The brave new world of kitchen stoves

May 13, 2015

I must admit, my mother’s kitchen looked almost identical to this one.

I promise you I have never, EVER read instructions for a kitchen stove. Ever. Not in the at least 40 years that I’ve been cooking. My habit was to approach a stove, turn it on and start cooking.

Until now.

Let me rewind for a moment.

We recently renovated our kitchen and although the Kenmore gas range that came with our house when we bought it was ok, it just didn’t heat or cook evenly. So I looked up new stoves online and found that Consumer Reports highly recommended a Samsung model. In fact, their tests showed absolutely no drawbacks to that stove at all. None. And that was worth paying attention to, especially when backed up by glowing consumer reviews.

Yes, I know. I could have bought a $6,000 Wolf range to show off, except that I read the reviews and they horrified me. Imagine! People actually spend money on something with such consistently horrible reviews.  Not me, though. I wanted that Samsung that everyone loves. And that was $4,000 cheaper.

stoveThis isn’t the first time Samsung has had a highly rated kitchen appliance. Five years ago a Samsung refrigerator had similarly great reviews but I couldn’t find one easily. The salesman we had begun to work with pissed me off when he told me they didn’t carry Samsung because their customers wanted “American-made.”  I refused to do business with him, because this consumer simply wanted the best product. Regardless of its origin.  I do not wave the flag when I cook. Unless maybe it’s the Italian one. Do not shove your “patriotism” down my throat. If that’s what it it is. But I digress.

This time, though, I ordered the stove. From another dealer.  And as you can see, it looks like any other stove, right?  Still, given the complexities of technology today, I figured I’d read the manual before operating it.

What an eye-opening experience that was!

Now, I must admit, I am not up on my stove technology. So maybe every stove features a Sabbath feature.

SabbathThat’s right. An automatic on and off feature so that observant Jews don’t have to operate it on the Sabbath.

Maybe you know about this. Maybe this is standard on all stoves. But me? I was astounded.

Of course, you have to wonder if it subverts the original intent of Sabbath prohibitions. Just saying. But I won’t go there.

Then, I opened the oven and found this.

wokYes, that ring is sitting on our new counter.  I had no idea what the ring was, so I looked it up in the manual.  It is a wok ring. Yes, that’s right. Set it atop a burner, then set your wok on it for home stir-fry.

You may have seen a wok ring before, but me? I’ve led a sheltered life.

I know it's a bad photo but it wasn't worth retaking. It's just a griddle.

I know it’s a bad photo but it wasn’t worth retaking. It’s just a griddle.

And what new stove worth its salt comes without a griddle? Yes, this is a free-standing griddle for the big, rectangular center burner to its left.  I figured that out all by myself.

Well, I have to admit to being relieved that I now know how to operate this new stove, especially since the manual told me to heat the oven to 400 degrees F for half an hour before using it. Who knew?

Besides the stove in our soon-to-be getaway apartment on the Monterey peninsula I doubt I’ll see another stove, not until they put me in the home.

And by that time I’m certain they won’t be letting me operate kitchen appliances.

Sometimes I wonder if I should be doing it now.

Got a new appliance story? I want to hear it.

27 comments on “The brave new world of kitchen stoves
  1. Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says:

    That is way more high tech than mine. Maybe it’s time for me to upgrade.

  2. Mary says:

    Carol, I will be starting my kitchen remodel in the next few months and have just started looking into appliances. I’m amazed at the range of prices and the range of reviews. I will be checking out the Samsung, thanks for the tip. Love your new countertop!

  3. Sheryl says:

    When did such a simple thing become so complicated? But I suppose that’s the way it goes with all our appliances these days…except maybe a simple toaster?

  4. Wow! Amazing features I’d have never considered. Good thing you read up.

    (Funny: Your first graphic looks JUST LIKE the kitchen in my old house… except for the funky backsplash/wallpaper.)

  5. Ricki says:

    Now you can stir fry on Shabbat!

  6. Sounds like me Carol. I’ve never read an appliance manual.
    I can see why you needed to this time.
    What a beautiful stove. Enjoy!!!

  7. I am with you Carol, you should not have to read instructions to operate a stove or oven lol Too high tech for me! Maybe someday I will upgrade, but for now I am happy with just my regular stove and oven that is easy to operate 🙂

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  8. I’ve slowly been changing over all of my appliances to Samsung. They work better and have a lot more features. I have a Samsung phone and tablet as well and they can operate all of those appliances with its remote control feature! I had never heard of the “Sabbath” feature though or the “wok” ring, wonder where they got that name!

  9. I’ve been renting for the last nine years, so I’ve not been near a new cooker for a while. I’d probably blow a new one up when I get one.

  10. Liz Mays says:

    It’s the best when you get a new appliance and you keep discovering new features. The wok ring must have been a pleasant surprise!

  11. Ruth Curran says:

    My new stove is a GE. I got it because they have this amazing color, Slate, that goes with everything. It too came with a wok ring but no Sabbath setting. Maybe I should take it back and ask for one :)!

  12. Britney says:

    Wow, this is pretty great! Thanks for sharing!

  13. I love your new stove. It would be my dream stove, lol.

  14. Brenda silbernagel says:

    Carol, you make me laugh, out loud and everything. I totally understand the overwhelming ness we must go through in today’s world. Whatever happened to simple choices. Simplicity in anything? I left the grocery store the other day, I could not so much as pick a container of yogurt, the choices were a mile long I’m sure. I just left, with my anxiety intact. A few years ago when we bought our new ” side by side” fridge, with ice and water, and stove, oh my goodness my new stove was without the coil burners. All smoothness. I won’t get started on when we bought a front load washing machine.

  15. I’m just a wee bit confused by the Sabbath setting. I’m not Jewish, but I thought the idea was not to work. Maybe it’s so one can prepare something the day before, put it in the oven, and the stove turns on. Interesting idea.
    My wok came with a wok ring and I think it’s wonderful that one was included with your beautiful stove. I really like the griddle too. But most important is that you are thrilled with it.
    At 72, I’m not into techy stuff. I can do four things with my cell phone; anything else and I have to ask my 12 year old granddaughter–she’s the one who changed the picture on my phone when she was five after I tried for a couple of weeks to do it on my own.

  16. Carolann says:

    That’s too funny! I would have never known what that ring was for. Love the new stove! I guess I will have to remember all this when we update ours!

  17. michelle says:


    And I actually am experiencing stove envy. This is a first.

  18. I cannot wait to redo my kitchen in the fall but I am not looking forward to ‘learning’ the new appliances.

  19. omg! this is so funny! we got an induction stove-top last year, and the technician forgot to put a pot on to get it working!! he went thru the manual several times and thought something was wrong with the product!

  20. Now that’s a nice stove! I’d love to have the grill on mine. And a wok ring? VERY cool!

  21. I have a Samsung stove as well. I had great experience with it until one day it blew up with a POP! Their customer service was great though and fixed it even though it was tad over the warranty. I have never read the manual either. LOL

  22. Archant NZ says:

    The gold ring in that detail above is a “high-efficiency” burner, which has two knobs to control each flame separately. For anyone cooking something super precise (a delicate, brothy masterpiece, for instance), this means you have great control over the exact temperature you need.

  23. Kitchens need to be a good area to prepare food and bond with the family. You can use proper tools and appliance to make this possible.

  24. These are some great tips! And you’ve got it right; it makes a massive difference. Choosing the right Gas Range For Home Chef can be pretty tricky, but this guide made it a lot simpler! Thank you so much for writing; this was helpful!

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