Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Stove Envy

Cooking for a crowd of hungry mourners is a pleasure when you have equipment like this. Not only do you get to offer a kind of solid comfort to people you love, you also get to play around on a cook's dream.

Two huge ovens, six burners, a broiler, a grill and two warming lights. Heaven! It's my Belle-Mere's gas-fired Magic Chef, a beast so large that the kitchen was actually built around it by the previous owners, Texas millionnaires who apparently employed a professional cook - it would never have fit through the door.

You use matches from a big box of wooden ones to light it, a faintly exciting event with a delicious hint of danger about it. The puff of blue flame always slightly startles.

I have always coveted it and enjoyed concocting family food on it, but it really came into its own after the memorial service for my Belle-Mere when it was heating easily in a single oven a huge pan of lasagna, an equally impressive pan of mac and cheese and a medium-sized ham. We didn't even bother lighting the second oven!

My Belle-Mere was always a casual cook who bought impressive cuts of meat as the centerpiece of any meal she made and added a couple of veggies to round it out. She moved around her kitchen with a calm, unhurried air and the food always emerged perfectly cooked and served at the same time without apparent effort, on plates warmed under one of the warming lights. I think the Magic Chef was part of her recipe for culinary success but her own natural calm was the other ingredient. I have never seen her flustered, either in the kitchen, on her boat, or anywhere else. She had a marvelous personal peacefulness that one would call dignity in a stuffier woman, but her spark of humor and self deprecation rescued her from stuffiness.

Maybe hers was just an old soul, one of those that had recycled through the ages enough times that it had smoothed off its rough edges. Whatever the reason, I admit not only to stove envy but also to calm envy.

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Blogger Nerissa said...

Dear God in Heaven! I want a stove like that when I grow up too! Actually it's almost intimidating in the picture. I'd feel like I was insulting it by not using it to its full capacity. LOL What a lucky woman Belle Mere was to have such a paragon of ovenly beauty. I'm sure the Magic Chef admired and enjoyed her calm attentions.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008  
Blogger namastenancy said...

Your love and her quality just shine from these posts. Whether old soul or not, you make her personality sing forth. Furthermore, I covet that stove and not in a calm way!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Ohgah! USS Enterprise. I'm jealous too, but mostly scared of it.
Happy calmness, Zoomie. Hope it's getting a bit easier.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008  
Blogger dancingmorganmouse said...

One day, when I grow up, I will have a stove just like that one. May have to get a bigger house to fit it in but it would be totally worth the sacrifice. Wow, what a kitchen, and what lovely memories buzzing around it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Nerissa, isn't it amazing? A little intimidating but, like, wow!

Nancy, the stove has that effect on people.

Cookiecrumb, right now, I'm in the slump that comes after I get home and the tension is over. Spent the whole day wrapping presents... good antidote for the blahs.

Morgan, I've thought about stealing it out of the house, which will likely be sold now, but couldn't figure out how to wedge it into my tiny kitchen. It's larger than my whole kitchen!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008  

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