Saturday, September 27, 2008

A store I'd love to pillage

I drive past this place every day and think, "I should check it out." Yesterday I did.
Oooh-la-la, the stoves they are so preeeeeetty.
The prices, though. Yowza.

That's for a dual-fuel, 30-inch stove. The all-gas ones are about $1,000 cheaper.

I've learned not to hate my ceramic-top electric stove, but I don't love it. With electric stoves, the burner is either on or off. There's no in-between. To make rice, I have to boil on one burner, then slide the pot to another that I've set on low, because the boiling burner doesn't cool down fast enough. And good stir-fries are out of the question; can't get enough heat.

But if I get a gas stove, I'll also have to upgrade my ventilation. Currently I have a microwave above the oven with a fan underneath. It vents into the kitchen. But the fan's not powerful enough, and I want a vent to the outside. I could, however, buy their convection microwave with Viking-grade exterior vent. For $1,300.

Or I could move my microwave somewhere else and put in a hood. Also about $1,000, not including what it would cost to install with a vent through the wall or ceiling (there's a deck above the kitchen, so that's an option).

Pretty colors are another option.
If you get tired of a color, they can replace the panels. No idea what that costs. But the red looks nice!
Not that I have room for one this big. In my kitchen or my wallet.

I resisted the lure of the 40-percent-off Le Creuset, too.
What kind of stove do you have? Would you recommend it?


  1. Oh no. You *need* a gas stove. You really do. I don't know about a $5000 one (but, gosh, that red one is really pretty)...

    I like my Maytag ok. It's newish. I never use the convection oven, but it has two burners which are higher heat for faster water boiling.

  2. I have had a 30-inch Viking dual-fuel range with a self-cleaning oven for about 11 years. I long agonized before committing to such an extravangance, but I've never regretted it. Never.

    FWIW, I also have a microwave w/ built-in fan over the stove. No problem. No need to get Viking super-vent fan. Regardless of how powerful it looks, it does not put out as much heat as a commercial range.

    Claire @

  3. I'm on my third regular old poor person Sears gas stove and stir-fries don't work on them either. The issue isn't the heat source, it's how the heat goes up the sides of the wok - there are some stoves I've seen where the wok fits down in an indention over the flame, which I suppose works better.

    I now do stir-fries in a flat skillet; it isn't ideal (you can't push stuff up the sides), but it's much much hotter than a wok.

  4. We have been using Siemens over the past 10 years. So far so goo. By the way, how could you resist 40% off le creuset, What's your secret here, Kitt?

  5. We had a workaday gas stove, but it really couldn't deliver the heat and that was a constant frustration as I did most of the cooking then. We live in the country and don't have access to natural gas; propane burns considerably cooler than natural gas. Stir-fry was always more like stir-steam.

    The setup included a non-vented hood. The performance was never really satisfying. And when I made my Wolfgang Puck chicken dish (whole chicken placed on the oven rack to intentionally encourage splatter onto a tray of root vegetables below) the resulting oily cloud made me cringe for the Monets (ok, I stretch).

    So eventually we threw hardware at the problem in the form of a Wolf propane range/oven with venting hood and the biggest noncommercial exhaust fan they sold. I did balk at the simple $500 under-hood food shelf, but got one used at a restaurant supply store. I called the setup a diversification of assets.

    Result: Love the burners, true simmer to super-hot (but not quite the blast furnace achievable in commercial kitchens). We use straight cast iron and bank considerable heat so the stir fry can be as abusive as we like - and in my view this system works better than a wok.

    Drawback - the Wolf cooktop (black enamel) looks convenient to clean, but it is not. The black enamel begs for a wipedown all the time. If I had it to do again, I'd get a commercial unit with no gloss on the rangetop.

    Betts does all the cooking now (I make the bacon, she fries it, and caters to Pipsqueak) and I think she would prefer an electric oven.

    The exhausting hood was an installation commitment, but we would never go back. And the smells when I come in from bush hogging the fields! But we have to open a window in the winter when it is on high. We heat the house with a woodstoves mostly. I'll never forget when I turned the hood on in the winter and sucked all the smoke down the chimney!

    Rick in VT

  6. I have my husband's grandmother's stove from the '80s. It leans to the left and I have to make sure the oven door is closed instead of mostly closed. One of the burners doesn't work too. I don't like to think of myself as poor, just in transition.
    But I'll have a career again in a little over a year and a half and when we buy a house it's going to have a nice stove and oven.

