Too Many Regulators in the Kitchen

By Tony Moorby February 21, 2023

A government department is going to embroil us in a new social argument – one that will seethe with invective for a while as people’s tempers boil over.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is considering whether to regulate gas stoves due to health concerns from indoor air pollution. They are “considering” ceasing production of new gas stoves after a certain date on the basis that they could be considered dangerous as an indoor appliance, emitting noxious fumes and gases into a house’s atmosphere!

So, some nincompoop panjandrum in D.C. who wouldn’t know the benefits or beauty of cooking with gas, wants to dictate that anyone who loves to cook and be in total control in the kitchen should cede that joy to an electric piece of equipment that’s as useful as a chocolate firescreen. 

As an enthusiastic home cook, this gets me really fired up! I know electric range users are keen on their stoves, but they don’t know any better! Seriously, keeping an electric cooktop looking pristine is even more difficult than cleaning its gas counterpart. The tiniest blemish shows up like a wart on a hog’s backside and smears are almost impossible to eliminate. Burnt jam is like molten lava, which then turns to that black volcanic rock and permanently forms new land! Cleaning equipment necessities would keep a used car reconditioner happy. 

Then there’s the question of control – it barely exists with electric – by the time you’ve turned the burner up to warm your leftovers, Kilauea has turned them to incinerated ashes. Turn the burner down to simmer and you end up with Antarctica  - nothing. It’s almost impossible to have just a warm setting with electric tops, even a low setting is just ‘off’ for a greater amount of time than it’s ‘on’ – it’s a question of controlling ‘all or nothing’.

With gas, on the other hand, you can go from Dante’s inferno down to a bare flame, keeping a stock blipping with a bubble every five seconds for hours at a time. 

I’ve had both over the years and can attest to the efficacy of gas ranges all the way back to when we had one in our apartment, after the war, in a kitchen no bigger than a handkerchief! As kids, our kitchen table abutted the side of the stove. My brother or I sat on the draining board next to the sink to stir the oatmeal for twenty minutes on cold winter mornings before school, keeping warm at the same time leaning over the flames. Neither of us was ever overcome with fumes!

Extraction systems, nowadays, are amazing; our current set-up could suck a golf ball through a garden hose. It’s quiet too – the fan unit sits under the house about fifty feet away from the stove’s downdraft fitting. I can cook onions and stand by the cook top and not smell a thing.

As to noxious fumes, I’d almost guarantee, for anyone living in town, the fumes outside the front door are far worse than anything generated within. Even worse if you live by the power station that’s making the electricity for your “clean” electric stove.

I think we should hold these administrators’ feet to the fire until they agree to leave this issue on the back burner!

Last modified on Tuesday, 21 February 2023 15:46