On buying new appliances
September 27, 2005
My daughters have been after me for years to replace the old Hobart dishwasher, which was in my house when I moved into it in 1972. But I have always had a soft place in my heart for the old Hobart, the first dishwasher I had ever owned in my life. I looked upon it as a small miracle, second only to the washer/dryer.In recent years, with my dishes increasingly coming out of the dishwasher looking as if they were coated with greasy chicken soup, I had to agree that Something Needed to be Done, and my only hesitation was fear of what might be discovered during the installation of a new one. Replacement of my garbage disposal had resulted in plumbing costs thrice that of the new unit and, sure enough, my $200 dishwasher cost $350 to install. It is true that my dishes now sparkle, but I was shocked that the cleaning cycle is a full 72 minutes long, and that with all the whirling spraying arms (translate: things that can break and will probably be impossible to replace) that you can’t place dishes next to or upon, the capacity is much less than that of the old Hobart.So I run the dishwasher twice as long to clean half the dishes and everything from the silverware basket to the plate racks seem three times as flimsy and I don’t think this puppy is going to last 30 or 40 years but, then again, neither will I.Onward to the new stove, a definite necessity because for several years I have been down to two top burners, an erratic oven and no broiler. Here there was no problem with installation, this being an electric stove: pull the plug on the old one and plug in the new, it was just a matter of lassitude. Fired up by my purchase of the dishwasher, I plunged into the stove. The broken burners and broiler notwithstanding, my main complaint about the old stove was my inability to make proper beef jerky (110 degrees for 10 hours) and fruit leather (put any fruit into the blender, spread it on Saran wrap on a cookie tray, bake at 110 degrees until firm, then roll it up) in my malfunctioning oven.The first thing I did with my new stove was make peach leather, only to find that the digital degrees of the oven bottomed out at 170 degrees. Turns out ALL new stoves stop at 170 degrees. Have they never heard of WARM? Warming plates before serving? Keeping food warm without overcooking? Well, 170 degrees is HOT. At this altitude, it is practically boiling!I turned the oven off and on in an attempt to keep the temperature low enough, and that’s where I ran into digital trouble. I’m not opposed to digital per se, but for this operation every time I turned the oven back on again it reset itself to 350 degrees and I’d have to push the minus button to get it back down to 170.It goes without saying that after 10 times doing this I would forget to turn it down and end up with peach brittle. Ditto with the jerky. As my granddaughter Riley told me when I was struggling with my new self-locking Beetle, “Well, Su, you’re just going to have to change your habits.”Anyway, it’s nice to have four functional burners again. I haven’t tried the broiler yet, having gotten out of the broiler habit when the one in the old stove broke years ago, but I can get back into it. Su Lum is a longtime local who, after all, sort of learned to operate her computer. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.
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