  7. I see my Sweetie has already posted above. What's left for me to say? Oh...

    life is short; go for it!

  8. I don't know what brand mine is but it is all gas (no electric ignitor) and I love it. On an island where black outs are normal, it's nice to still be able to cook. I haven't had any problems with any cooking techinique. My husband is a former chef and I just love to cook and there really isn't anything I havent been able to accomplish.

  9. Thanks for all he suggestions!

    db, I'm looking at Wolf ranges, too, and a few other commercial-style brands.

    Molly, yes, I need a gas range! My old house had a balky, 30-year-old (or more) Magic Chef, and I had much more control over my cooking than with the brand-new electric.

    Claire, I'm glad you like the Viking. Not sure I'll go with the dual-fuel in the end (for one thing, the broiler on the Viking gas oven is truly spectacular – I saw it in action). I do need better venting, though. Not for the heat as much as the ability to draw fumes outside.

    dg, you should see the separate "companion range" they sell for a single wok. Puts out 27,500 Btus as opposed to the 15,000 for regular burners. I won't got that far, though. A skillet will work on 15,000 just fine, I suspect.

    Blue, is yours gas or electric? The Le Creuset display didn't have any pieces I couldn't live without, luckily. Since I beefed up my enameled cast-iron collection via eBay, I'm pretty well set in that department.

    Rick, wow, that's the way to go! I like your "diversification of assets" idea very much. The venting fan is a particular draw for me (har-har) because I hate having to haul out the box fan to air the kitchen if things get too smoky. I assume your fan is an exterior one?

    My old (tiny) house had an attic fan (a.k.a. whole-house fan) that was similarly powerful. You had to open a window or door or risk blowing out the pilot lights! That worked well for venting kitchen mistakes.

    I'm all for getting more CFMs than the suggested average. I was told the bigger blower on my swamp cooler would be overkill for cooling just the upstairs, but it's strong enough that the cooled air gets pushed downstairs, too, so the whole house is comfortable.

    Mary, gas or electric? Old stoves can work just fine (see my Magic Chef comment above), but yes, a better one is in the future!

    Betts, thanks! Will do! (Good to have a spouse who sees eye-to-eye on kitchen priorities.)

    Mimi, you can't get ovens without electric ignition these days (though it's still possible to light burners with a match). My old one was great when the power went out in the winter; I heated the house with it, and made a lot of cookies.

  10. Kitt, ours is electric. It came with the house. We didn't choose the oven itself, but we chose the house though!

  11. We wanted the big exterior fan, but that was not to be with the interior location of the hood and low ceilings. Not to worry, it made dramatic improvement anyway.

    Rick in VT

  12. I have a 30 inch Bluestar that fits a full size sheet pan, or three or four or five if you have that many racks because it has convection also. We had to run propane but it was worth the extra effort. I am using the original vent that came with the house (it's old but it vents outside) and it has only overheated on me once and it came back shortly.

    There are a couple of issues with this stove. The first is that I've had to replace the door (in under a year so it was covered) but it took almost 30 days before it was replaced and boy am I glad the pie came out before the door siezed shut!

    The second issue is the burners. I had to buy a rice steamer because even the simmer burner on low burns too hot for rice. On the other hand the two front burners are downright amazing and the simmer burner for sauce is awesome.

    Over all, waiting a month for service and everything, I wouldn't go back to my ceramic flat top for anything.

  13. Blue, my electric came with the house, too. Brand-new. I should've told them to take it with them so I'd be forced to get what I wanted right away.

    Rick, I'll go with an exterior fan if I can, to reduce the noise, but an interior one would be OK, too.

    Thanks for the details, Alecto. A pie trapped in the oven would've been nasty! I haven't even seen any Blue Stars in showrooms here, but I haven't really been looking at anything more than casually yet. Next stop: the Wolf showroom.

  14. We have an electric Miele oven..just a fairly basic one but it's great..cost around $1200 (Aus$) and a Eurolec gas cooktop above it..again fairly basic but has a good wok burner...after cooking on gas, would never go back to electric...coz the cooktop is the only thing running on gas here (except bbq) we can use the small 9kg bottles and swap them over ourselves at the servo (gas station to you) :D..oh and we have a good dual fan rangehood above the cooktop..very important. :D