The beast

Our new beast, a GE 30” Slide In, Front Control, Gas Range.

The first thing that happened was the old stove croaked. According to Consumer Reports, the average lifespan of any oven, dishwasher, washer, dryer, or fridge is now eight to 12 years. When we bought this house 2 1/2 years ago, all the appliances were 15 years old. It should have come as no surprise when the oven died. I’ve already replaced the dishwasher and only last month the hot water heater went kaput.

The oven’s death was dramatic. The oven screamed bloody murder and then smoke billowed out. When it died, the “off” button ceased to work and for one fearful moment I thought we might have to call the fire department. Then Mr. Sax had the sense to flip the circuit breaker which turned the darned thing off. After the smoke cleared, I did a little research on line. The next morning I called J&S Appliance and Home Furnishings in Warrenton and ordered a new range.

Without going into a lot of details, let’s say choices were limited. This house was built in 1954; 18 years ago, someone gave it a major overhaul. Some would say this kitchen is ripe for redo. But it has a lot of nicely aged marble and attractive cabinetry that is unfashionably dark but still handsome. Only the slide-in, front-control range style would fit the cabinetry. Needless to say, these models tend to be more spendy. Also adding to the cost are “dual fuel” models where the oven is electric and the stove top gas. In the interest of saving money I went with full on gas. The last time I had a full on gas range was in a tenement apartment in Greenwich Village in 1970s. You needed a match to light the burners, and to light the oven, you had to crawl halfway inside and torch the pilot light. This often resulted in singed eyebrows and eyelashes.

They’ve come a long way with gas ranges. For starters, now they’re electricity ignited. The model I chose has a steam-clean self-clean option. I called on a Monday morning. J&S ordered it and delivered and installed it on Thursday. Everyone was super nice. Even though it was a few days shy of their Black Friday sale, they gave me an excellent price. 

Now back to the stove.

“I’m a little afraid of it,” I confided to my friend who lives in New York. We talk at least twice a week. “It doesn’t seem tame like the rest of my appliances. I know this sounds crazy, but it feels wild and alive.”

“It is alive,” she said. I could hear her chewing while we talked. I didn’t mind. “That’s why I won’t use the gas fireplace the last owner of my house installed. I can’t bear the idea of an always open flame.”

“Well, that doesn’t bother me at all,” I said. “We have two gas fireplaces. Our dryer runs on gas, as does our furnace. If I took it into my head to be leery of gas, I couldn’t live here.”

Meanwhile the new stove, a GE 30-inch slide-in front-control gas range, holds a commanding position in my kitchen. It does seem to be breathing. It makes a whooshing sound when you turn it on that for the uninitiated, sounds like something’s blowing up.

“Stove envy,” a friend commented when I posted its picture on social media. Other comments included, “Nice! Jealous!” and “I love the built-in griddle!” A friend in Gearhart recalled that for 27 years she cooked on a 1945 vintage GE Frigidaire electric stove. When she remodeled her kitchen, she went for gas. She was apprehensive because of an incident that happened just after her high school graduation when a group of friends rented a place in Cannon Beach. It had a gas oven. Unwittingly they took a match to the stove when they shouldn’t.


That said, I’m ready to shake those pots and pans. I was thinking of giving the range a name. I was thinking of calling it “Brutus.”

If you’re in the market for a new range, I totally recommend giving full on gas a shot. True, electric is better for baking but I don’t bake. I roast.

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