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jgarner53

jgarner53's Kitchen Remodel

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I am in the midst of my kitchen remodel - can people stand another thread on remodeling?

I started planning for this years ago, then had to stop because I had to find a job. Last spring we decided to take the plunge and redo the kitchen in our 1923 Mediterranean "bungalow" (I use the term loosely) in San Francisco. I meticulously researched, relying heavily on Jane Powell's book, Bungalow Kitchens, magazines, the internet, and my own ideas. I knew I wanted modern functionality (new stove, solid stone countertops), but I also wanted the kitchen to fit in with the rest of the house and evoke the era when the house was built. Twenty-three skiddoo! Can we do the Charleston and drink bathtub gin in the kitchen? Well then, let's begin!

First, the old kitchen:

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I designed the kitchen myself and hired a great contractor who'd recently completed a major addition for friends of ours. He, of all the people I interviewed seemed to "get" what I wanted and understood that the devil, indeed, would be in the details. :wub: No walls would be moving, just a relatively straightforward upgrade to electrical, new appliances, flooring and cabinets.

To avoid having an unfinished kitchen over the holidays, I opted to wait them out and begin in early January, figuring that the worst that we'd have to deal with would be rain. During the months leading up to the remodel, I made extra dishes: casseroles, soups, meatloaf -- foods that freeze and reheat well -- and froze them in individual servings so that we'd have several months' worth of food at hand and avoid the takeout trap. I packed up the old kitchen, cleaning out several boxes of stuff, and set up a temporary kitchen in the adjacent dining room (the fridge will go where the empty space on the wall is). We'll eat on paper plates with plastic utensils (working through our supply of plastic before switching over to compostables) to minimize dishes, but I have a stainless topped cart, cutting board, knife block, and most of the necessities for sandwiches, salads, and other non-cooking tasks.

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So January 8, we (that is, my GC and his assistant) started ripping the old kitchen apart at the seams. Intrigued, I watched them the whole day as, piece by piece, the original 1920's kitchen began to appear from under the later additions. Vertical grain douglas fir paneling was covered over, the original white subway tile blithely plastered over with newer (and uglier! :raz: ) square beige tile, the original doug fir floor covered by all manner of things (plywood subfloor, linoleum, vinyl, vinyl, most of which my husband and I had ripped out when we put in Pergo in '99 before moving in). The best part of seeing my kitchen demolished? Seeing the subway tile and the routed grooves in the old sink cabinet and knowing that I was doing exactly the same things in the new space. Had my kitchen been talking to me?

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In two days, they had the kitchen stripped down to the studs. Even the ceiling was gone. The line "...on the walls he left some hooks and some wire..." from the cartoon Grinch (heard in Boris Karloff's voice, of course :laugh: ) kept running through my head. The dust (a lot of it from the ancient cellulose insulation in the ceiling) was monumental. I ran out to Target and bought a Swiffer sweeper with both dry & wet cloths, and between them, my vacuum, and duster, I'm managing to keep it under control, but by no means would it pass a white glove test!

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The temporary kitchen was functioning just fine. Having a range of food in the freezer meant quite the variety at our fingertips! Lasagne one night, split pea soup the next, and follow that up with something else! We are doing dishes in the laundry sink in the garage. I keep a bus tub upstairs that we put dirty dishes in, transport down to the garage, and then back up again.

Then the unexpected happened. (stay tuned! I have to build up suspense somehow! :wink: )


"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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No! come back it was just getting good!

No I got it. You contractor showed up three days in a row? That's incredibly unexpected for a contractor. :laugh: No offense to any good contractors


Edited by K8memphis (log)

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I must say I respect your healthy attitude. We lived through a nightmare kitchen renovation in our apartment in a circa 1890 townhouse -- I don't know how long it actually took anymore but it seems like three years -- and by the third day we were hanging on to our sanity by a thread.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Jen, I am really looking forward to this. We have a 102 year old home in the North Bay with the most disgusting kitchen ever. It has 3 different sets of cabinetry, all of which I'm sure are salvage from the 70's and a lovely wood grain formica. Husband and I are always trying to come up with the perfect remodel (one day, when money allows). I think it's a real challenge to remodel respecting the age of one's home and honoring what might have been there originally without filling the kitchen with cheesy reproduction everything. I will anxiously await your next log.

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I have been sitting on the edge of my seat since I read this early this morning. (Couldn't sleep).

Breathlessly awaiting updates!!!


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I just renovated a 1915 bungalow and found Jane Powell's books a terrific resource and she often contributes to the chat rooms on the Old House Journal website. That's a handsome range in your old kitchen. O'Keefe & Merritt?

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That's a handsome range in your old kitchen. O'Keefe & Merritt?

Why, yes it is! Took me a fair amount of time to sell it, too. I wavered for a long time over keeping the old stove, buying a "new" refurbished range, or going new and high tech, super-powered. In the end, technology won out over style. My new range is a 6-burner, all gas DCS powerhouse with 4 17,500 BTUS burners and (I think :hmmm: ) 2 at 12,500. The oven is wide and deep enough to hold a full-sized sheet pan and offers convection. My old oven couldn't even hold a large pizza box, and barely fit a half-sheet pan -- the long way in! I'm thrilled to be getting this sexy new piece of equipment! I think a 1920's housewife would be green with envy! :raz:

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But now back to my narrative.

Many lucky people talk about what great finds they unearth as they remodel: old newspapers, beer cans, etc. all we found was this guy:

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And some scraps of newspaper under the linoleum's underlayment. The only legible scrap advertised a house in nearby Redwood City for $8950. Chances are, this ad dates from the late 40's when we figure the first major remodel happened. Perhaps a young couple bought the house after the war and wanted to update the old-fashioned kitchen. Ripped out the cooler cabinet (which had wire shelves inside and was vented to the outdoors to keep things like cheese, onions, and potatoes), put in "modern" cabinets and a new sink, a fancy new modern stove, spanking new linoleum, and maybe even ripped out the ironing board from its cupboard. Someday I want to look at the city's records to see when the house changed hands to see if my story holds any water. At any rate, the next change didn't happen until the late '70's when they refaced the cabinets, put in a (avocado!) dishwasher, painted, and laid down avocado "Spanish tile" vinyl flooring.

Anyway...

After two days of demolition, the walls were gone (down to the studs). The ceiling was gone, and you could see up to the roof. The walls in the adjacent stairwell were also coming down, which exposed us to the underbelly of the house (a 3-foot high crawlspace). At this point, I turned off the heat. There was no practical way to close off the kitchen from the rest of the house; it sits squarely in the middle of the house, and you have to go through it to get from the front section (living/dining room) to the back (bedrooms/bath/garage). And the mercury dropped. Record cold temperatures! (well, for the Bay Area, anyway) Those of you who live in chilly climates will probably snicker at my weak California blood, shivering in a 47-degree house, but I'll let you. It could have been worse. It could have been raining, too. The dinky space heater we have does an OK job in a small space like the bathroom, but isn't exactly great at heating the living room. I took to wearing my ski parka around the house almost all the time, those first couple of cold days.

