Who would think I required instructions for an oven? After all, I have been cooking forever, or so it seems.
But apparently a lesson on our new kitchen range proved necessary.
Backtracking…we purchased a new range about a month ago. Nowadays I rarely use a traditional oven. My microwave includes a convection bake and roast feature, and I have become a fan of the convection cooking process. Also the microwave is smaller than the oven. We are a two person household and do not need a huge oven.
Ovens are useful when others join the party. A couple of weeks ago I cooked dinner for 10 people. Nothing fancy, roast chicken.
I had never used my new oven, but was unconcerned. I have owned and operated ovens throughout my adult life. They are not difficult, complex machines. Controls are well marked and understandable.
I checked the chicken while cooking, gradually growing anxious. The birds barely cooked, stubbornly remaining tough when pierced and refusing to turn golden brown…
Dinnertime rolled around and passed, everyone hungry, especially the kids. Bedtime neared…
We ate a meal course-by-course, salad, bread, then veggies. Increasing the oven temperature helped, but obviously my shiny new appliance was flawed.
Eventually enough chicken baked for dinner.
The following day hub called the store where we purchased the oven and set a date for the repairman to come and check out our defective appliance.
The repairman drove up about 3:00 p.m. I guess working folk figure retirees have nothing better to do all day than wait for repair people. But on the positive side he did show up. Trusty repairman and hub huddled around the range.
A few minutes later hub calls me in for a consultation.
The repair guy says something like, “This temperature problem has been an issue with these hi-tech ovens. You are not the first to complain. The oven temperature can vary about 30 degrees above or below the set temperature. I reset it for a deviation of 20 high to compensate. But now you can plan your cooking. All this information is detailed on page eight in the manual. If this is not enough, you can modify the setting to 30 degrees; it requires some experimentation.”
I never read page eight of the manual. I never read pages one through seven, or any page after eight either.
I thought I knew how to use an oven.
Silly me. The latest technology overtook my limited knowledge, making oven information stored in my brain inadequate, unworthy of my new appliance.
My chickens took forever to bake because the temperature remained 30 degrees lower than the temperature set and the temperature indicated on the control panel. I told my family this was a very forgettable meal, but they corrected me. It will be a very memorable meal, they informed me, just not in the way I might like.
I flunked my first cooking assignment with my new appliance. My next assignment will be a repeat performance, hopefully more successful.
The problem: I have no plans in the near future to cook for 10 people. What would I do with all the extra food?
I may have to settle for cooking for two, or maybe four or five, inviting friends or freezing leftovers.
I do not want to flunk Oven 101 a second time.