a relationship that develops between cook and stove and I've had a hard imagining a bond developing with most other stoves (gas or electric) I've seen. I guess it is about magnetism after all :wink:

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A wonderful story / science lesson, Dave, thanks.

For years I cooked on a 26" GE electric coil stove, and did just fine, thank you very much. A heat source is a heat source is a heat source, and one merely adjusts to the situation.

Now I cook on an O'Keefe & Merritt white enamel and chrome 50's era gas beauty. I love the burners, they're the best gas burners I've ever used. The burner adjustment valves are exquisitely sensitive and variable, for one. I have many other verses to the song of praise for this particular stove.

I would not purchase one of the wildly popular "commercial style" gas ranges designed for home use. The ones I've cooked on have terrible burners, especially if they are sealed burners, are really hard to clean, and in general are way over-rated, IMHO.

However, in contemplating my next kitchen, I think I'm going back to electric of some sort for three reasons: efficiency, safety and cleanability. (Not coils, though).

Now here's what I want, four burners, two halogen and two induction, all in the same flat surface. Does anyone know if such a beast exists?

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There's a relationship that develops between cook and stove and I've had a hard imagining a bond developing with most other stoves (gas or electric) I've seen. I guess it is about magnetism after all :wink:

Good point, but I believe that over time, you'll learn to love -- or perhaps hate -- whatever you get. Humans are odd in their proclivity for developing emotional relationships with inanimate objects.

However, in contemplating my next kitchen, I think I'm going back to electric of some sort for three reasons: efficiency, safety and cleanability. (Not coils, though).

Now here's what I want, four burners, two halogen and two induction, all in the same flat surface. Does anyone know if such a beast exists?

Indeed it does. Electrolux and Frigidaire both make such a cooktop. Despite the fact that they're part of the same company, the units have different configurations. Here's the Electrolux, and here's the Frigidaire.

Miele doesn't have a hybrid, but they do let you pick and choose from various elements, called Combisets.

Bertazzoni makes an interesting -- some might say odd -- combination of a single gas burner, an electric griddle and two induction elements. See it here.

ETA: Samsung has two hybrid ranges. Here's one of them.


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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FWIW, I have had excellent luck with Samsung appliances. Never had a problem to get service for, so I can't comment on that issue, but I DO love 'em!


"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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Now see, I first heard that story as a three-generation ham-and-pan parable in the early 1980s, something my then-boss took an especial liking to at a management seminar and then "shared" at the next staff meeting. I think we safely ascribe it to the Urban Folklore file.

Dave, this was such an interesting read. Where I live it's propane or electric, and propane is about 8000 times cheaper, and not too bad to cook on, but I would not kick one of them modern, smooth-top, easy-to-clean electric ranges outta bed for eating crackers.

The activity of cooking is perhaps the truest proof of the it's a poor worker who... well, yes, you know the rest. It's really up to, or down to, the cook, ain't it?


Priscilla


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Dave, this was such an interesting read. Where I live it's propane or electric, and propane is about 8000 times cheaper, and not too bad to cook on, but I would not kick one of them modern, smooth-top, easy-to-clean electric ranges outta bed for eating crackers.

It's interesting -- and can be very frustrating -- that propane actually holds more energy than natural gas (methane). Frustrating because most manufacturers optimize their ranges for the latter, and make poorly designed conversion kits for the former, resulting in worse performance.

Nevertheless, as you say:

The activity of cooking is perhaps the truest proof of the it's a poor worker who... well, yes, you know the rest. It's really up to, or down to, the cook, ain't it?

And yet here's Josh Ozersky blaming his tools. He's upset because his smoothtop won't accommodate his warped pan (warped? what's up with that?), exhibits a complete lack of understanding of heat transfer, and piles one mistake upon another until he finally ends up with an unsatisfying plate of scrambled eggs. Then he trots out the familiar litany of praise for gas with the warning "You still have to know how to cook," even though the egg experience casts doubts on his mastery. Then he libels, if not every smoothtop fan, at least me:

And if it [the gas cooktop] gets dirty and messy, as pasta water spills over onto burners, and sauces drip, that's O.K. too. People who are freaked out by the sight of food in kitchens give me the creeps. They are, of course, also the target consumer for these [smoothtop] ranges.

Not content to assault the motives of electric-range owners, he goes on to insult anyone who's ever used a thermometer, and finishes with:

I dream of a world where people cook dead animals over live fires, where grills are licked by wood flames and pans by gas ones. Where people love to cook as much as they love to eat, and where the world allows them to do one as expressively as the other.

I like wood fires. I also love to cook, and I can't see how my choice of ranges -- or Josh's misplaced anger -- makes any difference in my "expression" (whatever that means). Finally, I usually like Ozersky's writing; The Hamburger: a History was a ton of fun. But based on how he cooks, I think I'll stick with reading his books and avoid a dinner invitation.


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Two years ago, because of this article, we replaced our electric cooktop with gas even though I had been lusting over gas for 15 years, and not only have I never regretted it but, when we move at the end of this month, I will be replaced a 5-burner Wolf gas cooktop with an induction one.

I would like to have 2 gas burners in addition to the induction ones for when the electricity goes out, as it tends to do in this neighborhood, but if I have to chose between them I will take induction every time.

Thank you so much, Dave, for taking the time to write the article.

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barbhealy - Thanks for bumping this topic.

For years, I've gone back & forth between gas & electric. My personal choice was/is still for gas - EXCEPT that I got a high end, professional counter top induction burner a few years ago.

http://www.cooktek.com/product/cooking-front-house/cooktops/apogee%E2%84%A2-single-counter-top-cooktop

Notice that temp can be set on either a 1 -10 scale OR to a given temp. That's one of the things that sold me on this paticular one. And it's why I can Sous Vide without the expense everyoone talks about. I set the temp, then put the pot slightly off center to create the necessary circulation. Voila!

If I ever have the opportunity, I'd do a setup with a couple of gas burners, 3 or 4 regular induction, and an induction wok burner.

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