Little did I realize, when my wife and I agreed in December of 2011 to (finally) lay to rest our ailing kitchen range, that I would come to miss the ol' galoot. That GE dinosaur, with a self-cleaning feature rendered useless by its failing door-latch, had been something of an irksome child to us over the years, acting badly when guests came a-callin' by failing to get sufficiently hot to cook a pizza, and reeking of natural gas whenever you turned it on (which, I’m told, is not a good thing). But our kitchen had been custom-built back "In The Day" and the architect had apparently decided that s/he would design the whole kitchen around this funky GE appliance and its smallish, oddly structured frame. Far more learned men than I have failed to find a range that fits our kitchen's dimensions. Virtually every oven available required a kitchen renovation. But two ovens would fit, we learned, two ovens designed by a country much-beloved for its cuisine, though not necessarily for appliance manufacturing. But Italians must possess ranges that work! We decided against the cheaper Bertazzoni, at $2,200 (plus tax and shipping!), because Consumer Reports gave it a rating of 24 or so out of a possible 100. Instead, we opted for the $3,000 Smeg, which we want to pronounce “SMEEG” so as not to blush, but are forced to have it rhyme with “beg” whenever we call for a service appointment (which is often).
This range is the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. If I were a range, I’d ask it out on a date. But I’m not a range. I’m the weekend cook in our household, and every time this damnable, overdesigned Italian hunk of metal is set to simmer something, the electronics get confused and try to light already glowing burners. After five seconds of the ignitor snapping angrily, all the burners shut down. Meanwhile, this past spring, I spent a weekend in a barn that had a $200 gas range with pilot lights, and never did the burners shut down. Not long ago, I might have have a technician fix the gas smell on the range I already owned, instead of having one come out to fix burners on the expensive one I had chosen to replace it with.