HOW TO SPEND A DAY NOT BUYING AN OVEN – Marilyn Armstrong

I spent most of yesterday not buying a new countertop oven. Probably 7 or 8 hours were consumed looking at and deciding to buy it, then deciding it was too expensive, too cheap, not big enough, too many options I would never use until my brain turned to mush and I gave up for the day and night.

About 6 years ago, I discovered the joy of the countertop convection oven. The first one I bought was an inexpensive medium-sized oven from Waring, reasonably priced at about $75. It lasted two years before the legs fell off, probably from heat exhaustion.

New kitchen faucet!

My electric bill had dropped by 50%. I  had not realized my range was so expensive to run. When the Waring died, I upgraded and got a Kitchen  Aide convection oven. I have used one or the other of these two countertop ovens for everything except for the few times I had company.

When COVID-19 intruded on our lives, I started to bake a bit. I always liked baking, but for a lot of years I was too busy working or too busy being sick. These days, though, I have some time. I need to make better use of it. Although I love taking pictures and writing posts, I also need to do things which get me off the keyboard.

When I baked gingerbread the other day, I had to use the big oven. Ditto for the salty soft warm pretzels. I was either going to invest in a new full-size range or a much bigger countertop oven.

They are making new countertop machines differently than they were six years ago … or even last  year. Many of them are a lot bigger and more powerful. Big enough to cook a 12 to 14 pound turkey.  Most of them can be used as a family oven, convection oven, and/or an air-fryer.

I owned an air-fryer but rarely used it. Recently, I gave it away. Owen has a big one downstairs. How many air fryers does a three-person household need? Even Owen’s doesn’t get used often.

Then, there’s the tale of the wandering Kitchen Aide electric beater. I owned one years ago, but after heart surgery, I couldn’t move it. It weighs almost as much as our Kirby Vacuum which, if you own one or ever owned one, weighs slightly less than a VW bug.

Owen moved back. By now, he had given my Kitchen Aide to Kaity and had gotten a newer one for himself. Meanwhile, I had a Sunbeam mixmaster which was good for most things, but caught on fire attempting to work through whole wheat bread dough. Smoke started pouring out of its motor. After that, I didn’t have an electric mixer and I didn’t bake much.

A couple of weeks ago, Owen gave me his new Kitchen Aide. What goes around, comes around. To create counter space for the mixer, I’ve had to do massive kitchen rearrangement. I threw away a lot of china canisters — even those with sentimental value. I bought stackable containers from small to huge for flour, yeast, spices, sugar, and everything else.

The kitchen looks bigger because finally, there are empty spaces on the counters. I got a big, heavy plastic board for rolling dough or chopping vegetables. I’d have gotten a marble one — they are supposed to be the best for rolling dough — but anything big enough was too heavy to wash in the sink. Besides, I would drop it on my toe. Which would hurt.

Today, I consulted with Owen on oven sizes and finally bought a really big one that is so new it has no ratings. The ratings were making me crazy. So many of them were written by people who blamed the machine for not doing what it wasn’t supposed to do. Or not having the right temperature because they assumed that they should never need to adjust cooking time based on their machine.

You need to know your oven, whatever you are using. One guy said that the package instructions always were wrong and it was the machine’s fault. It apparently never occurred to him to adjust the timing. Package cooking directions — including those in cookbooks — work if you are using the same equipment the cook was using. If you aren’t, then you adjust the temperature up or down until it comes out right.

One guy complained that the baking pan didn’t fit in the shelf slots. Someone had to tell him that he was supposed to put the pan ON the shelf, not on the heating tubes.

So many dummies complaining the oven got hot. Yes, ovens get hot. When they are hot, don’t touch the glass on the door. You will get burned. Very young children figure it out. Even my dogs can tell if something’s hot and keep their noses away from it.

Grown up people aren’t as smart as young children or dogs.