In the meantime, while I shivered, and the cat stayed buried under the covers much of the time, they roughed in the plumbing. I opted for a wall-mounted faucet -- going as authentic as I can -- but otherwise the pipes weren't moving much. They moved the gas line so the stove can be on a different wall (the one to the right of where the old stove was), with a real hood above it for ventilation! (oh, these modern conveniences! :wub: )

The new fridge, a cabinet depth model with the fridge on top (Amana), and the hood (Vent-a-hood) arrived that first week, and I tossed a lot of stuff moving food from the old fridge to the new. What a joy a pristine fridge is!

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As luck would have it, a friend was in town for MacWorld Expo, so we ate out one night, and the next took my nephew to a Warriors basketball game (his Christmas present), thereby minimizing how much time we spent in the cold house. Still, it was damned uncomfortable there for a few days. That weekend, we took off for Southern California for a post-holiday holiday visit, and avoided the cold a little bit more. When we got home Tuesday evening, it had lightly rained (really need to cover up the old stove sitting in the driveway), and the house was 51F. I slept in my ski cap that night, and heated up two of my microwaveable heat packs to warm up the bed a bit before getting in. In a lot of ways, it felt like camping -- but with toilets, hot water, and electricity! :laugh:

The second week, the electrical work began. Instead of 5 total outlets (including the one under the sink for the garbage disposal and dishwasher), I now have 10 - count 'em, 10! - outlets on the counter, plus all the others for appliances and such. I will be hiding the microwave in an upper cabinet with a flip-up door, and there will be an outlet in the appliance garage, too, so the Cuis and coffee grinders can stay plugged in, but tucked away. It makes me giddy just to think of it! And because I'm a freak about this sort of thing, all the GFI outlets will be tucked out of sight (my circuit panel is too tightly packed to do dedicated GFI circuits unless we added a whole new subpanel). And because I'm even more of a freak, all the counter outlets will be laid horizontally, so that they line up with the subway tile. And because I'm a HUGE HUGE freak, they will line up with the second row of tile. :biggrin:

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At the end of the week, though, I got my best surprises: my cabinets, which were being built locally by a custom cabinet guy, were ready to look at, and my contractor and I templated the arches for the living room. In many of the houses on my block, there are arches from the entry into the living room, and between the living and dining room. In MY house, the openings were enlarged at some point; whether they were once arched is impossible to know. But putting them in will be a cool architectural detail, historically and locally appropriate. So we went to a neighbor's house and scribed a sheet of plywood along the span of the arches.

The cabinets are great: 3/4" maple plywood with flush inset doors, Shaker style doors. Full extension drawer glides (no more fishing in the back of the drawer!) and rollouts in the cabinets. It's not a big kitchen, just 110 sq.ft, 11'6" x 10'2", so every square inch counts. I have some open space for cookbooks, my nifty flip-up cabinet to hide the microwave, glass fronts on the dish cabinets, a dedicated tray cabinet, and a way bitchin' cool drawer hidden in the toe kick underneath the widest drawer bank. The fridge and dishwasher will be hidden with panels, too. Lazy susans in the corners make access there much easier as well. They will be painted a creamy, milky white. I've chosen hexagonal black glass knobs and drawer pulls, something you don't see in every design mag these days. I like the punch they'll provide; they'll tie in with the black in the tile as well.

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With the discovery of the original subway tile, I went on a hunt for even more historically accurate tile than what I'd already found. My beef with modern subway tile, or most modern tile in general, is that the edges are slightly beveled, so that the resulting surface isn't very smooth; there's a dip where you go into the grout joint. If you look at the original tile in my first post, you can see how closely it was set together - hardly any grout there at all, and perfectly flat. That's because the old tile had perfectly squared edges. I found some and ordered a sample from Subway Ceramics. It's more expensive, but it's really, really, really nice tile.

And here's where things begin to enter that "while we're spending loads and loads of money, what's a few hundred dollars more" problem area... :unsure: Do we stick with what's historically most accurate? Or go with the less expensive, "close enough" option? I still haven't made up my mind.

Next: the Byzantine workings of the SF Building Department!


"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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Jennifer, your design is fabulous. Can't wait to see more in progress.

Speaking freak to freak, if I may, I wonder: Did you consider (and reject) running your backsplash all the way up to the bottom of the cabs?


Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ● Twitter Instagram

 

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Did you consider (and reject) running your backsplash all the way up to the bottom of the cabs?

Yes, I did. (For the record, I also considered (and rejected) centering the sink between the windows - more uninterrupted counterspace this way) The reason I'm not running the backsplash all the way up to the upper cabinets is two-fold: 1) the line will be consistent all around the kitchen (the height is based on the distance from the window to the counter on the sink wall) and 2) I love the punch the black quarter-round will add and the peek of green between the bottom of the upper cabinets and the tile. :smile:

And because my cabinets will be at 38" - more comfortable for my tall husband and me (both over 6') - I measured and measured to make sure that the tile will fit this way (on the sink wall). It's a good thing my contractor is patient and as detail-oriented as I am. :biggrin:


"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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Your design is beautiful. I'm sure you're gonna love working in there. Since we're so short on storage space, we put in high upper cabinets as you've shown on your design. Have you found a step ladder that fits the period style?

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It's still early but so far this is my favorite kitchen reno post. That's mianly because your style is very much like ours....a bit of old and a bit of new where it matters.

Where did you come up with the subway tile layout? are the black pieces 1" width as they appear in your drawing? I always imagine a strip of same-size black tile and several strips of white but that may be me thinking of a bathroom in a house I rented.

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I'm enjoying this reno story very much.

MelissaH


MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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In our former house, I also found mummified "things," some cheap dime store novels, and a boatload of State Fair yardsticks nailed together used a "framing" materials. Oh, but the best find was an old (circa '50's?) newspaper clipping that showed the proposed interstate system.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Thank you for sharing this with us. How wonderful to have those two nicely paned windows on the one wall. No cabinets there, but I think I would trade to have so much sunlight in the kitchen.

Good luck deciding on the older tile!


"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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I'm very interested to see what you came up with in terms of compromise between historic and functional/modern. When we remodeled the kitchen in our 1908 cottage (a gut job, like yours), we at first thought we'd do something that at least invoked the period when the house was built, until we realized that a kitchen 100 years ago in a little cottage like ours would have sucked on SO many levels-there were really no redeeming features of kitchens then (even the fir floors we found underneath would have been covered with linoleum, which was all the rage then). So then the challenge became what kind of functional, nice kitchen could we have that fit in with the rest of the house, which has most of its original features. We're really happy with how things turned out and I can't wait to see yours. From the sketches it looks like it will be really nice!

When we took out the ceilings, we found the REAL ceiling above-it turns out the whole house has 10' ceilings and someone dropped them.


Edited by kiliki (log)

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Have you found a step ladder that fits the period style?

No, and I haven't really looked, either. There isn't any storage in the kitchen itself, so unless I do a tall stool with integrated step, I'll get a new (not paint and beer splattered!) folding step.

Where did you come up with the subway tile layout? are the black pieces 1" width as they appear in your drawing?

I think the inspiration came from Bungalow Kitchens, but when I was down in SoCal last summer, at a tile store in Riverside that I'd read about on the This Old House website, they showed all these coversof Old House Interior magazine with the precise tile layout (and color scheme) that I was doing! It was like looking at my finished kitchen (almost!) I wanted to do an arch above the stove like that homeowner did, but code won't allow it. The liner is 1/2x6, interspersed with 1/2x1/2 green "dots" cut from 1/2x6 green liner tile. And that store in Riverside was the only place I found that green color. They specialize in historic colors, and their field tile is one of my two possibilities, though it's only semi-gloss.

