Does anyone else remember the phrase, “Now we’re cookin’ with gas!” ? According to Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (17th ed.) it means “To meet with success, do well. The phrase is often used in the exclamation ‘Now we’re cooking with gas,’ denoting that at last satisfactory progress is being made. It emerged in the USA in the 1940s” (p.311). [BTW, Terry Pratchett wrote the Foreword for this edition. 🙂 ] However, I use it in the title of this blog entry because now we are literally cooking with gas.
Some time ago, our electric stove top broke. I’d learned to cook with natural gas, and up until about 14 years ago had cooked with it or propane. There are techniques to cooking with gas or electricity, and I never felt comfortable with electric stove tops. For instance, once the rice comes to a boil, you can’t turn down an electric burner and have it immediately drop to low heat. Anyway, when the electric stove top broke, I invested in a lovely, five-burner propane stove top (above). But when I contacted the local propane gas companies, neither had anyone who would come out and hook it up for me . . . unless I rented one of their big tanks. Previous experience told me I’d be better off with a couple smaller tanks I could refill myself, so I looked for someone who could set that up for me. No one wanted the job. Since I have respect for what a mistake with propane can do, I wanted someone who knew what they were doing — not a friend’s friend who “does stuff like that.”
Time passed. I got really good at cooking for two with a 2-burner hot plate, oven, and microwave. Even managed a couple dinners for six (no mean feat). But this Summer I became determined to get that propane stove top hooked up, even if it meant getting one of those big tanks. I spent several weeks clearing brush and a place for the tank. Decided I’d better be sure how close it could be to the house, and how long their refill hose was, so I contacted Blue Star Gas. I spoke directly with the man who does their installations, and he said a big tank would be a waste of time and money — I wouldn’t use that much propane in a year. How about getting a couple small tanks and installing them next to the house? My jaw dropped — guess I just had to wait for the right combination of people and circumstances.
Two weeks later, the man from Blue Star Gas installed my little tanks and the stove top. I didn’t have the electric pilots operational until yesterday (when the electrician took care of that connection), so I used matches at first. The first night I cooked stir fry (the wok wouldn’t fit on a hot plate) and a big pot of rice. Heaven! Then a big pot of soup, into which I threw in everything I knew both of us like in soups. Put in a bit more barley than I needed, so it became barley soup, but it was gone in two days (yum!). The second big pot of soup was black bean soup — I ate most of that one, but that was okay. I love homemade soups, because I don’t have to worry about MSG or a lot of salt. A couple nights ago I fixed a sort-of skillet stir-fry with pieces of pork, onion, garlic, celery, corn, and misc. herbs, then served it over rice. Yum, again!
According to feng shui, the more working burners you have in a kitchen, the more prosperity will come in. (Eventually there will be a long strip of mirror behind our stove top, “doubling” the number of burners.) I do know I enjoy being in the kitchen again. Am not a gourmet cook, and I jump at the chance to eat at favorite restaurants, but there is something so satisfying about cooking a delicious, nutritious meal for those you love (or even just for yourself!). This propane stove top just made that act much easier, and much more enjoyable. My life feels more in balance now. All because “we’re cookin’ with gas!” 🙂