There is a gaping hole in my kitchen where my stove should be, and all because I asked for a cookie.
I asked for a cookie, and Delaney opened the freezer, took out the bag of frozen cookie dough balls, and neatly arranged them on a baking pan, enough for everybody, with extra for Daddy. She preheated the oven, popped in the pan, then came to sit in the living room till the timer went off.
I sat on the couch, nursing a tired baby, while the children played and chatted all around me. Suddenly, Delaney jumped up and ran to the kitchen. A moment later, she came back, crestfallen. “I didn’t hear the timer go off, and now the cookies are burnt. There aren’t enough left to start over.”
“Oh, Delaney,” I scolded.
“I didn’t mean to!” she cried.
“You never mean to,” I replied, which was true, but unkind. This girl of mine seldom offers more than half-hearted effort, and this was the last of our cookies. But in the back of my mind, I was thinking, I didn’t hear a timer go off, either.
A moment later, the oven began beeping urgently. “Is that the timer?!” I called to Megan, who was in the kitchen on another errand.
She called back, “Yes!” As she reached to turn it off, she noticed something else. “It says ‘f3e2!'”
“Is it off?” I hollered back.
“Yes,” she said.
I was on my feet now. “What’s the temperature in there?” I asked as I walked in, sleeping baby in arms. We’ve been having some trouble with the oven anyway, so I had a thermometer in there to monitor the actual temperature.
She opened the door and glanced at the dial as she jumped back from the wave of heat. “It’s over a thousand degrees! And the broiler is still on!”
“Delaney!” I yelled. She’d been upstairs, feeling sorry, but she came down on the run. “Hold the baby,” I said, thrusting the no-longer-sleeping child into her arms.
The stove was beeping rather frantically now. I pushed the off button again, though there were no lights indicating that it was turned on. I waited a fraction of a moment for some dimming of the broiler, but it just kept right on going, cooking and cooking, unable to turn itself off, desperately beeping for help.
I looked for the circuit breaker first, assuming the whole stove would be too hot to handle, but it wasn’t labeled or obvious. I hurried back to the kitchen and grabbed hold of the sides tentatively (which weren’t hot!) then wiggled it away from the wall. I squeezed into the space behind, reached down and tugged the giant plug out of its giant outlet. And our frantic, desperate, overheating oven fell silent.
I looked at the children. “Well, it’s a good thing that didn’t happen in the middle of the night, or while we were away from home!” Then I looked at Delaney with a smile. “I guess that explains the cookies.” She smiled back.
As soon as it was cool again, David loaded it on the dolly and wheeled it out of the house.
And that is how there came to be a gaping hole in my kitchen where the stove should be.
~ * ~
This happened on Saturday. When David heard the tale, his only remark was, “Have you picked out a new stove yet?”
See, we’ve been half-heartedly planning to replace this stove ever since we moved in, but I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted at a price we could afford, and it didn’t matter all that much anyway. At long last, though, it has finally made it to the top of our home-improvement list!
In the meanwhile, though, until I select a stove, and until we get it purchased and installed, there is a family of ten here who steadfastly insist on eating three full meals a day.
No problem! I have a toaster oven, which is small, but just the right size for a pan of brownies or a pineapple upside down cake. I have a slow cooker, which is also small, but just right for a couple of roasts simmered and pulled. We also have a wood stove. Interestingly, we just replaced the old-style cookstove with a major heat producing model on Wednesday, so the best we can do is to boil water on the top. I suspect I could also roast potatoes inside, but I haven’t tried yet. If we’d delayed on that another week, I’d have full cooking capabilities indoors, but, alas, I’ve had to use the grill.
The grill is really what has made this so bearable.
Over the summer, we replaced our old rusted out grill with a large, six-burner model. I love it! It’s big enough to cook two pizzas at once, or meat for a dozen people plus all the side dishes. And, it turns out, that great size makes it possible to bake! We turn all the burners on to heat it up, then put the pans inside, turn off or lower the burners right below, and adjust the others to maintain the proper baking temperature. We’ve had perfect results with this. I made a casserole and two loaves of bread the first night.
And I’ve selected a new stove, which makes David very happy. We probably won’t have it till after Christmas, though. And I’m okay with that.