I think I would trade to have so much sunlight in the kitchen

Sadly, the kitchen faces north. No sunlight there! :sad: The window in the wall next to the stove was inspired by the ironing board niche, which was on the wall where the glass-fronted cabinets will be. We saved the framing and its size is the same as the old cabinet. Originally, there was a door on the (new) stove wall, right at the corner, prohibiting putting any cabinets along that one wall. We had a microwave cart (now my workspace in the temp kitchen) and blocked off the door with a metro rack (my "pantry"). The glass in the door allowed great eastern light in from the entry and bay windows in the living room, which is what inspired me to put a window there. It also breaks up what could otherwise be an oppressive, looming wall of cabinets.


"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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For the cat lovers:

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This is Piccolo. Piccolo isn't really so evil; he just loves the furnace vent and is generally pissed off that the house is cold and the heat isn't on.

The beginning of week 3 brought few changes and an introduction to the complexities of the SF Building department.

First, the fun! The contractor framed in my new arches. I photoshopped one completely in so you can see what it will look like.

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About all else that's been done and visible so far is the framing for the arched niche above the stove. The vent that comes out of the top of the hood will be surrounded by sheet rock and painted to match the walls, so it disappears a little better into the wall and the hood seems more to "float" on the wall. To the left of the arch, you can see the old vent stack. Inside the metal pipe is a 1-inch thick terracotta pipe! Above the ceiling line, they'll knock out the old and connect the new vent to the chimney that's already in the roof.

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At the beginning of the week, GC was hopeful that he could get the inspectors out, so things could proceed. Well, the most progress that had been made by the end of the week was that he dropped off a stack of sheetrock. We had hit a bit of a stalemate, sort of kind of my fault, but also kind of not.

In California, our electrical code now requires that 50% of the installed wattage in a kitchen be "high efficacy," which generally means fluorescent. I'd been all set to go with fluorescent lights under the cabinets when I found out about LED strip lights through one of my other fantastic sources, GardenWeb's Kitchen Forum. I'd just seen a Mythbusters episode where, in testing whether or not it is more efficient to leave the lights on or turn them off as you leave the room (it isn't), they tested the power usage of all kinds of bulbs, including LEDs, which turn out to use about 1/10th the amount of power as a fluorescent! So armed with this knowledge and figuring that LED lights would certainly qualify as "high efficacy" lighting, I sourced out some strip lights and ordered them. They require a 120V-12V converter, so the low voltage wiring (from the power adapter) should go into the wall before the walls are closed and before the electrical inspection happens. I ordered the lights on 1/24, and silly me! I thought they'd ship right away! They didn't ship until today! 2/1! :blink: So, coming Priority Mail from L.A., they should be here by Monday at the very latest, I hope, so we can get things moving again.

But that isn't the only fun part of the building department. GC works mostly in the counties to the south, and isn't familiar with the procedures for SF. He's used to pulling one permit for the building, electrical, and plumbing. But in SF, each of these requires a separate permit, pulled by the contractor doing the work. So the electrician had to go to City Hall (not in the same building as the Building Dept), get a business license for SF, then go to the Building Dept and file for a permit for the electrical work. And when it comes down to calling for inspections, GC can't simply call and have all three bases (framing, electrical, and plumbing) covered at once. GC can call for framing and plumbing (since he pulled the plumbing permit), but Electrician Dave has to call for the electrical inspection. And if that isn't complex enough, you can only call during certain hours of the day, and it's different for each department. :wacko: What makes me laugh even further is that once the sheetrock is up, the city has to come out again to inspect the screws (who's getting screwed here? :raz: ), and then again for the insulation. (While we were at it, we decided, why not improve our insulation and get rid of the nasty old cellulose and insulate under the floor?) It's a good thing he's dealing with the city and not me because I'd have been screaming at all this red tape.

So at this point (near the end of week 4), the plumbing inspection is set for Monday, and he's planning on setting up the electrical inspection for Tuesday, banking on having my undercab lights. I hope the US Postal Service doesn't fail me! :sad:

The funny thing with all this is that I'm OK with the delay. My cabinets are at the painter; we have plenty of food in the freezer, and because we're not dealing with kids or washing our china every day, it's not such a big deal, food-wise. During week 3, we ate moussaka, baked ziti, and split pea soup, I think, with pizza on Friday and burritos smuggled into the movie on Saturday. This week I used Husband's camp stove (used primarily for home-brewing) and heated up turkey stock I made from the Christmas turkey and boiled noodles in it for turkey noodle soup. Not too shabby, I'd say.

I was more or less prepared for the dust, and keeping on top of it makes sure that it isn't too bad. I will be happy not to have my vent hood in the living room and stuff like that, but even that isn't too bad. I do miss the heat, though. I wasn't prepared for the cold at all. But I've adapted, and we've got a box of duraflame logs (chimney needs cleaning, and a real fire would be too smoky) and the dinky space heater. Last night I had the living room up to 63F!

Next: what do we put on the floor? and a bit about kitchen sound systems (which reads like another installment of "While we're at it, why don't we....?")


"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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I have one of those "Copco" step stools in emerald green and white. I bought it in the 60s and it was really beat up. I took it to an auto paint shop and had it powder coated - the emerald to match the sinks and a stove I had then. Now it doesn't match anything but I like it. It originally had a padded seat that was really chewed up (actually chewed, by one of my great danes). I still have the seat base plate that can be bolted to the stool but haven't gotten around to it. (in 18 years!)

I saw one in Target and lifted it. The one I have is much heavier although it has the same lines and proportions.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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We continue to eat well, if elsewhere. Friday we went to Magnolia Brewpub in the heart of the Haight Ashbury. It's the beginning of Strong Beer month, a month dedicated to strong (over 8% ABV) beers sponsored by two leading brewpubs in San Francisco, Magnolia and 21st Amendment. Last year Husband fell short of earning his Strong Beer glass (for which one must drink at least one of each of the beers). The breweries tend to run out of some of the beer by mid-month because it's so popular, so he's made it his mission to get his goblet by the 15th. To that end, we met a couple of friends at Magnolia Friday evening, and Husband managed 3 strong beers, including one that had a nose that reminded me of Listerine. :unsure: I had one (no way I can manage that much strong beer, so I'm just along for the ride). We had a fine dinner, Creole Meatloaf Sandwich for Husband and Andouille Sausage Pizza for me. Then last night we ate down at another friend's house, who have just brought back their new (9-month old) daughter they adopted from Guatemala. Having no kitchen seems to get us lots of invitations from friends to come over for dinner! I guess they take pity on us.

Up this week for dinner is chicken enchilada casserole to start out, a favorite recipe that would actually be low-fat if you used diet cheese and non-fat sour cream, but since I don't consider either of those two to actually be food, it's somewhat healthy. :laugh:

Another week where not much happened. After promises of great things from GC at the beginning of the week, the complexities of the building department and the stubborn slowness of my undercabinet light order slowed things down to a crawl. GC did put up the drywall on one wall on the outside of the kitchen. Now I can see where my window is and the new view (of the front door, mainly). He also got the vent pipe squared away, hauling off two largish sections of the old terracotta pipe that lined the old chimney.

