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re: appliances: which are essential for cooking?
12 dec 1998
>john morris wrote:
>
>> well.... the consensus seems to be that i need to buy another stove
>>and forget most of the stand alone appliances.

well, maybe not. last week i was out for a walk and noticed a stove that
looked to be in good shape that someone had put out for rubbish. it was
old, electric, and self-cleaning, with one of those nice burners that has
a spring loaded temperature sensor in the middle that pushes up and touches
the bottom of the pot on that burner to maintain the pot at an exact
temperature. it was a very nice stove.

i might have replaced my newer one with it, but it had those multi-button
switches that turn on the burners when you push down. bad news in a house
with cats. mine once started a small kitchen fire when they lit some junk
mail piled on a burner. not my fault, of course. they started the fire :-)

i didn't want to see this go to waste, so i rang the doorbell and asked
the woman who answered if the stove worked. she looked a little sheepish
and said yes, it was actually her son's and he had just remodeled his
kitchen. it was old, and the wrong color.

so i came back with my pickup ahead of the trashpersons and eventually
took it to the local non-profit recycling services, inc. (http://members
.aol.com/rcyclngsrv/index.html) who recycle a larger variety of objects
and materials than any such center in pennsylvania, and i was surprised
to see manager jim crater (an extremely dedicated recycler and inventor 
recently featured on greenworks for pennsylvania, an award-winning tv
show sponsored by the environmental fund for pennsylvania (800) 334-3190,
www.state.pa.us/ and www.greenworks.state.pa.us) put that stove right into
the "light iron" bin ($10/ton) with his forklift. he said they simply
don't have enough storage space to keep stoves around until somebody
wants one. oh, well... 

janice continues...

>...ask what wattage the burners are rated... if you buy a stove whose
>burners are 900 btu's and 1100 btu's it will take longer to cook. i
>believe mine are 1200 and 1500 btu's.  nice and fast...

this is confusing. i'd just stick with "wattage," ie power, the rate of
energy use. btus are the total amount of energy used. watts are like
miles per hour. btus are like total miles traveled. a kitchen match
contains about 1 btu, and 1 watt is equivalent to 3.41 btu/hour. 

after seeing enough people try to burn food and water in red-hot pots
on an electric stove at a local youth hostel, with resulting clouds of
smoke in the kitchen, and discussing this with the manager, who approved
of the idea, i installed a 3,000 watt automatic swan (english) teakettle
and a 240v outlet wired in parallel with the stove. the teakettle shuts
itself off as soon as the water boils, and if something goes wrong with
the normal shutoff, it heats up and forcefully pops the cord out of its
handle. much safer than all those red-hot pots, and faster, more energy-
efficient, and apt for an ayh sustainable living center :-) 

one btu heats one pound of water 1 f, so making a cup of tea by heating
8 oz of water from 62-212 f requires 75 btu. this would only take
75/5115 = 0.0146 hours or 53 seconds with a 1500 watt (5115 btu/hour)
perfect stove burner, but it really takes a lot longer because the
thermal contact between the burner and water is poor. (it might take
a lot longer if the person who left the pot on the stove forgot, and
the house burned down...) with twice the power and a very good thermal
contact between the water and heating element, the powerful swan does
indeed boil a cup of water for tea in about 30 seconds :-)

it's also nice to look at and very durable, in stainless steel. i got
this one for 5 pounds at a jumble sale in canturbury about 30 years ago,
and finally found a good place to wire it up and plug it in... 

i still have one more, never used, in the original box.

nick




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