Grandmother's Gas Stove
Even though the spring on the door of the warming compartment expired with a thud last week and the door on the main oven gapes a little stupidly and has for all of my littlest one’s life, I’m not planning on getting a new stove. This one belonged to my grandmother and she got it second hand around fifty years ago when she first moved to a battered Southern Humboldt cabin from the big city of Eureka.
Forget microwaving food, even quick cooking oatmeal stirred over this stove’s burners feels like a nasty rush job. I’m a hasty throw together type myself but this stove has infused my kitchen with my grandmother’s life—I cook slow and from scratch more often than not.
In this oven I learned to bake my family’s favorite foods—popovers, pot roasts, homemade bread, and a few but memorable blackberry pies (Summer passes too fast even in slow kitchens like mine). From the burners come pots of sizzling venison stew, waffles made on old fashioned irons heated on the flames, and pans of hot chocolate waiting for a cool dollop of cream, hand whipped to cloud heights.
For no discernable reason, the winding timer on the back of the stove sometimes drones a warning that something, somewhere is needing my attention. I suppose that could mean it is broken but, to me, it feels like a grandmotherly reminder that life needs us to look around and see if someone, somewhere needs a little help.
The stove doesn’t have the modern amenities. There’s no self-cleaning oven and no easy clean surface. What it does have though is the spirit of a time gone by telling me—flavor is more important than speed when you cook, life is more about savoring an experience than about getting through a task, and grandmothers are still with you even when they’re no longer able to hold you close.