I need to make a final decision on my flooring. While originally, the kitchen had douglas fir floors, they are in no condition to be salvaged due to what looks like water damage and a bunch of other muck piled on them for 80 years. I considered getting salvaged 2-inch oak flooring that would match the floors in the rest of the house. It's plentiful; crazy people seem to rip it out of their houses all the time. :shock: It's relatively inexpensive, at least for the materials, but the cost of install, plus the maintenance of a wood floor in a kitchen made me decide that wasn't the way to go. I know that at some point (probably in that swingin' late 40's remodel) linoleum made its way into the kitchen, and that seems like the way to go. I like that it's a green product, unlike vinyl, easy to stand on, unlike tile, it comes in all kinds of crazy colors (I love MelissaH's Bleecker Street red "zipper" in her kitchen). I'm not quite that daring, but I did manage to get some largish samples home finally to help determine the color. I think that with only northern/indirect light in the kitchen, and already a dark (soapstone) counter planned, a dark floor, like I had before (dark cherry Pergo), would just bring the room down too much. Instead, I want a light, neutral (but not boring!) floor. So here are my samples.

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I'm pretty sure it's Butter going to win out, with a border strip of Coffee that will echo the feature strips inlaid in the floors in the living and dining rooms. The Butter comes off a little more neutral in person. But with Mayonnaise on the cabinets (and trim), butter and coffee on the floor seem perfect for a kitchen! :laugh: The color will transition well, I think, to the oak floors in the adjoining rooms.

The most exciting thing was getting my undercabinet lights yesterday afternoon! I wasn't able to find them anywhere to see in person, so it was a leap of blind faith (again, thanks to THS's GardenWeb Kitchens forum for the inspiration) to order sight unseen. Having these lights means that their wiring (power adapters to convert 120V to 12V) can go into the walls, we can get the electrical inspection, and then we're on our way! :cool: But these little LEDs are amazing! First off, they're teensy tiny! There isn't any housing, or casing, to speak of, the way you'd see in just about any other light. It's LEDs mounted to a strip. So the light strip is very slim, probably no more than 1/2-inch high. (That's a quarter on edge for comparison)

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And the lights themselves are itty bitty! On a six-inch strip, there are 12 LEDs. (Again, same quarter for comparison)

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I chose a soft white light that's going to be closer to incandescent light than "true" white or the white of most fluorescents. I've found that even "warm" fluorescents are somewhat orange. I know that incandescent light isn't a true white, but to my mind, that's neutral. It's what I'm used to. So I'm sticking with it. (Also a true color rendering would probably make the warm colors in the kitchen look ghastly!)

Just this little six-inch strip put out an amazing bit of light. Here I'm holding it maybe two feet off the floor (and the paper on the floor). There was no other light in the room at the time, and I didn't use a flash.

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Of course, I realized that when I was ordering, I goofed :wacko: and didn't order one 24-inch bar that I need. The website has a minimum order of two of the light strips, so I either have to buy two and sell one, or buy two 12-inch strips and daisy chain them, which is easy enough. They are very modular, but only come in 6, 12, and 24-inch lengths. Anyone want a 24-inch LED light strip? :rolleyes:

Lights aside, I wanted a way to listen to music in the kitchen while I worked. In the past, I'd just turn on the stereo in the living room (adjacent), crank up the volume, and work away to the radio or whatever. For his birthday, Husband got a speaker dock for our iPod Nano, and I used that some, too, plugging it in in the kitchen. But I want unobtrusive for the new kitchen, and that means a speaker in the ceiling. I've found one that has both left and right channels in one, so there will just be one. Friends of ours have in-ceiling speakers and you really don't notice them at all.

Of course, to go along with this, the really cool thing would be a multi-zone receiver so that I could listen to one thing in the kitchen while Husband watched a movie, or something else played in the living room. Wouldn't you know that my 17-year old receiver just happens to be starting to go on the fritz? :hmmm::laugh: No, really, it is. :rolleyes: So it's a great time to upgrade, sort of a preliminary step to replacing our tv with an HD model, etc. But we'll save buying the receiver until after the dust has settled. I'm sure that drywall and remodeling dust cannot be good for stereo components.

Adding to this lovely package, we've researched ways to connect the computer and our iTunes library to the stereo. Especially for parties, it's great to have playlists going instead of listening to the CD player shuffle through discs, or fumbling through changing CDs or whatever. We could use the iPod speakers, but that limits us to the 4GB size of the Nano. (too small, says Goldilocks) A Sonos whole house system is really bitchin' cool, but expensive and too much for our simple needs (too big). Really, if the stereo's on loud enough, you can hear it throughout the house. That kind of narrows it down to Apple's AirportExpress or the Slim Devices Squeezebox. The Squeezebox has advantages over the AirportExpress by giving you the ability to browse your iTunes library and playlists via the remote and the box itself. Apple makes you use your computer, and since we have a desktop machine, not a laptop, this felt clunky. So the Squeezebox wins out. Again, a purchase best held off until we're done (and the government pays us our tax refund. :unsure: )

Lastly, I'd initially thought, "We don't need new speakers. Our old (17-years) speakers are fine. What do we need a home theater system for?" But in another bout of "while we're at it"-itis, it seemed to make sense to ask GC to run speaker wire for us while the ceiling in the kitchen is wide open, and there's no insulation in the attic. Finding speakers without getting a home-theater-in-a-box is tricky. You either have to go à la carte and buy each speaker independently, which adds up quickly, or do a package. Personally, too, I find the idea of speaker stands and boxes scattered throughout my living room a bit less than subtle or attractive. Sure you might have great sound, but at what cost to your décor? :rolleyes: I have found these, though, which seem like they would be unobtrusive, or at least as unobtrusive as little spheres can be, and seem to have garnered a reputation for great sound in a small package. It's either that or ceiling speakers, I think. Opinions?


"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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you're going to be really happy with those LED lights. I used them for undercabinet lighting in the kitchen remodel I just did, and love them. And the best thing is that they throw off no heat at all, unlike halogen or even florescent.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I love kitchen remodels. My mother is redoing the kitchen cabinets this summer, butshe has such a small kitchen that it won't be as exciting. Maybe I can get her to redo the lights and get some LEDs in their, too!

Now, about that chicken enchilada casserole recipe.... :smile:

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Your design looks great!

I'm not personally a fan of tile anywhere but the floor (tile counter and backsplash are something of a pet peeve, in fact), but it's your kitchen so my preferences don't count. It will certainly will be beautiful when you're done.

My kitchen was designed by some architectural criminal genius back in the 1950's, and my only workspace is my table or a slide-out cutting board. Everything else is taken up with appliances, because I also don't have (nearly) enough storage. About half of my kitchen stuff is on shelves down in the basement. [/envy][/selfpity]


"The only questions that really matter are the ones you ask yourself."

Ursula K. Le Guin

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

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I'm pretty sure it's Butter going to win out, with a border strip of Coffee that will echo the feature strips inlaid in the floors in the living and dining rooms. The Butter comes off a little more neutral in person. But with Mayonnaise on the cabinets (and trim), butter and coffee on the floor seem perfect for a kitchen!  :laugh: The color will transition well, I think, to the oak floors in the adjoining rooms.

