After months of researching and shopping around for kitchen appliances, we finally purchased this Frigidaire Professional convection oven with induction cooktop from Tri-City Appliances in Ipswich (www.tri-city-sales.com). We decided our sturdy old kitchen had earned the newest technology after all these years. This model garnered rave reviews—including glowing reports from chefs who wouldn’t have dreamed of cooking with anything but gas.
Induction stoves are reportedly 70% more efficient than gas and 20% more efficient than electric because they deliver heat magnetically, directly to the metal pot or pan. You can adjust temperature as quickly and precisely as you can with gas. And it’s equally strong if not stronger, able to boil water in less than a minute. This illustration shows how induction will heat chocolate in a metal pan without affecting chocolate sitting directly on the same burner.
I like the looks of it, even compared to higher-end induction ranges by Bosch and Viking. And for that I'd like to say thanks, Electrolux—for buying Frigidaire and imbuing our appliances with the clean virtues of Swedish design. It doesn’t look like a computer—nor do the coordinating fridge and dishwasher, which we also purchased. They’re streamlined and well-proportioned (though wildly out of scale here—our dishwasher isn't as tall as our fridge), with minimal detailing, metal knobs and handles, and real stainless steel bodies with a scratch-proof coating. You could say they look too modern for our old house, but we like to think of them as neutral—no more slick than our copper-bottomed stainless steel pots, which we usually hang out in the open. We'll work with them.
We’ve come a long way since last year, when we were trolling the Internet for refurbished turn-of-the-century Glenwood stoves, such as these two from the Antique Stove Hospital (http://stovehospital.com/), in Rhode Island.
Kevin thinks Glenwoods were among the best stoves ever made; some had double ovens and compartments for burning wood for heat. I found the old enamel beautiful and liked the concept. Then came the daunting realization that Massachusetts doesn’t allow open pilot lights on stoves.
So last winter we gamely changed gears and spent multiple Saturdays checking out new gas stoves. I’m partial to the look of cast-iron burners, compared to the smooth induction ceramic tops. But then came another daunting realization: We don’t have a gas hook-up on our property. No one in our vicinity does. I’m sure some neighboring mansions have their gas Jenn-Airs and AGAs anyway, but they’re running on propane, which is 20% to 30% less efficient than pipe gas, Kevin says.
This limitation could have caused a crisis for a guy like Kevin, who’s a gifted cook but macho and old-school about it. He loves cooking with fire, on gas stoves and outdoor spits, and fantasizes about cooking underground with hot rocks. He pooh-poohs gadgets, from salad spinners to blenders, food processors, microwaves, and “other stuff people keep plugged in but never use.” He’s finally warmed up to the garlic press, but it took years. Imagine my shock when he suggested we buy an electric convection oven with an induction top.
I like thinking that if we eventually get some sort of solar power (Power House), we’ll be able to harness sunlight to run our kitchen appliances. He likes thinking he can still cook with fire if he converts the old stone well in our backyard into an outdoor oven.
We both look forward to restoring this brick bread oven heated by our kitchen fireplace, once we move in as bona fide resident curators next month.