Cooking with Gas

As of last night, our house has now switched stoves from electric to gas.

This may not seem like an event of much significance to some of you, but a gas stove is one of the many odd and domestic things that I tend to romanticize.  It is not only that gas stoves are superior for cooking, which they are for many reasons, I assure you.  It is also that gas stoves are associated for me with some of the happiest times in my life.  The sounds of the starter clicking and of the soft pop as the flame catches and of the whisper of the burning element all return me to the cool of early summer mornings at the camp on Manitoulin Island, to dinners prepared in the first home that my wife and I ever owned together, to the kitchens at Camp Hermosa bustling around me as I drink my coffee in the corner. There is something more tactile about gas stoves, something more comforting, more reassuring, more homely, at least for me. Perhaps it is that a gas stove can still be seen and heard to be burning something, to be still related somehow, however distantly, to the fire of the hearth, to times and places, not so distant, even now, when cooking meant working around the family fire, the family hearth.

Of course, I could very well be making much more of this than I should, but I am very glad, even so, to be cooking with gas once more.

  1. d said:

    We have a gas stove too. It is wonderful! Simple things – like heating a tortilla directly on the flame – are just not possible with an electric stove.

  2. Lauren said:

    The pop-hiss sound of firing up a gas element reminds me of Hermosa too, specifically of making really terrible tea in a cold kitchen at 11:00 at night.

  3. This mean you can roast peppers properly, I see many bisques on the way!

  4. John Jantunen said:

    Funny, the only time I ever used a gas stove was in the 17 foot 1968 Bambi Classic airstream trailer we bought from a guy in Magnetewan, when Tanja and myself were still young enough to pretend we could grow up to become gypsies. The thing, the gas stove that is, scared the hell out of me, truth be told. We’d never had it checked out by anyone other than my stepfather, who insisted he come along so that he could “get us a good deal” and whose only comment after we’d paid the price the man was asking was, “she’s a beauty all right, as long as she don’t explode.” We spent a month or so camping in it on Cape Breton before we found a house to winter in, cooking most of our meals on the two burner propane stove (the fridge also ran on propane but we never did find the courage to fire that one up) and while it didn’t explode, there were times when, hearing a pop or a hiss or smelling something funny while beans perculated or water boiled, I thought it’d make sense if it did. Our adventure had to end sometime (it eventually did, with children, who we’ve found are just as good at making things go boom as antiquated gas stoves) and if it was meant to end in a ball of flame, my feeling at the time was, then so be it. Ever since though, I’ve had an aversion to gas stoves, and I now fear, Luke, that every time I hear a fire truck screaming up Paisley, my first thoughts will be of you and yours.

  5. Curtis,

    Yes, I have already roasted some pumpkin, and the flavour was really good. Red peppers will certainly not be far behind.

  6. John,

    Have no fear. You can have whatever of my books survive the fire.

  7. John Jantunen said:

    I am withholding a response to your offer on the grounds that anything I might say would only serve to incriminate me at a later date.

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