What does Barbados taste like? (Seriously, whoever came up with these names obviously had kitchen floors in mind.) And I love the sunny yellow Butter, especially since you have the same north-facing kitchen issues that we did.

The most exciting thing was getting my undercabinet lights yesterday afternoon! I wasn't able to find them anywhere to see in person, so it was a leap of blind faith (again, thanks to THS's GardenWeb Kitchens forum for the inspiration) to order sight unseen. Having these lights means that their wiring (power adapters to convert 120V to 12V) can go into the walls, we can get the electrical inspection, and then we're on our way!  :cool: But these little LEDs are amazing! First off, they're teensy tiny! There isn't any housing, or casing, to speak of, the way you'd see in just about any other light. It's LEDs mounted to a strip. So the light strip is very slim, probably no more than 1/2-inch high. (That's a quarter on edge for comparison)

I like the LED lights. Have you tried turning one on, and leaving it on for a couple of hours? I'm curious whether they heat up much.

Lights aside, I wanted a way to listen to music in the kitchen while I worked. In the past, I'd just turn on the stereo in the living room (adjacent), crank up the volume, and work away to the radio or whatever. For his birthday, Husband got a speaker dock for our iPod Nano, and I used that some, too, plugging it in in the kitchen. But I want unobtrusive for the new kitchen, and that means a speaker in the ceiling. I've found one that has both left and right channels in one, so there will just be one. Friends of ours have in-ceiling speakers and you really don't notice them at all.

We thought about going with ceiling speakers for both the kitchen and dining room, but because we were able to keep our drywall intact, it would have been a PITA to deal with. Translation: my husband would have had to spend even more time up in the attic. So with ceiling speakers ixnayed, we knew that we had to go with something self-contained. Ergo, the iPod with the hard drive big enough to hold the entire CD collection (and then some), and the iHome system for playback. (Hands down, the Bose sounded better, but we like our NPR station too much to forgo a radio in the kitchen.)

And after reading your tales of needing to kill the heat, I'm glad that (1) we did our reno in the summer, and (2) that you aren't trying to do this now where I live! We're having temperatures in the single digit F range, winds steady in the 25 mph range with gusts into the upper 50's, and lake effect snow galore. It's bad enough that the university cancelled classes today. Leo and Lyon send a shout-out to Piccolo, and wish they could share a spot in front of the woodstove with him.

MelissaH


MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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What does Barbados taste like?

[munch, munch, munch] A little sandy.... :raz::laugh:

I like the LED lights. Have you tried turning one on, and leaving it on for a couple of hours? I'm curious whether they heat up much.

While I haven't had them on for more than a few minutes, it's my understanding that they do not generate any heat (see Marlene's post). That's one of the reasons they use such a small amount of electricity. Here in energy-conscious NoCal, they were pushing LED Christmas lights a year or two ago, but the light on the "white" strands comes off way too cold and blue to me. The Nordstrom department store downtown had some this past holiday season, and I didn't like them at all. Looked like they'd been taken from Superman's arctic retreat. :laugh:

you aren't trying to do this now where I live! We're having temperatures in the single digit F range, winds steady in the 25 mph range with gusts into the upper 50's, and lake effect snow galore... Leo and Lyon send a shout-out to Piccolo, and wish they could share a spot in front of the woodstove with him.

Word to that! If we lived someplace truly cold, we wouldn't be doing this now. But I didn't want to start before the holidays and then get stuck without a kitchen (I do candies for Christmas gifts, not to mention other holiday baking and we were on our own for Christmas this year), and I was too impatient to wait until the spring. I also thought that an inside job in January would be an easy thing to book with a contractor.

I'm not sure how well Piccolo would get along with Leo and Lyon - he's a miniature ring-tailed tiger, you know - tigers and lions (and bears, oh my!) :unsure::wink::raz: But since our beloved other cat left us at the end of 2005, we are planning to get Piccolo a couple of kittens after this whole mess is over.

Pic is a whore (can I say that about a male cat? :unsure: ) for the sun. While this was taken in the summer, it speaks volumes.

gallery_17645_4180_294767.jpg

My kitchen was designed by some architectural criminal genius back in the 1950's, and my only workspace is my table or a slide-out cutting board. Everything else is taken up with appliances, because I also don't have (nearly) enough storage. About half of my kitchen stuff is on shelves down in the basement.

I hear you and feel your pain. Sounds like my first apartment where I had exactly two feet of counterspace.

Husband and I are planning to put a time capsule in the walls before the drywall goes up. I guess we need to get busy. We plan to put in: a picture of us in the demolished kitchen (note to self: take picture), a note to the future, a front section of the day's newspaper - what else? price list for milk, butter, eggs, and bread?


"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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    • By boilsover
      I. Introduction
       
      This article reviews the 3500W all-metal commercial induction single-hob hotplate by Panasonic, which I believe is the first “all-metal” unit to hit the U.S. market. Where appropriate, it is also compared with another commercial single-hob, the 1800W Vollrath Mirage Pro Model 59500P.
       
      Some background is in order. Heretofore, induction appliances would only “work” with cookware which is ferromagnetic. Bare and enameled cast iron, carbon steel, enameled steel and some stainless steels were semi-dependable for choices, and the cookware industry has worked hard to make most of its lines induction compatible. But alas, not all cookware, past and present, has worked; copper and aluminum don’t, at least without a separate interface disk or it’s own ferromagnetic base layer.
       
      The reason why non-ferromagnetic cookware hasn’t worked on induction is technical, but it relates to the magnetic field and what’s called the “skin depth” of the pan’s outermost material. With copper or aluminum, the field will not excite the metals’ molecules to the extent that their friction will generate useful heat to cook food. And the way the appliances come equipped, unless the appliance detects something sufficiently large and ferromagnetic, they will not produce any field at all. Therefore, to the consternation of many cooks, pro and amateur, older (and in the opinion of some, better) cookware needs to be retired and replaced if/when they wish to switch to an induction appliance. Some cooks don’t mind, but others who, like me, have invested heavily in copper and are habituated to it and aluminum, would forego induction altogether rather than discard our cookware.
       
      But what we’ve really meant—all along--when we say or write that only ferromagnetic cookware will “work” on induction is that the frequency chosen for our appliances (20-24kHz) will not usefully excite other metals. If that frequency is increased to, say, 90-110kHz , then suddenly the impossible happens: aluminum and copper, with absolutely no ferromagnetic content, will heat in a way that is eminently useful in the kitchen.
      While Panasonic has made dual-frequency induction hotplates available in Japan for several years now, they didn’t make it available here until recently (My unit indicates it was manufactured in early 2016!). I speculate the reason for the delay relates to the detection circuitry and the switches that determine the frequency at which the field will operate.

      The introduction of all-metal induction in USA is especially interesting because it allows a direct comparison of cookware of all (metal) types. For instance, cookware nerds have long debated how copper cookware on a gas compares with disk-based stainless on induction. While the veil has not completely lifted (for that we would need extremely precise gas energy metering), we now have the ability to measure and compare copper, aluminum, clad and disk-based on the same induction hob.
       
