Friday, January 04, 2008

The Invisible Ingredient in Every Kitchen - New York Times

The Invisible Ingredient in Every Kitchen - New York Times: "Among the major culprits here are inefficient appliances. According to the United States Department of Energy, a gas burner delivers only 35 to 40 percent of its heat energy to the pan; a standard electrical element conveys about 70 percent. Anyone thinking about kitchen renovation should know that induction cooktops, which generate heat directly within the pan itself, are around 90 percent efficient. They can out-cook big-B.T.U. gas burners, work faster, don’t heat up the whole kitchen, and are becoming more common in restaurant kitchens."

Having used both gas and electric there are good and bad sides to each.

Electric may be more efficient but if you can't turn it down to a simmer it is useless. We use the crockpot a lot more now because there is no real low on our electric stove. Once something is boiling it stays boiling which makes doing stove top pot roast really hard.

Gas has one really great thing going for it. It usually still works even if the power is out. That means a whole lot when you are stuck at home in a blizzard and the lights and furnace are out. It means hot food and drink and a warm kitchen.

Multistep cooking sounds fun. Actually steaming is one thing that the microwave does best and that takes way less energy then an electric stove would. Combined with a torching afterwards to caramelize the outside it could be a lot of fun and quite tasty.

One thing that drives me crazy in our too small kitchen is keeping food warm. Something I'll have to try is spraying dishes with water and microwaving them for a minute or two to warm them up. Might work.

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