Recently, I moved into a swell new place. It’s in a quiet building (without barking dogs), is ridiculously close to the train, and has closet space enough for four of my wardrobes. I love it.
Until I step foot in the kitchen.
The size is fine—it’s small, but a one-bedroom apartment won’t have a palatial cooking area. There’s no dishwasher, but that’s no deal breaker. The Achilles Heel for my swinging new pad is that it has an electric range.
I’ll let your howls of sympathetic agony subside.
Until now, I’ve always lived in houses and apartments with a gas range. To cook with gas is what I imagine people who drive costly sports cars feel when they shift effortlessly between gears. You want to put a nice brown on that chicken breast, you turn the knob and check the flame. You need a simmer on that rice, turn the knob to the left and see how the blue flame—and shortly thereafter the contents of your pot—respond.
Trying to control the temperature of my food feels impossible with the dated range in my small kitchen. I feel like a kid first learning to drive standard, convulsing from a dead stop every time. I need to fill a pot of water and turn on the burner about 45 minutes before I actually need to add the pasta. And when that time finally comes, it feels as though the noodles will never return to a rolling boil so I can knock it back to a simmer. I enjoy cooking, but I spend a good deal of time issuing strings of profanity toward the stove in my new digs.
It’s not a big deal—I’m just renting, after all—but the experience has taught me that I will never purchase a place without the possibility of converting to gas. I’m not too fussy a woman, but there are some luxuries I cannot live without.