      II. Dimensions, Weight & Clearances
       
      The Panasonic, being a true commercial appliance, is considerably larger than most consumer and crossover hotplates. It stands 6 inches tall overall, and on relatively tall (1.25”) feet, so that there is space for ample air circulation under the unit. It is 20.25 inches deep overall, including a standoff ventilation panel in back, and the angled control panel in front. It is 15” wide, and weighs in at a hefty 30.25 pounds. Suffice it to say, the Panasonic is not practically portable.

      The KY-MK3500’s Ceran pan surface is 14.25 inches wide by 14.5 inches deep, almost 43% larger in area than the VMP’s glass. Panasonic tells me they have no recommended maximum pan diameter or weight, but the tape tells me that a 15” diameter pan would not overhang the unit’s top (Compare the VMP, which can accept a maximum pan base of 10 7/8”). Common sense tells me that—unless the glass is well-braced underneath in many places, 25-30 pounds of total weight might be pushing it.
       
      For those who might consider outfitting their home kitchens with one or more of these units, in addition to having 20 amp 240v (NEMA #6-20R receptacles) electrical circuits for each appliance, 39 1/2 inches of overhead clearance is required to combustible material (31 ½” to incombustibles) and 2 inches to the back and sides (0” to incombustibles). The overhead clearance requirement and the tall 6” unit height call for no (or only very high) cabinetry and careful design of a “well” or lower countertop/table that will lower the Ceran surface to a comfortable cooking height. In other words, a tall pot on this unit on a regular-height counter might be a problem for a lot of cooks.
      III. Features

      A. Display
       
      The KY-Mk3500 has an angled 8-key spillproof keypad and red LED numerical display. The keys are large, raised and their markings are legible. All but the four Up/Down keys have their own inset indicator lights, which indicate power, mode and memory operation.
       
      The numerical display is large and bright. The numerical display area is divided between time (XX:XX) to the user’s left and power/temp to the user’s right. If the timer or program features are activated, the numerical display shows both the set time and the power/temperature. There is also a small “Hot Surface” LED icon on the panel.
      The Panasonic also actually uses the Ceran surface as a display of sorts. That is, there is a lighted circle just outside the faint positioning circle, which glows red whenever the unit is operating, awaiting a pan, or the Ceran is hot. Panasonic also claims that this display also changes brightness with the set power level, implying that the operator can judge the heat setting by a glance. Thus this display serves three purposes: (a) pan positioning; (b) burn safety; and (c) intensity.

      B. Safety Features
       
      As one would expect, there are a variety of safety features built into this appliance. In most cases, these features are controlled by detection circuits, some fixed, some defeatable/variable. This being a commercial unit, Panasonic has set the unit’s defaults with commercial users’ convenience in mind. If consumers want the full spectrum of safety settings, they need to vary these defaults. For instance, if a home cook wants to make sure the unit powers off if the pan is removed and not replaced within 3 minutes, they have to manually vary a default. Likewise if the operator wants the power to automatically shut off after 2 hours of no changes. But others, like the basic “Is there a pan there?” detection and overheat shutoff, are there no matter what and cannot be defeated.
      C. Settings & Programming

      The KY-MK3500 features both power and temperature settings. For “regular” induction, there are 20 power settings, which range from 50 watts to 3500 watts. For non-ferromagnetic pans, there are 18 power settings, which range from 60 watts to 2400 watts. The display shows these settings in numerals 1-20 and 1-18 respectively. When the power is toggled on, the unit defaults to Setting 14 in both frequencies.

      The temperature settings are the same in both modes, with 22 selectable temperatures from 285F (140C) to 500F (260C). Other than for the very lowest temperature setting, each setting increase results in a 10F temperature increase. Usefully, the display shows the set temperature, not 1-22; and until the set temperature is reached, the display indicates “Preheat”. The unit beeps when it reaches the set temperature. The Panasonic measures pan temperature using an IR sensor beneath the glass; this sensor sits about 1 inch outside the centerpoint of the painted positioning markings, yet inside of the induction coil.

      The timer operation is fast and intuitive. Once the power or temperature is set and operating, the operator merely keys the timer’s dedicated up/down buttons, and the timer display area activates. Timer settings are in any 30-second interval between 30 seconds and 9 ½ hours, and the display will show remaining time. The beeps at the end of cooking are loud.
       
      There are nine available memory programs, which can be set for either power or temperature, along with time. Programming entails pressing and holding the Program mode button, selecting the program (1-9), then picking and setting the power or temperature, then setting the timer, and finally pressing and holding the Program button again. After that, to use any of the entered programs, you simply press the Program button, select which program, and the unit will run that program within 3 seconds.
       
      In addition to Heat-Time programmability, the KY-MK3500 also provides the ability to vary 9 of the unit’s default settings: (1) Decreasing the power level granularity from 20 to 10; (2) Changing the temperature display to Celsius; (3) Enabling a long cook time shutoff safety feature; (4) Enabling the main power auto shutoff feature; (5) Disabling the glowing circle; (6) Lowering or disabling the auditory beep signals’ volume; (7) Customizing the timer finish beep; (8) Customizing the Preheat notification beep; and (9) Customizing the interval for filter cleanings.
       
      D. Maintenance
       
      The KY-MK3500 has a plastic air intake filter which can be removed and cleaned. This is not dishwashable. This filter is merely a plastic grate with ¼” square holes, so it is questionable what exactly —besides greasy dust bunnies—will be filtered. Panasonic recommends the filter be cleaned once a week. Besides that, the Ceran surface and stainless housing clean just like other appliances.
       
      IV. Acceptable Cookware
       
      Panasonic claims the unit will accept cast iron, enameled iron, stainless steel, copper, and aluminum with two provisos. First, very thin aluminum and copper may “move” on the appliance. And second, thin aluminum pans may “deform”. Panasonic does not address carbon steel pans, but I verified that they do indeed work. They also warn of the obvious fact that glass and ceramics will not work.
       
      Buyers are also warned against using cookware of specific cookware bottom shapes: round, footed, thin, and domed. Trying to use these, Panasonic warns, may disable safety features and reduce or eliminate pan heating.
       
      As far as minimum pan diameter goes, Panasonic claims the KY-MK3500 needs 5” diameter in ferromagnetic pans, and 6” in copper or aluminum ones. My own tests have shown that in fact the unit will function with a cast iron fondue pot, the base of which is only 4 1/8” in diameter, and also works with a copper saucepan, the base of which is almost exactly 5” in diameter. Obviously, the field will be most active at the very edges of such small pans, but they do function.
       
      V. Evaluation in Use

      I can say that not only does the Panasonic KY-MK3500 “work” with copper and aluminum pans, but that it works very well with them. Thermally, thick gauge conductive material pans perform in close emulation of the same pans on gas, even though there are no combustion gasses flowing up and around the pan. I found this startling.
       
      Nevertheless, a searching comparison between copper and ferromagnetic pans on this unit isn’t as straightforward as one might expect. The Panasonic is capable of dumping a full 3500 watts into ferromagnetic pans, but is limited to 2400 watts for aluminum and copper. Despite copper’s and aluminum’s superiorities in conductivity, that extra 1100 watts is going to win every speed-boil race.
       
      I initially thought I could handicap such a race simply by using the temperature setting and comparing the times required to achieve a “preheat” in a pans of cold water. Alas, no—the Panasonic’s IR function signified the copper pan was preheated to 350F before the water even reached 70F! Obviously, the entire thermal system of cold food in a cold pan needs to come to equilibrium before the Panasonic’s temperature readout becomes meaningful.

