Electric Stove: 1, Me: 0
So, one of the more unpleasant things about living in a rental unit? Having to get re-used to cooking on an electric stove. I have been cooking with gas for four years now (two years in my prior rental unit, and two years in the house In The Flight Path Of An International Airport), and, boy oh boy, what a difference a flame makes! Everyone warned me that once I went pilot light, I would never go back. Man, were they right.
Last week, I attempted to make my first pot of popcorn on our new electric stove. (Sidenote: CLH and I eat, on average, four bowls of popcorn a week. We’ve been making it on the stove from scratch for years now. CLH loves the classic melted butter and salt kind, but I fancy the more eclectic toppings… things like olive oil and nutritional yeast…. or sesame oil and minced seaweed. If you’ve never tried making it from scratch, I highly encourage you. It take minutes, it costs pennies, and believe it or not, it actually fills you up. I especially like to eat it in bed while reading. CLH, however, decidedly DOES NOT LIKE popcorn in the sheets. He’s fussy like that.)
So, last week, I made the popcorn the way I have for years. Only, that method DOES NOT WORK on an electric stove. Turns out that the popcorn KEEPS COOKING even after you turn the heat off. Because that coil? That heinous heating element best suited for campstoves? That red hot spiral of menace? IT’S STILL HOT even after you turn it off. So, when I “turned the heat off”, what I actually did was change the temperature from “branding-ready hot” to “third degree burns hot”. Not much change there, you see. So, the popcorn burned. It burned bad. It burned so bad that, even now, seventeen scourings with white caustic powder and a green scrubbie pad later, it is still encrusted with carbonized corn matter. The pot got so hot (and stinky) that I had to put it out on the steps of the porch to cool it down. Which is where I took this picture.
Since then, the stove and I have made peace. It was actually the tea kettle that made this whole cooking-with-electricity thing clear to me. You’re supposed to REMOVE the cooking vessel from the heating element when it is done heating! Otherwise it screeches at you! Now I remember! It’s all coming back to me. Next week’s lesson: Learning which setting means “not scorched” on the clothes dryer.