Update: Now Twistie is Cooking With Gas!

You may remember not too long ago when I showed you all the new gas stove I was about to purchase? No? It looks like this:

and I was going to name it Hieronymous in honor of the fact that it’s a Bosch.

Well, my dears, today we are going to talk about the importance of seeing things up close and personal and having a good back up plan.

I have a new stove. It’s gas. It’s beautiful and fabulous and reacts to my every whim quickly. It’s just not Hieronymous. It’s Algy.

Handsome, isn’t he? And he’ll cook nice things for me even when there are no cucumbers to be had, not even for ready money.

Why, you may ask, the sudden switcheroo?

The secret is that it wasn’t such a sudden switch, so much as a back up plan put into action.

When I was researching ranges online, I got a good piece of advice which I’m passing on to all of you today. Someone suggested bringing along my largest cookie sheet and a tall, heavy pot to make sure the range I picked would meet my needs. After all, if I couldn’t fit a large cookie sheet in the oven, there was no point. Same with discovering that the oven controls overhang the back burners to a point where you can’t put a tall pot on them.

Well, that got me thinking I needed a back up plan in case Hieronymous didn’t pass the cookware test. I started looking around and found that Algy up there had the same features I really loved, and a larger oven. There were huge numbers of reviews from actual users on lots of different websites and the most consistent complaint I saw was that the stovetop is hard to keep free of fingerprints. Not my primary concern. I want something utilitarian to cook with. Aesthetics are an optional extra for me. Not that I had any objection to the pretty cobalt blue interior to the oven. I can be shallow as well as the next person.

In fact, the one downside to Algy that I could see was a price tag roughly five hundred smackers higher than Hieronymous. I decided to go in to the store with my Le Creuset soup pot and – all things being equal – go with my original plan.

And so on Memorial Day weekend, I marched into Sears carrying the world’s heaviest pot, headed into the appliance department, and found the two stoves I was thinking about.

I plonked that puppy down on Hieronymous. Everything was great on the stovetop. Good sized burners that my pot could sit comfortably on, even at the back. All seemed copacetic.

Ah, my dears, but then I opened up the oven door and put my pot on one of the racks. I swear it bowed.

Now if all I ever put in the oven was an occasional sheet of cookies or a cake layer, it wouldn’t have been that big a deal. But I don’t just bake. I bake. And I roast. And I use that very pot in the oven to braise things on a fairly regular basis. Wimpy oven racks are a deal breaker for me.

So I turned around to check out Algy, who just happened to be on the other side of the same aisle. I plonked my Le Creuset down on him to check things out. Again, the burner test was a slam dunk. But this time when I opened up the oven door… oh my dearie darlings, what a difference!

The oven racks stand up to Le Creuset happily. Oh, and that cobalt blue interior? Yeah, not only does that make me happy, but it also matches the included broiler pan! Also? A griddle is included for that oval middle burner on top. Add to that the fact that the controls for both the burners and the oven are easier to read, and I knew I’d found what I was looking for.

Best of all, with the Memorial Day sales, Algy cost a tidge less than Hieronymous did at full price. Sears even hauled away my old, dead, unnamed range when they delivered my new baby.

So here’s the Sage Advice promised in the tags: always do your research, and have a backup plan. Sometimes what looks like the right thing for you on paper turns out to have a fatal flaw on closer inspection. When that happens, it’s good to know what you’re going to do instead.

Algy has been in my kitchen for two days now, and I can’t stop petting him. Yeah, I see what people were talking about with the fingerprints, but as I said, I was buying for utility, not aesthetics.

Oh, and now that he’s tried it out, even Mr. Twistie gets why I wanted gas. I think he’s now converted.

8 Responses to “Update: Now Twistie is Cooking With Gas!”

  1. Mrs. Hendricks June 5, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    Great review! For as much as I like to cook and bake and dream of one day having a gas range again, I would have never thought to bring along pots and sheets. So interesting! I think you’re right: for all that’s on paper, or on review sites like Consumer Reports, it ends up really being about what it is that you want and find important. And that’s different for everyone, isn’t it? Congratulations on your new baby!

  2. Cedar June 5, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    Congrats on the lovely new toy, and thanks for the good advice. The oven rack thing is KEY. My poor little apartment stove rack bows in a worrisome fashion when I put my Le Cruset on it and I only have the 3.5 quart size!

  3. Kimaloo June 5, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    I never, in a million years, would have thought to bring a pot and pan with me with “test” out a stove before I bought it. That is the most brilliant thing EVER, lol. Seriously though, we’re in the market for a new stove too and I will definitely be toting my cookware with me. Great post! :o)

  4. g-dog June 5, 2011 at 3:28 pm #

    Excellent tips! Kudos to all. Enjoy your lovely new Algy …
    … another cook/baker missing the joys of convenient gas cooking….

  5. Twistie June 5, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

    @Mrs. Hendricks: Even just the stats on CR don’t tell the whole story, I find. There was one range that got really high marks on their site, but when I went to check the customer reviews I kept reading over and over and over and over again about burner knobs that literally melted when the oven was used, weren’t covered by warranty, and cost $45.00 apiece to replace… plus labor! Even the majority of the customer reviews on CR for that model mentioned that little fact that didn’t make the main review on the site. Yikes!

    @Cedar: Every day I’m thankful that I’m no longer at the tender mercies of a landlord to pick my range for me! LOL!

    @Kimaloo: So happy to be of service! May your search end as happily as mine has.

    @g-dog: Oh, believe, I’m already besotted. I pet Algy every time I pass, and sometimes go into the kitchen for the express purpose of gazing joyfully. May you find similar contentment ASAP.

    @Everybody: I wish I could remember the name of the first person to give me the advice about bringing along real cookware. It was such a simple, but easily unconsidered, idea. And I can see how it would work with a lot of other purchases. Just think about how you’re going to be using the item, and bring along something that goes necessarily with it. You know, like if you’re looking for shoes to wear with a particular outfit, why not wear the whole shebang to make sure you find the most flattering combination of color, material, and heel height?

  6. TropicalChrome June 5, 2011 at 8:22 pm #

    Congratulations on your new range! I learned the “bring the big dishes along” lesson the hard way at our last house when we bought a dishwasher that wouldn’t fit my stockpot or my cookie sheets :(. When we had to replace the dishwasher in this one, you’d better believe we brought them along! (And yes, they fit.)

    My other piece of advice: if your new appliance must fit in a certain space, MEASURE it. Twice. Three times. Not to the nearest quarter inch; exactly. Because even though we all think “oh, I’m just replacing one standard sized appliance with another”, there is no standard size. I know several people who got caught with that one – close enough isn’t. We almost did; we had exactly 1/8″ extra clearance and an installer who was a magician who told us that if we’d bought any other brand, they couldn’t have made it fit.

  7. Twistie June 5, 2011 at 11:27 pm #

    An excellent point, Tropical Chrome! I replaced one 30″ range with another 30″ range, but while it’s the same width (we checked), it’s deeper than the one we used to have. We had plenty of room, but if the room was a little smaller, it could have been an issue.

  8. Talbot June 6, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    Dumb stuff, can’t help it:

    Algy saw the bear
    The bear saw Algy
    The bear had a bulge
    The bulge was Algy

    Happy eating!