      A. Temperature Settings
       
      Unfortunately, with every pan I tried, the temperature settings were wildly inaccurate for measuring the temperature of the food. I heated 2 liters of peanut oil in a variety of pots, disk-base, enameled cast iron enameled steel, and copper. I thought it might be useful to see how close to 350F and 375F the settings were for deep frying. The oil in a Le Creuset 5.5Q Dutch oven set to 350F never made it past 285F, and it took 40:00 to get there. I kept bumping up the setting until I found that the setting for 420F will hold the oil at 346F. A disk-based pot didn’t hit 365F until the temperature setting was boosted to 400F. The only pan which came remotely close to being true to the settings was a 2mm silvered copper oven, which heated its oil to 327F when the Panasonic was set for 350F, and 380F when set for 410F.
       
      The temperature function was a lot closer to true when simply preheating an empty pan. With a setting of 350F, all the shiny stainless pans heated to just a few degrees higher (about 353-357F) and held there. This is useful for judging the Leidenfrost Point (which is the heat at which you can oil your SS and have it cook relatively nonstick) and potentially for “seasoning” carbon steel, SS and aluminum, but not much else, since it doesn’t translate to actual food temperature. There’s also the issue of the temperature settings *starting* at 285F, so holding a lower temperature for, e.g., tempering chocolate or a sous vide bath, or even a simmer would be by-guess-by-golly just like any other hob—your only resort is lots of experience with lower *power* settings.
       
      With heat-tarnished copper, a 350F setting resulted in a wide swinging between 353F and 365F, which I attribute to the copper shedding heat far faster than the other constructions, once the circuit stops the power at temperature. Then, when the circuit cycles the power back on, the copper is so responsive that it quickly overshoots the setting. Aluminum, on the other hand, *undershot*, the 350F setting, registering a cycle of 332-340F.

      I conclude that the IR sensor is set for some particular emissivity, probably for that of stainless steel. If true, the Panasonic, even though it automatically switches frequencies, does not compensate for the different emissivities of copper and aluminum. And even if Panasonic added dedicated aluminum and copper IR sensors, there is enough difference between dirty and polished that the added cost would be wasted. Bottom line here: the temperature setting mode is of extremely low utility, and should not be trusted.
       
      B. Power Mode – Pan Material Comparisons
       
      Given the differences in power setting granularity and maximum power between the two frequencies, it is difficult to assess what X watts into the pot means in, say, a copper-versus-clad or –disk showdown. What is clear, however, is that Setting X under disk and clad seems “hotter” than the same setting under copper and aluminum.

      I will need to precisely calibrate the Panasonic for wattage anyway for the hyperconductivity project, so I will obtain a higher-powered watt meter to determine the wattage of every power setting for both frequencies. Until then, however, the only way I can fairly handicap a race is to apply a reduction figure to the ferromagnetic setting (2400W being 69% of 3500W). Given that we know the wattage at the maximum settings, we can infer that Setting 14 (actually 13.8) on the 20-step ferromagnetic range iis approximately the same heat output as the maximum setting (18) for copper/aluminum.

      The boil times for 4 liters of 50F water in 10” diameter pots shocked me. The 10” x 3mm tinned copper pot’s water reached 211F in 36:41. Not an especially fast time at 2400 watts. The 10” disk-based pressure cooker bottom? Well, it didn’t make it—it took an hour to get to 208F and then hung there. So that left me wondering if the Panasonic engineers simply decided that 2400 watts was enough for copper and aluminum. I have a theory why the copper pot boiled and the SS one didn’t under the same power, but getting into that’s for another time.

      C. Evenness Comparisons
       
      The wires which generate the induction field are wound in a circular pattern; when energized, they create a torus-shaped magnetic field. The wound coil is constructed with an empty hole at its center. As matters of physics, the magnetic field’s intensity drops off extremely fast as a function of the distance from the coil; a few millimeters above the Ceran, the field is so weak no meaningful heat will be generated. This means that most induction cooktops heat *only* the very bottom of pans, and in a distinct 2-dimensional “doughnut” shape.

      All of the above can result in a pan having a cooler central spot, a hotter ring directly over the coil, and a cooler periphery outside the coil. It is left to the cookware to try to even out these thermal discontinuities when cooking. Some materials and pan constructions are better at this than others: the successful constructions utilize more highly-conductive metals such as aluminum and copper, but unless the material is very thick, there can be a ring-shaped hotspot that can scorch food.
      Until the Panasonic arrived to market, hotspot comparisons between ferromagnetic and aluminum/copper pans depended largely on comparing induction’s flat, more discrete heat ring with gas’s more diffuse, 3-dimensional one. Dodgeball-style debate ensued, with few clear conclusions. But now, for the first time, equally-powered flat heat rings in two different frequencies allow us to directly compare evenness in ferromagnetic and aluminum/copper cookware.

      The simplest and easiest way to assess cookware evenness is the “scorchprint”, which does not require infrared or other advanced thermal imaging equipment. I’ve posted on how to conduct scorchprinting elsewhere, but basically a pan is evenly dusted with flour; heat is applied to the pan bottom. As the flour is toasted, any hotspots visually emerge, giving the viewer a useful general idea of evenness.
       
      I will later post the photos of scorchprints I made of 4 different pans run using the Panasonic KY-MK3500: (1) a Demeyere 28cm Proline 5* clad frypan; (2) a Fissler Original Profi disk-base 28cm frypan; a 6mm aluminum omelet pan; and (4) a 32cm x 3.2mm Dehillerin sauté. To make it a fair race, I heated all the pans at 2400W until they reached 450F, and then backed off the power setting to maintain 450F. I did this in order not to compromise my saute’s tin lining. As you will see, both the clad Demeyere and the disk-based Fissler did print the typical brown doughnut, with a cooler center and periphery. By far the most even was the thick, all-aluminum pan, which actually was even over its entirety—even including the walls. The copper sauté was also quite even, although its larger size and mass really dissipated heat; once 450F was dialed in, no more browning happened, even after 30 minutes.
       
      I conclude that the straightgauge pans were far more effective at shunting heat to their peripheries and walls (and also to some extent into the air) than the clad and disk-based pans. The latter accumulated their heat with most of it staying in the center of the pans. Eventually, even the “doughnut hole” blended into the scorch ring because the walls were not bleeding sufficient heat away from the floor. This was especially pronounced in the Fissler, the high wall and rim areas of which never exceeded 125F. The aluminum pan, in contrast varied less than 30F everywhere on the pan.

      D. Other Considerations

      The Panasonic’s fan noise at the cook’s position was noticeable at 63 dBA, higher than with the VMP’s 57 dBA. These levels are characterized as “normal conversation” and “quiet street”, respectively. Interestingly, I found two other, potentially more important differences. First, the Panasonic’s fan stays on, even after the unit is powered off, whereas the VMP’s fan shuts off immediately when the hob is turned off. Second, the Panasonic’s fan steps down from the louder speed to a much quieter (47 dBA, characterized as “quiet home”) level until the Ceran is cool to sustained touch, at which point it shuts off completely. I think the Panasonic’s ability to continue to vent and cool itself is a great feature, especially since a cook could leave a large, full, hot pan on the glass.

