Free Range (Four Burners, No Gas)

May 19, 2008

My oven’s goose is cooked. Or, more appropriately, uncooked. Oh brother.

Three of the 15-year-old beast’s burners work. The oven? To use another poultry metaphor: Quit, cold turkey. Husband and I have been browsing replacement options, weighing quality against size, size against price, and price against our financial reality. Can we pass the summer with three burners and this?

Small BBQ

While I’m convinced that our little barbeque can see us through to mid-Setptember, I do ever-so-often miss homemade pizza and that School Lunch Night staple, mac ‘n’ cheese. (Anybody have a good recipe for mini-grill mac?)

Moreover, when we do take the plunge and replace the range, what should we do? Get a 30-incher to fill the space? Or, go for the more compact 24″, and use this as an opportunity to remake the kitchen? How about cooktops vs. freestanding? Should we buy from a big box, a Small biz, or a second-use shop?

I confess: I don’t know anything. Help!


10 Responses to “Free Range (Four Burners, No Gas)”

  1. Michelle said

    Your patio barbeque is adorable! I don’t know much about major appliances, but I bet you could make it through the summer with your BBQ and some additional help from a toaster oven. A decent toaster oven could handle mini pizzas and tiny pots of mac, with the bonus of not heating up your entire house.

  2. Oh my goodness! That’s a great idea. Thanks, Michelle!

  3. mjs said

    I found replacement parts for my old range by searching the Internet for its model number. Repair is fairly easy for burners. You might need an expert for the oven.

    The toaster oven is a good solution, too.

  4. Justin The (Chef) Man said

    I spent two years in Africa perfecting my stove-top oven techniques. I had a 2 burner propane hotplate, and was able to keep myself fully stocked with homemade cookies and pies and bread.

    The secret is to acquire a big (4-5 gallon) pot and put about 3-5 inches of small rocks/coarse sand in the bottom. The rocks deflect the direct heat and distribute it pretty evenly. The rocks hold a lot of heat, so you can turn your stove top off long before you’re done baking, thus saving valuable natural resources.

    The only limitation is the size of your pot. You could experiment with big, flat roast pots? In Africa, I made do with what I had available.

    (I also support the toaster oven option as well.)

  5. Calandra said

    I’ve been blog stalking you for a while (blame Jill). :-)
    As the owner of a little bitty kitchen, I’ll share our oven woes. We just made the upgrade to a 30″ when our little ol’ 24″ died this winter. If it had not been winter, I may have tried to wait out the hot season, but as it was, I was in desperate need for tea (everything died all at once). I will say that our 30″ allows for quite a bit more storage, as it has the bin under the oven which fits all our baking sheets and other bakeware (our old 24″ did not have an under-oven bin). It also has fab features like an oven light (ohhh!) and a flat-top burner system (ahhh!), which I think helps make our small kitchen look a little more sleak. We’ve also found that the extra 6″ don’t take up all that much space. Just my 2 cents – a toaster over could work just as well. Good luck!

  6. Thanks to everyone for the advice and support. I will have to run these ideas by Mr. Living Small. For now, we may be going the South Africa route…

  7. […] that our indoor range is busted, Mr. WeeLivin’ and I have already broken out our tiny hibachi on a few occasions. But […]

  8. Tea said

    I am deeply in love with my toaster oven and use it far more than the big oven. It heats up faster and has a turn off timer that’s saved my dinner more than once.

    Also, here’s an option for stovetop mac & cheese. It won’t have the crunchy crispy bits, but it might get you through the summer.

  9. Thanks for the recipe, Tea. I’m interested to try cheese sauce with tabasco. I typically add dijon mustard to my cheesy-cheese, but tabasco — that’s a different story!

    Still haven’t made a decision on the stove vs. toaster oven. Still thinking. Still.

  10. […] how my oven went kaput? Well, it’s still out, and Herr Mann and I are still agonizing over whether to replace it […]

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