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Thursday, February 8, 2007

As long as I'm being crabby . . .

I may as well note that I'm a bit dissatisfied with the new range I bought several months ago. Because I wasn't remodeling my entire kitchen, I was limited in my range of choices to something that would fit in the existing space and had a downdraft vent. I had also decided not to upgrade to gas until I do the down-to-the-studs remodel I have penciled in for when Number Two starts school. So, it had to be a Jenn-Air slide-in range, and it had to be electric. Then I had two options: one with removable burner cartridges, or one with a seamless Ceran top. All other Jenn-Air cooktops I had previously used, including the one I was getting rid of and the one I grew up with, had the removable burner cartridges, and I knew they would eventually have trouble with spotty connections that would lead to the burners occasionally losing power at inopportune moments. So, I opted for the seamless Ceran top.

Unfortunately, they didn't tell me that the burners aren't just on or off, with the level of "on" determined by how much juice they send through the coils, and a "high" setting resulting in the burner glowing a steady red. No, the burners on this fancy new, supposedly better range cycle between all the way on (red hot) and all the way off, controlling the level of heat much the same way a microwave oven does, by varying the length and period of the "on" cycle. Unlike a microwave, however, which at 100% power is always on, this stove still cycles even on "high." I'm guessing it must be because the Ceran cannot tolerate sustained high temperatures, but as a practical matter it means that water takes longer to boil, and that anything I'm trying to heat takes a three steps forward, one step back path up to the desired temperature.

I think I'm going to write a letter to the company, telling them that this is something I really would have liked to know before buying. Sheesh.



Blogger MWR said...

So, if I understand you correctly, if you set it for simmer, it might go at full blast for one second and then be off for 20 seconds, and so on? That's crazy.

Won't this make it rather difficult to prepare some dishes?

February 8, 2007 at 3:09 PM  
Blogger JMK said...

JA: I could have saved you a headache... We have one of these and I absolutely hate, hate, hate it! Not only does it take longer for water to boil, but I can't get oil hot enough to get a good scald on fried chicken. Plus, it's hell to clean if even the least innocuous thing spills over on it--like water. Had I known you were going to get one of these I would have very strongly discouraged you getting this. I long for the traditional stove top with coil burners and drip pans... At least, that is, until we remodel the kitchen and put in a gas, which is what the cheap-ass lout who renovated this place should have done to begin with.

February 9, 2007 at 3:41 AM  
Blogger JMK said...

That should have said "a gas unit and cook top." Blah.

February 9, 2007 at 3:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dammit Janet, I should have asked you about it last spring--I think I bought mine in May or something.

And M--the Ceran retains quite a bit of heat, so the temperature underneath the pan doesn't go all the way down during the "off" cycles.

February 9, 2007 at 10:18 AM  
Blogger MWR said...

Do you suppose it is "smart" in its on/off cycles. For example, if you have a five gallon pot of cold water on the element, will it give you a longer duration of "on" at any given setting because the heat is presumably being drawn off very fast?

I doubt it.

It can't be as bad as I imagine in actual use, but it really sounds awful.

February 9, 2007 at 5:32 PM  
Blogger Dr Lala said...

...induction....go induction....

I have an irrational fear of gas. Probably from living in crappy student housing with leaky gas lines to the gas stoves? I know it's irrational, but there it is.

When I bought my house in France, it had an (ancient, pathetic, absolutely must be replaced) gas cooktop, but it was CANISTER gas - there was a line drilled through the wall, and right outside - the gas canister. Needless to say, that went by the wayside.

and for unclear reasons, although there is a natural gas pipeline running right through my property - no natural gas into the house. and according to the French authorities, not getting none either.

February 10, 2007 at 11:13 AM  

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