I’m re-doing my 1985 vintage kitchen. A few months ago I ripped the handle off an oven, four burners have never been enough, and the ancient dishwasher is so loud it sounds like a street-cleaning machine. The cabinet veneer is peeling. The wimpy double ovens are horribly slow, poorly callibrated, and situated in a doorway making me turn sidways everytime I try to access them. (Forget about induction — that came much later). I could go on. Take, for example, the white tile floor. Anybody tried to keep a white tile floor clean in a heavily trafficked kitchen? It’s hopeless, and I can’t take it anymore.
To be fair, there are a few things I’ve loved. The blue granite countertops. Can’t see a speck of dirt, or a streak of water. The Franke double sink. With my CSA veggies, I use that smaller sink every week to rinse the dirt till the water comes clean.
But now I’m back to square one, making every decision. It can be unnerving (these should be the worst of my problems). After years of cooking in dilapidated rental apartments or student housing, I am picking my own kitchen for the first time. This probably sounds like a case of too much disposable income to most people. And it’s true. But this is not a trophy kitchen, it is very much in use. I had 14 people for shabbat dinner last Friday, and every night my family of 5 sits down to dinner. We eat home-cooked food almost every meal. This kitchen is a workhorse, and I use every square inch of it. Yes, I am blessed.
Back to the decisions. Anyone read about induction cooking? Essentially, it’s an MRI under my countertop. Induction cooking uses magnetic technology to spin the electrons in a ferromagnetic pan (you can tell one if a magnet sticks to it), thus heating up the pan. Two downsides as far as I can tell. Uses a lot of electricity (though more efficient than standard electric cooktops), and makes a faint whirring sound from a fan cooling down the magnet. It’s supposed to be super fast, and highly precise, e.g. perfect for heating sugar to the soft ball stage. Almost all my pans are already compatible, so that’s not a problem.
So, of course I’m getting a 12-inch, two burner induction cooktop. Unless someone convinces me differently. It doesn’t draw too much electricity, and I make so many puddings, lemon curds and things that require precise heating, I figure I’ll use it. Plus, it’s fast. Can’t wait to test which burner boils pasta water faster, the large induction burner or the big gas one. (Have always been a bit of a kitchen geek).
Regarding kashrut issues, I found out that fancy sink manufacturers sell racks that fit exactly into the bottom of the sink, for separating meat from dairy. Figured I’d better get the one that fits, just in case we go down that road someday. I intend to have my new sink for at least 20 years. What are the chances that the induction technology holds up that well? It doesn’t hurt to hope.