Local Heart, Global Soul

June 28, 2013

My 18 Year Old is Finally Leaving Home, (And We Aren’t Talking About Kids…!!!)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You can tell I’ve had food on my mind in recent weeks…  not just in my cooking lessons mind you, also in my own kitchen. Here’s why…

My oven is 18 years old.

As is typical in the Netherlands we recieved money from various friends and family as wedding presents and since we had saved to pay for our own small, tightly budgeted wedding,  had just bought a house together and were broke and almost furnitureless, we bought a small freezer, oven and some large bookshelves with the contents of the gift envelopes we received.

Both the freezer and the oven are still functioning… (the freezer is fine) but knowing the tend of today’s planned obsolescence in appliances I know it can’t last forever.

When we bought this oven we opted for what we could stretch to with the funds we had, therefore we got  the most basic and cheapest model on the market at the time and I settled for a smaller oven than I really dreamed about having.  I only realised how small it really was when I started using it, and also when I bought some standard baking trays for biscuits (cookies) back from a trip to the USA and when I put them into my oven they mocked me by sticking out way past the door which could never close on them, rendering them useless.

Any Foodie will know that using a 60 centimeter (23.5 inch) oven, that allows only two dishes in it at a time with no fan assist, baking only one tray of biscuits (cookies) at a time in the centre of the oven makes for considerable extra time needed and additional  frustration, also especially when trying to cook in bulk for special events, for school fundraisers and for relaxed dinner parties.

It sat in the kitchen next to a gas heater that we used in winter but isn’t needed any more now that we have a new heating system installed.

My oven in recent years appears to have some erratic moments concerning temperature control every now and again and takes forever to get to temperature for baking. Ever since it passed it’s 15th year I had been hoping and expecting that it would soon be giving up the ghost but the little oven simply refuses to die, and three years on the frustration of trying to juggle cooking and heating hot dishes has been driving me to distraction.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

On special family days like St. Nicolas it’s great to have the family round for buffet dinner but it’s not been so great only being able to fit  two dishes in the oven at one time, with one being directly under the top element getting burnt on the top and the other on the floor of the oven getting it’s butt singed.

We spent a lot of money rewiring the electrics, installing a heating system from scratch and general renovation costs in the last 18 months and wanting the savings account we started for “house stuff” to recover, I bit the bullet and shelved the idea of a new oven for the last 18 months.

Then a few months ago whilst at home on annual leave, I did some baking and bulk cooking and again the frustration of  only being able to use the centre of the oven to get things cooked properly rose up again.  This time as much as I hate to throw out anything that still functions, I decided that my old oven had to go. We aren’t going to just let it be condemned to the compactor though, we will give it away to someone who needs an oven, making it clear that it’s still operating but a little less than at 100% and for as long as it lasts. If it’s a freebie I think that should be an acceptable trade-off.

old oven 1o (Small)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s government policy here in the Netherlands that the cost of disposing of white goods and furniture are incorporated into the cost of the new appliance/goods and so we paid it when we bought the oven.

When our old oven eventually dies, disposal for the new owner is as simple as making an appointment with the city council,  setting the oven on the street  on the appointed day to be collected and compacted.

Since here is no cost at the end of the life of your goods and no mess, this is a policy I’d love to see implemented in more countries.

Then came the magic moment I’d been waiting for all these years: delivery of a new 90 cm electric oven (35.5 inches), that’s fan assisted as well as convection, has  six gas pits on top and can take four deep casserole dishes or four trays of biscuits in one go… bliss!!! One of the  six gas pits is three times stronger than the usual flame and is especially for wok cooking… (next purchase will be a proper wok, as I love stir fries and they are starting to feature heavily in my healthy eating regime).

We had a 92 cm space in our tiny Dutch kitchen but by removing the gas heater we can just squeeze in the new oven next to the gas tap… perfect!

All I need to do now is to get to know and tame this beast of an appliance in my kitchen… I’ve never cooked with a fan oven possibility before so oven times for my old recipes will have to be mastered and adjusted but … hey this is going to finally be a pleasure instead of a frustration.

You can imagine me at the moment… I have a grin as wide as The Netherlands plastered on my face every single time I look at it. This oven is this Foodies dream come true. I’m looking forward to dishing up some delicious items together!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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