Tuesday, October 19, 2021

home on the range

We have a new range/stove/oven. Our old one, which had been getting weird and cranky for some time, spectacularly expired a week ago when I turned the oven on and the heating element sparked and then physically fell apart, with a clunk.

The local appliance store where I bought our washer and dryer has gone out of business, but left behind a web site urging its customers to patronize other local independent stores, which it named, and stay away from the big box stores. I went to the independent I would have visited anyway the first time if it hadn't been closed on Monday, which was the day I'd been doing my shopping. All their units were over $2000.

This seemed improbable. Consumer Reports lists most of its recommended electric units at under $1000 and says that extra money doesn't get you extra quality. I defected and went to a big box store, Best Buy. (Although I found gas cooking preferable when I had it, years ago, I'm not buying a new gas stove at this stage of the environmental game. Not to mention that my house probably has no gas line to the kitchen.)

First step was to limit my search to the brand that Consumer Reports found generally most reliable, Samsung. Then to sort through the models listed on the web site. The way it works in this field, every minor variant in features is a different model, so they proliferate. A model with fingerprint-resistant coating is $100 more than otherwise exactly the same model without it. Then to see which ones they had in stock.

A visit to the local store, to perform a reality check by examining these treasures in person, provided also employees who were eager to be friendly and helpful, if not always well informed. Because it best suited our purposes of those that were in stock, we wound up with this one. It differs most dramatically from the old in the heating elements all being hidden underneath a featureless glass surface, which is true of most of the electric stoves these days.

Delivery, installation, and bringing out of the dead were performed by a different entity but arranged for and paid through Best Buy. That happened today, and this evening I made my first attempt to use the thing. I made the simplest dinner in my repertoire, heating up a Bertolli's frozen pasta entree with some extra chicken and veggies thrown in.

At first it didn't work. Ten minutes is enough to heat this meal up, but this time nothing happened. Had the designers of the heating elements forgotten that a layer of glass would come between the heating and the pan? I eventually concluded I'd been using too small a burner, although the manual warns you strongly against using a burner larger than the pan's contact area. But I picked a larger burner and it came out OK.

I think my next step is to try boiling a lot of pans of water under different circumstances and seeing what happens. But not tomorrow, as I have an all-day Occupation to be Named Later.

We also tried running the oven, and learned that when it turns off after the amount of time you set it for, the machine plays electronically a little song. This seems to be a Samsung thing. Our washer from the same mfr plays a verse of Schubert's "Die Forelle." This one I didn't recognize, but it wasn't "Home on the Range": they missed a bet there.

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