If you are a foodie and enjoy cooking, there is no more important appliance than the range in your kitchen. This is your sorcery table that has the power to transform a raw hunk of meat into a succulent roast or oversized shoe leather. A poor quality stove highlights your mistakes and shortcomings while a better one will compliment your talents.
Though this may be a food blog, my knowledge of cooking goes beyond the food. It just so happens I am an appliance expert as well and I am going help guide you into selecting a range that will get your more satisfaction out of your cooking.
The first decision you need to make is gas or electric. Most homes around the Fox Valley have electric ranges. Electric ovens are best for their even heating and drier cooking environment. One of the byproducts of cooking with gas is water vapor which will prevent you from getting your best results from scratch made breads and other items that bake best in a dry environment. So if you bake primarily you will likely be interested in an electric stove.
Gas ranges however have benefits too. Most serious cooks prefer to cook on a gas rather than electric cooktop. Gas cooktops are more responsive - the heat is instantly on or instantly off, it does not have to heat up or cool down. Plus you have infinite control over the flame throughout your cooking.
Due to my love of cooking I recently re-piped my kitchen to accommodate a gas stove. Most homes are only set up for one power source so unless you plan to invest in similar project you will likely replace your stove with one of the same power source.
The next choice you need to make is standard or convection oven. If you are reading my blog I will assume you care about your cooking beyond that of your typical Swanson frozen dinner enthusiast. I strongly recommend a convection oven. Convection ovens cook more evenly than standard ovens. They have a fan in the rear of the oven that circulates the hot air around the oven cavity ensuring that your cookies on the lowest rack cook at the same rate and evenness as the cookies on the upper rack. Yes, that is right; you will no longer have to keep rotating your cooking sheets.
Convection ovens cook 20 -30% faster than a standard baking oven and will always yield superior results. Your baked goods will be more moist and your meats will be juicier. Want a good bark on your roast? The convection fan will dry moisture on the outside of your roast allowing it to bake nice and crispy while the juices stay sealed on the inside.
Finally, when making your purchase, be sure to get the appropriate connections for the stove as well. A gas stove will come with the cord to connect it because it is just a regular plug that will go in any standard outlet. However you will need a flexible gas pipe if you do not already have one. Electric stoves however do not come with cords. This is not because anyone is trying to screw you or nickel and dime you, it is because different homes need different cords. Homes older than 1996 likely require a 3 prong cord and newer homes require a 4 prong cord. Obviously manufacturers are not running charities so it would not make sense for them to include both cords with the appliance. It would drive the cost up unnecessarily, leaving you paying for one more cord than you really need. Don’t argue with your salesman about this. It will just make you look unnecessarily combative and make him want to accommodate you on other things less.
I have been selling appliances for Sears for 8 of the past 13 years. I would be happy to help you select your appliances as well. You can find the Fox Valley Foodie at Sears in the Fox River Mall hiding under the moniker, Ben.