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October, 2009:

We have stove; cookbook recipe posts to come soon

Last Wednesday the electrician finished installing the new electrical outlet and tested that our new stove works. I was not there to see it; I was in Dallas for the American Medical Writers Association annual conference. But Scott assured me that the stove was in place and working, and when I got home Sunday evening he had made me pizza.

I’m still catching up on all the other aspects of my life that had to take a backseat while I was preparing for AMWA and, the weekend before that, gadding about in Rhinebeck for the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival. So I have not yet tackled the backlog of cookbook recipes, which I believe stand at five books for October and four left over from September. I can’t guarantee that I can actually catch up on all of those in November, even with Thanksgiving as part of the game plan, but I can make up a fair bit of the difference. My aim is to get back on track over the weekend, to map out a plan and do at least one round of cooking. So thank you for your patience; regular programming should resume before too much longer.

The stove situation grinds on

We’re still waiting for an electrician to resolve the stove situation, but are optimistic it will be done this week (fingers crossed, knock wood, random superstitious aversions of ill luck). However, this week will be one of my busiest of the year, including some travel, so I will not likely be posting a cooking update until next week. Carry on, as you were.

Latest stove update

So after various perfectly understandable delays, our new electric stove arrived today. It’s a beauty: A flat ceramic top, and all shiny and clean and new. Unfortunately, we need an electrician to hook it up, and possibly a correct outlet installed (I think it’s a matter of 220 vs 110, but this is so far out of my expertise I’m almost afraid to even speculate for fear I’ll manage to burn the house down by doing so). An electrician is coming tomorrow, but I have my doubts that getting it all set up will be quick and simple; the wiring in this house is such that we can’t run the microwave and the air conditioner at the same time.

I’ve also been busy with several other things and haven’t had time to keep up with the cooking; even with the microwave cookbook, which is in this month’s rotation, I haven’t had time to really go through to figure out something I could cook. Though I did notice that in the section on pastas, the recipes directed you to cook the noodles conventionally and do sauces or final assembly of things like lasagna in the microwave. So I guess that answers my question about how you do the sustained-boil business in a microwave: you don’t.

Anyway, this week brings me into the really sustained period of being too busy to do much more than breathe, so even if the electrician’s visit tomorrow results in a safely connected stove that same day, I don’t expect to get caught up on the blog or even do much cooking until at least the week of the 25th. Theoretically this means I can afford to be philosophical about it if the electrician discovers that this business is going to be more complicated than everyone thought. I’m not allowing myself to start worrying about Thanksgiving until Nov. 2.

Update on the stove situation

Thursday and yesterday poor husband had to stick around the house while the plumbers sought and repaired leaks in the internal gas lines. But though they fixed three (!!!) they were unable to find one last one without having to tear out walls. Since the lines to the water heater and furnace were fine, the landlord decided it would be better to simply have the plumbers cap off the gas lines to our kitchen and replace our stove with an electric model.

I should have known better than to crow on here the other day about how great it is to cook with gas. Eh, we’ll be OK; it’s not terrible to cook on electric, and it’s certainly better than taking a risk of blowing up the building.

We haven’t yet heard back from the landlord on when the stoves will be switched out, but the kitchen gas lines have been capped off and we have gas again for hot water. It was nice to shower this morning at home instead of trekking to the gym, and I’ll be happy to catch up on the few dishes that have accumulated in the interim. Now that I know I can wash dishes again I can cook again with the microwave and other gadgets, which should do well enough for the interim. I haven’t yet checked to see if any of the current crop of cookbooks are possible to do without a burner or oven, but I’ll find out.

Brief intermission

Astute observers may have noticed that I haven’t done all the September recipes yet. I ran short of time and organizational skills, and so am planning to finish them up during October. This is not as foolish as it may sound; the October list is very short, because I knew already in June that October would be an exceptionally busy month for me, including some travel. As it happens I will not be traveling over one of the weekends I thought I might be, so I do have some wiggle room.

Assuming, that is, that our gas gets reconnected soon. Yesterday morning people from ConEd came to replace the meters, which we knew about ahead of time. Quite reasonably, one of the things they do when replacing meters is test the system to determine if there are any leaks, and unfortunately there were leaks in our building. Tiny leaks; they have found and repaired three and are hunting down one more. Until they have finished this, we have no gas, which means no stove and no hot water. So our cooking ability is limited, and even if we take advantage of our gadgetry (microwave, rice cooker, etc.), our ability to wash dishes is also a bit constrained, since we’ll have to microwave water to have any warm water in the process. This is making us a tad selective about how we’re planning to cook until the repair work is all done and the gas is reconnected. Which we hope will be tomorrow, but it’s not up to us.

Also, I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that one can have multiple gas leaks in a building, even tiny ones, and not manage to blow oneself up before they are discovered. Maybe I don’t want to think about it too hard. I don’t want to make gas sound scary; I love cooking with gas, which offers you much better control and range than electric, but one must respect that which is potentially explosive.

Anyway, I’ll be back in the cooking rotation again as soon as is feasible.