Not the kind “where the buffalo roam,” in that sentimental song of the old West — the kind that cooks.  What I still call a stove.  Last week the oven died in the gas range. Had tried self-cleaning, which didn’t work, and after that, neither did the oven.  Can’t be without an oven to bake my Irish soda breads and apple pies with homemade crusts.  (My mom always enjoyed her little pun:  “Eileen, you’ve got some crust!”)

I’m convinced that many appliances, along with some other modern conveniences, have gotten way too complicated  — for me, anyway.  Though I have a basic cell phone, dabble on the Internet,  and get money (too often) from an ATM.  My husband wouldn’t touch any of them — he didn’t like to be rushed, was thorough and deliberate.  Speed and dexterity count more now.  Fingers flying over smart phones. My grandchildren mesmerized and adept at digital games.

I remember watching my Grandma Beatty in her kitchen as she calmly turned out delicious Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for about 25 — herself, grandpa, aunts, uncles and cousins — cooking turkeys and all the fixings in a wood stove, throwing in big chunks to keep the fire burning evenly.  Kids fed first, then pretty much left on our own, chasing each other, playing games, sliding down the banister, boy cousins taking turns riding up and down in the hallway dumbwaiter — girls only allowed to keep watch for adults.

Wish we could go back to the days when families were closer, in both senses — wouldn’t want to go back to  wood stoves.  But do newfangled ones have to be so daunting?  The range was an older one, wasn’t worth repairing — $100 for the service call. Went to Home Depot, sales people scarce, none anywhere near appliance area. Only three gas ranges on display.  Finally ordered one a rare sales rep found on computer, to be delivered in several days, with later installation. With vision of stove sitting in my living room for a while, next day called and cancelled.

But now there’s a brand new Whirlpool gas range (4-1/2 stars out of 5) in my kitchen — reasonable price, black and stainless steel, 5 burners, a griddle, bought at Best Buy, where a helpful salesman approached as soon as I began to browse.   Delivered in two days, old range removed, new one immediately connected. All smooth sailing so far.  Not for long.

A 31 page Care and Use Guide came with the stove, 16 in English, then in French.  Had a quick lesson from installer, decided to bake Pillsbury buttermilk biscuits.  Mouth watering, put them on cookie sheet, tried to set oven temperature and timer, pressed digital control panel in proper places. But didn’t press Start button within 5 allotted seconds, 3 seconds to lock in. Finally got it right, but wouldn’t unlock when I wanted to correct the temperature.

Called Best Buy — “Press Lock for three more seconds to unlock” —  on page 8 of  manual, which made my brain hurt. But the biscuits were delicious, and I dunked them in homemade chicken soup for lunch.  Yesterday, I treated myself to bacon and eggs cooked on the griddle — left some egg for Angel to lick off. Then discovered Low setting on front burners was defective — flame too high. Repair coming Friday.

I rest my case.



  1. Stephanie said

    Perils for sure! I have a similar story. Was preparing to bake three pies for a Labor Day party and Matt, out of the kindness of his heart, self-cleaned the oven for me. And it never worked again. I baked the pies that afternoon in a gas grill and they turned out fabulous.

    • Dear Stef:
      What a good husband, and daddy, Matt is! Am proud of my godchild and nephew! Have got the hang of new stove now. Got burners adjusted, and was told not to bother locking in temps. Instruction book was confusing!?!
      xo Aunt Eileen

  2. Chris Jackson said

    I can relate to your trials! So many times, I’ve forgotten to hit the ‘start’ button when setting the oven and come back ten minutes later to be ‘burned’ when I realize my tray of goodies is sitting in a cold oven. My stovetop has one burner that can adjust to two different piot sizes. I’d switch it to the smaller diameter for one dinner and then despair over why my next dinner in a big skillet was taking forever to cook. Hang in there – don’t let this new ‘smart’ appliance outsmart you! Oh, and give me a call the next time you’re cooking one of your apple pies…

  3. Will do, Christine. Last time I baked a peach pie for my biggest pie fans: Nolan and Jack, which they shared with rest of family. Have a great time at Mike and Molly’s wedding — sorry can’t be there.
    xo Aunt Eileen

  4. Pam said

    You’re such a good writer Eileen… I enjoy reading your posts! My oven died last week also and since it was 10 years old I also decided to get a new one instead of the $100 service/ diagnostic visit. It was delivered yesterday and I was given a 2 hour window of the delivery time, 5:45 pm- 7:45 pm. It was delivered at 7:40.

    • Dear Pam:
      I’ve been lucky. Was given windows of 8am-noon for delivery and repair, and both came early. Now have figured out how to set the oven. Repairman said not to bother locking it!?!
      Fondly, Eileen

  5. Christine copeland said

    I made a pumpkin pie today (the kids start school tomorrow so needed a treat) and somehow when I was setting the timer I managed to turn off the oven. Doy. Thankfully one of the kids, who was anxiously counting down the time until the pie was done, noticed right away and I was saved. Despite the hassle, I still prefer our smart stoves to wood burning ovens! Hang in there.

    • Me, too, dear Christine! But get nostalgic for days when families lived near each other, and life was simpler. By the way, tech who came to fix burners told me wasn’t necessary to lock oven temps, so have got the hang of it now. School starts early for Marley and Markos! Nolan starts kindergarten day after Labor Day.
      xo Aunt Eileen

  6. Kevin Jackson said

    This is why I leave the cooking to Christine 🙂 Too complex.

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