I hope this oven works out. I can finally use my baking pans again and with the air fryer gone, there’s room for a regular toaster again. No matter what anyone says, a countertop oven is not a great toaster.



Categories: baking, Cooking, Food, Gallery, Household Stuff, Kitchen, Marilyn Armstrong, Photography, Recipes

Tags: , , , , , ,

14 replies

  1. Naomi has a countertop oven at her place although I’m not sure if it is a convection model. She bought it when she could not get an electrician to repair her regular oven and she loves it.
    We will be awash with kitchen appliances when she moves in as she collects vintage ones. Just before lockdown we were browsing in a local secondhand place and I pointed out an old mixer to her. “There’s an Elcon.” She got really excited. She used to have one and it blew up in spectacular fashion one day when she was using it. I should get her to write about it. So she bought this one and used it for the first time the other day.
    I have an old Sunbeam hand mixer that I gave my mum when I was 13. It still works. I like that about Sunbearm appliances. I had planned to get a food processor when it finally died but as Naomi has one already plus she has mum’s old appliances it seems rather wasteful to buy another.

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    • The countertop ovens are almost all convection ovens, They may or may NOT be air fryers, too. I didn’t want an air fryer, but I wanted one big enough to essentially replace my “big” oven which uses a gigantic amount of electricity. Who knew an electric range cost that much to run?

      Things cook faster in the smaller oven. The only thing they aren’t great at is making is toast. They are a bit lame in the toast department — and kind of slow.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A convection cook oven sounds like a good idea. The conventional oven is necessary for really large items but one doesn’t always need that.
    Leslie

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  3. I got myself a ‘small'(ish) oven/microwave as our oven in the rental we now live in is so OLD that Adam probably cooked in it. It gets so hot that even 1hr after pulling out the goods you have a temp at least 10°C higher in the kitchen than elsewhere. It will cost me a fortune in electricity. Now that we have placed that ‘new’ oven in a metal floor shelf HH tells me that the plug won’t take the ‘load’ of the created heat this oven is able to bake ….. And this being a rental we have no possibility or the right to have a higher power scaled plug installed. GREAT! It’s SO frustrating! And maybe, just maybe I also shouldn’t have installed the unit in an (open) metal shelf…. Aaaarrrrgh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We have some electrical issues too and the cost to overcome them is far beyond what we can afford. It’s only on one circuit, so if I’m careful about how much I put on that line, it usually works out okay. They did some very strange wiring in this house.

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  4. I am exhausted reading all about it. I got a new oven and microwave about a year ago and that is all I need. I had an electric mixer with bowl and various attachments, but that was long ago and now I have a hand mixer which does the job perfectly for me. I no longer bake so much. My problem with all the machines is that you have to wash them up afterwards so I keep their sizes to a minimum.

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    • I still have my big range with the huge oven, but I don’t use the oven any more than I need to because it uses massive amounts of electricity. As for the mixer, I could get away without one if all I was making were batter things like cake, but to make bread, I need dough hooks and that requires a pretty strong machine. To make room for that machine on the counter where all I have to so it slide it out without having to lift it, I had to get rid of a lot of stuff. Some of it was nice stuff and I regret having to dump it, but our local Salvation Army closed, so there was nowhere to take it. Clothing we can find other places put it, but not “items.” Maybe they’ll open a new one. They probably couldn’t afford their rent where they were. There hasn’t been any business in months.

      My problem wasn’t that I didn’t want an oven. I need one. I just didn’t know what would fit on the counter. I also wanted one that was simple and didn’t have a huge number of choices I’d never use. I always prefer simpler to more complicated. I hope this one works out. It’s an unknown brand, It might be great or awful and I won’t know until I try using it. And finally getting a regular toaster was a nice touch. They make much better toast!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Beard on Bread–I still have my copy that I bought when it first came out. I recently did a huge cookbook purge, but Mr Beard stays. His zucchini bread recipe (Carl Gohs’ Zucchini Bread) is still my go-to recipe.

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