Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Culinary Malfunction That Could

You know how when you move into a new house you discover it's individual quirks? The things that seem to be unique to the home. Well, shortly after moving into our current house 3+ years ago I uncovered something that wasn't noted in the inspection report. A malfunction of sorts. But over the years this malfunction has turned into something I appreciate. You see, one of my stovetop burners doesn't work properly.

My stove is electric. It's the kind that's built into the counter. I think this is called a "drop in" stove. The oven is built into the wall next to it, not under it like in a free-standing stove. Follow? There are 4 burners on this cooktop: 2 small ones and 2 large ones, and they're arranged in a sort of skewed way. They don't line up two in the back, two in the front. It's more like the back two are shifted to the left and the front two are skewed to the right. The controls are on the front on the left side, in front of the back left burner. Can you picture this? There is one large burner and one small burner in the back, and the same in the front. My malfunctioning burner is the big one in the back. The one behind the control dials.

I'm a tea drinker at night. I usually have a big-ass mug of decaf Earl Grey tea after the kids go to bed. I sweeten it with sugar and try to convince myself that it's my nightly sweet treat in lieu of dessert, but who am I kidding? That never works. But I digress... Since I drink tea I have a tea kettle and I keep it on my stove. It's always there. For aesethics it's usually on the far left back burner. Yep, the one that doesn't work right. But because I'm a far cry from gourmet and don't often have the need to have all four burners operating simulateously, much less the two big burners, it's possible I wouldn't have discovered the "problem" burner for a long time. But it's my designated tea kettle burner, so my discovery was quickly made. See, that particular burner overheats. No matter what you set the dial to, it heats up to full heat. We're talking hot. HOT. Lava hot. More than the "high" on the other burners. It heats my tea kettle to steaming whistle hot in no time flat. Nearly as quickly as microwaving the water in a mug (and between you and me, boiled water in a kettle is just so much better for tea than microwaving the water. It just is. Trust me. Something about pouring the boiling water over the tea bag vs. just dunking it into hot water already in the mug. It must be poured.)

This burner is sort of like Lauren: all or nothing. And it sure has come in handy over the years! In our rush rush rush lives, being able to heat something super quick is nice. Need to whip up some spaghetti? That burner gets the water boiling and cooks those noodles faster than you've ever seen done on a normal stove. It's the super-hero. It's the burner on steroids. It gets so hot that I can't often keep the pots and pans directly on it. I have to sort of move them off to the side a little bit to try to manage the heat or it will boil over. But here's my dilemma: I've come to embrace this "quirk" and work with it, but I'm afraid that someone else will see it through more objective eyes as simply a malfunction that must be fixed. Someone like, say, a potential buyer of the house. It was never disclosed to me - I stumbled upon it shortly after moving in. But should it have been? Should *I* feel obligated to share this endearing malfunction and risk having to fork over unknown amounts of money to potentially get it fixed? (the offer we've received doesn't say word one about a set amount of money to be allowed for any repairs... yet.) Or do I keep my fat mouth shut? We've already told them that the dishwasher seems to drain into the sink via the aerator overflow thingamajig... not sure how long that's been happening. Is it normal? Is it because there is a clog somewhere? Dunno. All I care about these days is that it cleans my dishes, which it does, thankyouverymuch.

I'm sort of going to miss my super-charged burner when we move from this house. No one else in my family seems to appreciate it like I do. But I'm wondering how I can spin it for the new owners so they see how helpful it can be when cooking for hungry, tired kids who just can't wait, as mine always seem to be. Because in my eyes, this little malfunction - this culinary quirk - is a beneficial feature I'd like to have installed in my next house.

God I could use a drop in stove... :D
I envy you.
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