I’ve used an electric stove
for all the years I’ve been cooking and have become accustomed to both the curlicues and the flat top ranges. But in my years of teaching cheesemaking, my students who have gas stoves at home sing the praises of cooking with gas. Lucky for me, our move to the Penrose countryside in January brought with it five acres, a household bullet-style propane tank in the yard and a gas stove.
There are benefits to cooking with gas. Proponents love that the level of heat can be instantly regulated, and when you're finished cooking or, in my case, when the pot of heating milk is about to boil over, you can simply turn the stove off and all heat ceases — unlike electric ranges that have historically caused me to juggle turning off the burner, grabbing hot pads and attempting to yank the frothing pot off the stove before it boils over onto me and everything else.
Cooking with gas does have an unexpected learning curve, one that has twice put the integrity of my kitchen at risk. You see, cooking with gas, as one might realize, involves actual fire. Flames come licking out of the burner in an extremely hot, light-other-things-on-fire fashion. The good news is I haven’t lit myself on fire. The bad news is that I have to change the way I make spaghetti.
On an electric top, I bring the water to a boil and put the full-length noodles in, leaving the excess sticking out of the pot, and just let hot water and gravity take over until they all eventually sink into the water. I learned this doesn't work on a gas stove when the ends of the noodles looked like the charred remains of 4th of July sparklers
Another cooking technique that’s caused some alarm is my method of warming tortillas. On an electric range, I turn it on and throw a corn tortilla straight on the burner where it slowly heats up to a palatable consistency. There’s never been a need to break out the fire extinguisher. But remember when I mentioned that cooking with gas means cooking with fire? It also means flaming tortillas. I've realized there can be no walking away from the burner when toasting tortillas unless you want to return to a tortilla inferno.
I think I'll prefer my gas stove top over all others in the end, but the jury's still out. The speed and precision of cooking versus the lighting my sweater on fire when I reach over a burner to stir the chili on the back burner; I'll let you know how it goes.
Lindsey is a city girl turned urban farm girl. She and her family are the proud stewards of a few milking goats, a lot of working chickens, an organic garden and a budding orchard. Just around the corner is the city. But she, and her farm, are hidden by the rocks. Follow her on Twitter (@goatcheeselady) and FaceBook (The Goat Cheese Lady) or visit her website (thegoatcheeselady.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Lindsey at: firstname.lastname@example.org.