Preach It, Brother

(Or should I say “Father?”)

“Much as I know it will get me in trouble with all kinds of people, I simply cannot see electric stoves at all. They are perhaps the biggest tin fiddle in the American household – the perfect example of a product which no professional ever uses, but which has been neatly fobbed off on the public. (…) Go into any restaurant kitchen. You will find a gas stove. It is there because, on the basis of long experience by people who know and care, it is the most flexible and responsive cooking instrument yet developed. A boiling-over pot can be stopped with a flick of the wrist; (with an electric stove, you have to move the pot). Full heat is available instantly. (With electricity you have to tap your foot through the agonizing warmup.) Oh, I know they make them with “speed” burners. Another con job. All that means is that the speed burners get worked to death and have to be replaced at forty or fifty dollars a throw, while the rest of the stove is still new. Finally, the gas stove gives you the most intelligent means of all of gauging how much heat is being applied to your pan: You can see what you’re doing. No need to trust blindly in the con men who put little numbers around the rims of the electric stove knobs you simply look under the pot and, yourself the master, build the flame you know you need. Fire is too old a friend to be forsaken for glowing rods. Perhaps I overstate my case, but it seems to me that cooking with electricity is like trying to play the piano with mittens on. I blame the electric stove for many a woman’s insensitivity when it comes to food.”

Father Robert Farrar Capon on electric stoves in The Supper of the Lamb

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