The Kitchen is not my Kingdom
While some women may love to spend time in the kitchen I am not one of them. The whole process of time spent preparing a nice meal and cleaning up afterwards seems like a waste of time when you consider the minutes it takes for people to wolf it down. For me, meals are an inconvenient interruption to my work that needs to be done. For this reason and maybe a few others, my children aren’t real happy when their dad is gone for a week.
Last week when Mike was away I was prepared to offer my children the meal choices they are accustomed to when Mike is gone. Peanut Butter, Jelly or Peanut Butter and Jelly. Once in awhile I give them the option of canned soup, microwave macaroni and cheese or ramen noodles. But Sunday night, the first night Mike was gone, I told them to make their own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I knew they had eaten because I saw them go back for a second one. After I had tucked the kids in for the night I went into the kitchen to make sure things were put away.
Their sandwich makings were of course left out on the counter for me to clean up. A canister of brown sugar, a canister of white sugar, a shaker of cinnamon and butter. I don’t remember seeing the peanut butter or the jelly. The next night I decided I better prepare a meal for them. When I told Abby we were going to have steaks for dinner the next day she asked me who was going to cook them.
As you may remember my house was freezing last week. While baking in the summer is taboo in my house turning the oven on in the winter is a blessing. I decided to make baked potatoes in the oven and then use my broiler for their steaks. It was so cozy I almost had to take off one of my sweatshirts when I was in the kitchen. I let the heat from the oven spread to my living room.
Having the oven on worked so nicely to heat up my house I decided to do it again the next night. A meatloaf in the oven for a couple of hours helped bring the thermometer up a few notches. The next night I let the Lasanga warm up my house. Now I understand the title of the cookbook, "The Joy of Cooking." The author must have lived in a very cold house, just like me!
When I read the Idealbyte tip below I felt a twinge of guilt, but I quickly shook it off when I justified my behavior by claiming my oven was different because it ran on propane. Besides, the oven was doing triple duty, providing warmth, baking food and saving my children from another night of layered sugar sandwiches.
Are you cleverer than the average baker?
We doughn’t doubt it, if you follow our tips for oven efficiency. Simple tricks such as not preheating save energy and speed along those snickerdoodles…
- (Chocolate) chipping away at energy waste. Example: Each time you open the oven for a peek, it loses up to 25% of its heat.
- More dough in your wallet. You’ll save on energy bills when you do things like turning off the oven a few minutes early.
- Quicker cookie eating. Your bake job’ll go faster if you don’t wait to preheat.
- Baking yourself warm. When you’re done, open the oven and let the extra heat warm your house.
- If 10,000 Biters who bake once a week switch off their oven 3 minutes before the recommended cooking time is up, in a year we’ll save enough energy to power a flat screen TV for 49 years.
Heather makes a mean cake every now and then, and after it’s done loves the baker-rific smell that permeates the kitchen when she leaves the oven door open.
- Avoid preheating – unless you’re baking cakes or pastries, it’s usually unnecessary,
- Don’t open the door during baking. Yes, it’s so tempting, but it wastes heat. Your oven prolly has a window – use it.
- Turn off the oven a couple minutes before the recommended cooking time. The heat retained inside should finish the job fine.
- Open the oven when you’re done and let it warm your kitchen.