#MicroblogMondays: The Oven

Sunday night, we were doing a million things since Monday marked our household’s return to work and school. We were prepping ingredients for beef stew, a hearty multi-day meal that would relieve us from cooking and be perfect for the polar vortex due later this week.

I slipped the beef into the oven and was surprised and aghast to smell something charred and smoky coming from the oven an hour into the stew’s first cook. All the liquid had evaporated and was charring on the bottom of the pan. Baffled, I separated the meat, scrubbed the pan and added triple the liquid I normally did. The beef and its veggies seemed to perform as expected the next hour.

An hour later, I put a pan of 4 burritos into the oven for 20 minutes at 350. Twenty minutes later I start to smell the charred, smoky smell again. When I took out the burritos, I saw some of the cheese had blackened. Technically the dish still had another 10 minutes, but there was no way I was risking that.

I was confused. Neither recipe was a new recipe. I make beef stew every few months and hadn’t deviated. Same thing for the burritos. Plus, I’m a good cook. I’m no Food Network Star, but I can follow & tweak a recipe into something pretty good. I take pride in my cooking, so the oven trouble inexperienced was disconcerting. I chalked it up to chance and the weather. It had been an odd winter day with temperatures in the 70s and rain & severe storms. Maybe cooking on this day was like making fudge, in which the temperature and humidity mattered?

Tonight I turned on the oven to bake mini pizzas for Daniel’s lunch and the oven flashed “Failure!” That was odd. Jimmy reset it and we were able to finish the pizzas. A pan of rolls did not fare as well and soon, the oven had that familiar charred, smoky smell. And it was beeping “failure” messages again. Clearly, something was wrong with the oven. I felt vindicated because I now knew that it wasn’t my fault we had the cooking issues the night before. The bad news was that our oven was obviously on the fritz.

We bought that oven over Thanksgiving weekend in 2008. I remember it because we were just out of the first trimester with Daniel and had blood drawn a few days earlier for the quad screen. I was a panicky mess. Our microwave had broken that week, so we needed to get a new one. Thanks to Thanksgiving sales, Jimmy wanted to get a new, matching stove too. I vividly remember sitting in the rocking chairs outside of Lowes as we debated the pros and cons. I was at the point of our pregnancy in which I wanted to bury my head in the sand until someone told me everything would be OK. Maybe I thought I would hate the stove if bad things came to pass; it would be the Stove of Doom (I wasn’t very rational at that time). I agreed to buy the microwave and stove. I also decided to resume my anti-anxiety medication.

There isn’t any real point to that story except I have vivid memories of buying it thanks to the time in our life it was. But I need a stove/oven that works. And I’m glad my cooking doesn’t suck suddenly. Damn it.



  1. I remember having similar qualms about purchases during TTC and pregnancy. Every purchase had the potential for bringing bad luck – we actually moved because I was convinced our house had bad juju. Ack.

    Anyway I’m sorry the oven of (not) doom isn’t working. We’re about to start a total remodel of our house (!!) and we’re looking at ovens/ranges too. Our oven now is from the 1960s and the door doesn’t shut. ๐Ÿ˜‰ we’re hearing good things good things about kitchen aid?

    1. I’ve gotta chime in! Our entire kitchen is kitchen aid and from what we’ve researched, it’s their higher end (we didn’t build the house and are second owners, so didn’t pick the appliances). We’ve researched because we’ve had issues with everything but the stove. We hate, HATE the dishwasher (my sis had a kitchen aid one too and had to replace it) and have quality issues with the microwave (steam from the stove caused the handle to crack and need to be replaced, a common problem we found in our research). The fridge works but climate control in there is almost impossible.

      I’d recommend something else!

      1. Thanks! I should probably write a post about this ๐Ÿ™‚ we’re actually only looking at the Kitchenaid for the oven, not anything else…but that is really great info. Appreciate it!

  2. In our first apartment in grad school, right before having people over, our oven suddenly shot out flames horizontally and died. It charred the top of the otherwise uncooked cheesecake we were baking. We ended up going over to the friends’ place instead of them coming to ours and finished cooking in their oven.

  3. It’s funny, the associations we make. Isn’t it?

    Our oven is also on crack. The stovetop didn’t work when we moved in, and we had to replace the whole circuit board. Now, if you don’t turn the vent fan on, too much steam will cause it to beep ceaselessly unless you unplug it and wait an hour. Grrrrr. I will never purchase a glass top again.

    Best oven I ever had was a 1970s range in an apartment. Harvest gold, to match the avocado refrigerator, naturally.

    1. My current accommodations include a vintage 1960s or so fridge and electric range with both upper and lower ovens. I love it and that it still works when the dishwasher and fridge at home are both much newer and on their last legs. I hope your new oven is fantastic for years to come.

  4. Our oven did a couple of weird things over the Christmas holidays too- almost burning two different things. I know it runs hot but it seems to be having random spikes in temperature. I’m hoping it was just being cranky, because we love it and we just had to replace our washing machine last fall, so we don’t want to replace something else too!

    I am totally with you about bad associations. I was terrible when pregnant about bringing things into the house too.

  5. That sucks that it broke that soon. We went through that recently with the dishwasher. The dishwasher we bought a few years ago crapped out and we had to buy a new one because fixing the old one made no sense with the cost. That’s sort of scary with the oven malfunctioning like that. I wonder if it could have started a fire if you had left something in for the normal amount of time. Like if you were away from the kitchen and not smelling the burned smell.

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