Friday, June 25, 2010

Woes of the oven-less baker

The oven didn't work when we moved into our house. We knew this, but (wrongly) assumed it would be a simple matter of buying a new oven to replace it. We were wrong. Since this has been a frustrating and at times all-consuming issue, I don't really want to go into it, but I have been with out an oven for nearly a month. This is tragic.

I love baking, and although many people would forgo baking bread come summer, I would love nothing more than to (clear off my counters so I can) knead dough and bake.

Initially, because of the very real constraints of time, money and know-how, I was thinking that we would probably just do without an oven until we had enough of those three things. I figured that there would be somethings we couldn't make, but that mainly, I wouldn't be able to indulge in baking. But, it didn't seem like the end of the world.

This effectively eliminates at least one of our old-stand-by dinners (frozen pizza - not the best, but sometimes, it just hits the spot), as well as things like meatloaf, biscuits, cookies, breads...

I remember reading, years ago, about people cooking and baking entire meals in rice cookers (yes, bread in a rice cooker). I should look into that. We do have a rice cooker. (And it is a trooper of a little thing. It was a wedding present from the best man. One of those things I don't think we registered for, but use regularly.)

There have to be ways to live without an oven. People have done this before. I am not the first person to be sans oven. I just feel so exhausted and frustrated when confronted with the oven conundrum that part of me just gives up for a bit.

Do you have any advice for life without an oven? Have you ever gone for long stretches without certain appliances that you thought/felt were essential? Care to share?


Anonymous said...

Ha! My old oven died after "the great split pea soup disaster of 2003" (long story). It took me a few years before I had the time/energy/money to replace it. So in the meantime I got really good at one pot stove top cooking. I also became a whiz at making flatbread/tortillas.

Or... for about $25 you could make yourself a solar oven. It probably won't help with quick frozen pizza at night, but I LOVE mine and it's so wonderful to be able to bake in the summer without heating up the whole house. Here's a link to my post about it:

Good luck!

swiggett said...

Rebecca - I would love to hear the story. Split pea soup is one thing I can make fairly well. Flatbreads and tortillas are a great idea. I've heard a bit about solar ovens; thanks for the link!

Anonymous said...

Well... a friend told me that it's really easy to make split pea soup in a pressure cooker. So I gave it a try, only I hadn't used the thing in years, and I fear I wasn't really paying too much attention. So it didn't register with me that something was wrong when I stopped hearing the rattling sound.

Next thing I knew... BANG! The safety plug blew and the entire kitchen was coated in a fine layer of split pea soup! Oh... it was lovely. And after that the oven never worked again. I think that some of the soup somehow got into the control knobs (the oven was from the 1950's or '60's).

Anyhow, I tried and tried to fix it, but to no avail. So when the dishwasher gave up the ghost a few years later, I finally just shelled out the money had had them both replaced.

I make split pea soup in the crock pot now! :)

swiggett said...

Wow - decorating with split pea soup. Sounds yummy! I hope your new oven (and dishwasher) are still going strong.