      The glowing circle is useless for gauging heat setting or intensity. And while it works to indicate a hot surface, it remains lit long after you can hold your hand in place dead center.
       
      VI. Summary and Lessons
       
      The Panasonic KY-MK3500 is a solid unit, well-conceived and rugged. It is extremely easy to use. It works well with both the common 24kHz frequency used with ferromagnetic cookware, and the 90kHz frequency chosen here for copper and aluminum. It effectively and automatically switches between the two.

      In my opinion, it points the way to expanding the worldwide induction appliance market to include dual frequencies. It also obviates the need to: (a) junk otherwise excellent cookware merely to have induction; and (b) retrofit designs to bond on ferromagnetic outer layers. In fact, in my opinion, my tests indicate that, in a dual-frequency world, adding ferromagnetic bottoms may well be a drag on pans’ performance.
       
      I also consider the Panasonic Met-All to be ground-breaking in what it can tell us about *pans*, because all metallic pans are now commensurable on induction. Clearly (to me anyway), watt-for-watt, the copper and aluminum pans performed better than did the clad and disk-based pans on this unit. Boil times were faster, there was less propensity to scorch, and the conductive-sidewall pans definitely added more heat to the pans’ contents. We may ultimately find that 90kHz fields save energy compared to 24kHz fields, much as copper and aluminum require less heat on gas and electric coil.
      In terms of heat transfer, the copper and aluminum pans came close to emulating the same pans on gas. And at 2400W/3500W it has the power of a full size appliance in a relatively small tabletop package.
       
      The Panasonic is far from perfect, however. It can’t really be considered portable. There are far too few temperature settings, and what few it has are not accurate or consistent in terms of judging pan contents and attaining the same temperature in different pans (and even the same pan unless clean). The luminous ring could easily have been made a useful indicator of intensity, but wasn’t. And it lacks things that should be obvious, including a through-the-glass “button” contact thermocouple, more power granularity, an analog-style control knob, and capacity to accept an external thermocouple probe for PID control.
       
      Most importantly for me, the Panasonic KY-MK3500 portends more good things to come. Retail price remains $1,700-$2,400, but I jumped on it at $611, and I’ve seen it elsewhere for as low as $1,200.
       
      The manual can be found here: ftp://ftp.panasonic.com/commercialfoo...
       
      Photo Credit:  Panasonic Corporation

    • By haresfur
      We have started into fixing the kitchen after starting planning several years ago - almost as long as the dishwasher has been dead and the oven barely functional. And don't get me started on the non-exhaust fan.
       
      Before the destruction but after removing all the crap:
       

       
       
       

       
      The fridge was replaced not too long ago and is staying where it is. We had to have its alcove expanded. Perhaps not the best ergonomic location but it fits. We aren't moving the other appliances or sink very far so are hoping the plumbing and electric are no big deal.
       
      End of first day. We caught a couple of things in time. The fume hood and cupboards over the cook-top were set too low. They were going to set the sink as an over-mount when we had bought and under-mount. Apparently it could be done either way but silly us for not making it clear that the sink described as an undermount should be under the counter top. We decide the cupboard to the right of the oven should open the other way so we can get in there when cooking. Our mistake but I hope we can keep the oil, salt, pepper, etc. there rather than cluttering up the counter. The cabinet guy insisted that the cook-top couldn't be centred over the oven. I still don't understand why but not a big deal. It will be easier to get around the island when someone else is cooking but harder to squeeze past into the pantry.
       
      It seems to me that the walls should have been re-done before the cabinets went up. I think this was easier on the cabinet guy who is doing most of the coordination but probably will be a pain for the plasterer. And we have some trim issues to work out.
       

       

       

       
      Day 2 fixing things, electrical work, and measuring for the countertops. Now we wait for them to be finished before much else can happen.
       

       
      Spock is not impressed.
       
       
    • By &roid
      We’ve lived in our house for about twelve years and did a small extension not long after we moved in. With our growing family (son number two arrived this July) we wanted to get a bit more living space so started looking at options about a year ago. We have a late Victorian house with a separate dining room, as nice as this is it’s been a big waste of space - we probably used it two or three times a year. So the plan was to extend the kitchen to add a decent sized dining area and free up the dining room for something better. 
       
      The kitchen we had is under ten years old so we’ve decided to keep some parts of it, adding new worktops, a large rangetop and a breakfast cabinet with pocket doors to hide away the toaster and coffee machine. 
       
      We’re about halfway through the build at the moment so thought I’d post up some pictures of our progress. Hopefully we’ll be finished this side of Christmas... hopefully!
    • By chocoera
      Hi guys!  So...as we all know hindsight is 20/20....so i'm sure we ALLLLLLLLLLLL  have things we'd do differently if setting up our home or professional workplaces.  I'm working with a space that's approximately 850 sq ft.  If you could create your ideal space, what would you do?  The kicker is, i'm a mixed media kitchen, i dont do straight chocolate work.  I do baking so i'll have a double vertical convection oven, i'm getting rid of my 6 burner range and switching to table top induction burners. I have a dishwasher and big sink for rinsing vs 3 compartment sink (hand sink of course) and mop sink....and i have multiple 7 ft and 8 ft stainless tables. I currently have a "cooling room" set up with 4 speed racks, but thought maybe i should switch to a fridge turned up to 40 or 50F? I freeze things for bulk production, so will still have some chest freezers set higher than normal....but yeah. i'm just at a loss of how to capitalize on space, and keep things organized and storage of bon bons, turtles, barks, chocolate caramel apples (things that need to be stored for packaging by employees before they hit the retail floor)  i know jin from vegas had a fridge set at 50F for cooling molds once sprayed and shelled, then once she filled them, moved to a 40F fridge to set filling, then she sealed them...but i didn't remember where she kept bon bons for her bar (where customers pick and choose) or the ones out ready to be boxed?  i know she and jean marie were freezing for bulk orders etc...but yeah.  my mind is just overwhelmed with possibilities, and i just dont want to mess up this new kitchen layout. i think its harder because i make so many things in my kitchen, so i have pots, pans, sheet pans, springforms, cookie cutters, muffin tins, kitchen aid mixers, a floor mixer,  mol d'arts, baking liners, molds, colors, EZ temper, brushes, kitchen utensils, transfer sheets, bulk chocolate and ingredients blah blah blah.   so. if you guys could make an ideal workflow....would you do a walk-in fridge for confection storage? a few fridges set higher (but would humidity be an issue if stored for multiple days before packaging), build another cooling room (it was a room with drywall/insulation/a door/speedracks and portable AC set to keep that room cooler...), or yeah.  thoughts?  oh yeah. and  i need to fit an enrober in there too.  sooooo, ideal workspace. what's in it?  and go!  :0)
    • By weinoo
      I've started a few topics about various renovation related subjects (here and here), but figured I'd put the overall project in its own. Pix often tell the story even better...
       
      It helps to have these. Well, you need to have these if you expect to get anything done in your coop.
       

       
      Then stuff can start...
       

       

       

       
      And then start getting rebuilt.
       

       

       
      A little better electrical system.
       

       

       
      New pipes have to be done in the walls.
       

       

       

       

       
      This Started on September 8th. They've had approximately 25 days on which work was done.
       
      Proceeding along nicely, I'd say.
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