Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Turning the heat up in the kitchen

I suppose when most people hear about house building, they think about what colour the walls are going to be, and what's going in the kitchen, so I'm pleased to say this post has nothing to do with thermodynamics, lumps of wood or bits of wire. 

We're getting a Toshiba IH cooking top. They seem to have the best design, at least among Japanese models. A lot of cookers seem to have been made by somebody who has never had to clean one. Actually, that's true not just of cookers, but of many appliances here, and even of houses. It may be a sweeping generalisation, and a little sexist, but most architects are men, and most of them don't do any washing up, cleaning or cooking.

A lot of the cookers have edges designed to attract grime, but the Toshiba has a flush top with bevelled edges. A lot of them have a control panel that swings out with lots of buttons and switches on it. When we looked at an earlier model, the Toshiba just had a touch screen as part of the glass top. Unfortunately it looks like the newer model has imitated its rivals with the control panel that swings out. Increasing the number of moving parts doesn't fall into my definition of progress.

Actually AEG and Electrolux had the best design, as the Toshiba has an air vent coming out of the top at the back. Most of the Japanese IH tops have two airvents coming out of the back. One is for the grill, a standard part of a Japanese cooker, while the other is for excess heat coming off the IH parts. The Toshiba just has one for the grill. It seems like a grill is an indispensable part of the kitchen, and it's difficult to find cooking tops which don't have one, but they do seem to take a lot of cleaning. I keep thinking the old-style English gas cooker design, with the grill at the top would suit a Japanese kitchen with limited space. The grill would then be just under the extractor hood, and the heat in the summer, and the fragrance from grilled fish and smoke from burnt toast would go outside much quicker. The extractor hood may need a lot more cleaning though.

The other thing is the oven. We had planned to have an oven under the cooker, but it turns out that Toshiba have stopped making them. Because these kinds of ovens use the same vents as the cooking tops, we can't just stick an oven from another maker underneath. Another problem is that sticking an oven from another maker underneath the cooking top would mean that the controls are very low down. So it's going on the other side of the kitchen, next to the window, where the microwave was going to go. It'll be higher up, so the controls will be easy to get to. Ovens these days can work as microwaves too, but we may put a microwave in the pantry so the little one can heat up cups of milk when something is cooking. I'm sure we'd survive with just one cooking machine though.  Apparently people used to just sit around fires burning wood.