Hot on the trail of a new stove

By Tammy Keith Published April 20, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.
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Our Easter dinner could be interesting today.

My husband planned to bake a ham, like he always does, and make cheese grits, like he always does. The other sides are negotiable.

I’ve noticed for a long time that our oven cooks slowly. However, when it took more than an hour to bake a cake that should have taken 25 minutes, we knew there was a problem.

Our 15-plus-year-old oven bit the dust.

I called our handy-dandy service guy, who diagnosed it as a control-panel problem. He got on the phone to find the part, but it wasn’t available. He said the panel could be rebuilt — for several hundred dollars — but he couldn’t in good conscience recommend it.

I agreed.

“We could just eat out all the time,” I joked to the repairman.

But, my husband likes to cook, and I was determined to get an oven by Easter.

I started doing research while the repairman still had his head in my oven.

The repairman gave me a crash course on stoves, or ranges, as they’re called online. I learned that I have a drop-in stove — it doesn’t go all the way to the floor. I could have a slide-in model, but that would mean cutting my cabinet at the bottom.

Instead of calling my husband, the first phone call I made was to my countertop guy. He is the best. If every handyman-type person were like him, life would be so much easier.

He came to my house almost immediately to assess the situation. He’d put in our quartz countertops a few months ago, and I sure didn’t want to mess anything up. He measured and said what he always says: “It’s not a big deal.”

My husband was not thrilled to hear the news that we needed to spend a chunk of money, unexpectedly, on an appliance.

He did suggest that since he’s moving to Mississippi again this summer to work on his doctorate, I will not be needing the oven.

True. Lean Cuisines were made for microwaves.

My husband and I started shopping, and I read comments online about different models. The big debate was smooth tops, which are glass, versus coils.

Wow. I mean, people got heated about the topic. The comments turned to gas-versus-electric, and things got really nasty.

We looked in showrooms and stores, talked to salesmen, measured (thanks to my handy-dandy measuring tape I inherited from my mother-in-law) and still couldn’t decide.

The kitchen is my husband’s domain, though, so I am not going to argue strongly one way or another. Me giving him advice on an oven would be like him giving me advice on high heels.

Still, it’s Easter, and it would be nice to have a working oven.

I asked my future daughter-in-law if we could cook at her apartment, and she said that would be fine. But, she has no kitchen table, so we’d need to bring our own.

Some people eat out for Easter lunch or brunch, but I’d rather have a home-cooked meal.

A good friend of ours heard our plight and invited us over for her traditional ham, candied apples and asparagus.

Not having a stove could be the best thing that ever happened.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or

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