Really time for a tune-up

I do things that other people don’t do. Here’s an example, If the recipe says to heat the oven to 350º, I never do that. I feel sorry for the oven temperatures that never get picked.  I feel sorry for them. It’s like when you’re a kid and you don’t get picked on a side to play baseball. I roast stuff at 354º or maybe 348º or maybe 357º. Frau Grace thinks I’m nuts.

I was buying vegetables yesterday and I saw this poor deformed cucumber:

I felt so bad for it. Nobody else would ever buy it. It would just end up in the dumpster. Well, I can’t let stuff like that happen. I bought it and brought it home. But I feel so sorry for it that I can’t bring myself to kill it and eat it.


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6 Responses to Really time for a tune-up

  1. Scott says:

    When the recipe says preheat to 375 and heat 18 minutes I think gosh that’s a waste of a lot of energy so I put the food in, set it to 375, and the timer to 24 and it still works.

  2. Lisa B. says:

    I feel the same way that you do, Bud, about less-than-perfectly shaped fruits and veggies. The odd shape actually makes them more attractive to me. I’ve started doing as you do with oven temperatures: if 350 is called for, then I use 348 or even 340 and bake for slightly longer.

  3. Chris M says:

    I bought an EGT (exhaust gas temperature) probe and drilled a hole in the stove burner tray to install it. Then I mounted a digital readout in the backsplash. I powered it all with a wall wart from an old router. I found that the knob is not consistently true. Set at 350, one time it might climb to 375, another only to 325.

    Now I just crank it up and when the temperature is 20 below what I want, I adjust the knob acoustically to no gas flow. It works like a charm.

    I also put my food in when I start the oven (except for cakes and bread). I set a timer slightly longer and use my nose when it’s getting close.

    My mom’s 1944 Joy of Cooking lists only several oven temperatures: slow, medium, fast and hot. You use the back of your hand and time, or you could use a sprinkling of flour on a tray and time its browning if you wanted to be technical.

    I think we tend to overthink things these days. But I like my digital display on my 1960 Wolf oven, whom I call Godzilla.

    • Scott says:

      That sounds pretty awesome.

      I have a dream/back-burner project wish list to hack my oven with a PID (proportional integral-differential) temperature controller. With these you can initially run the current at max until it approaches the target temperature, then back off to ease in without overshooting. And then stay nailed in at the temperature, but the real trick is ramping up fast without overshooting. Also fast and stable recovery to events like the door opening and losing heat.

      It’s like I normally have to put a burner at 5 and wait 6 minutes for it to get to 5-ish, but then it ends up being more like 7 after 15 minutes. So sometimes I’ll put it on 9, it ramps up to around 5 temperature in about 2.5 minutes, then I back it down to 3 for a minute, then back to 4, and I’ve saved a little time getting to pan frying temperature but I had to be standing there and managing the process. A PID controller automates the knob twiddling using math. Not sure to what extent we’ll be able to automate temperature control and precision with the burners. I’d love to have a button that says boil this arbitrarily sized pot of water and set the alarm to go off and stabilize the temperature as soon as it reaches simmering. And another one for rolling boil but not too rolling. Simmering and boiling can be determined using microphones. For other things maybe an infrared camera in the hood monitoring all the burners could do it.

  4. AndyW says:

    So many comments! I heard the expression “He’s as lonely as the 9 on a microwave.” So now I use 59 seconds instead of a minute.

  5. Chris M says:

    Andy, I do double-pushes on my microwave, much easier.

    So, 11, 22, 33, 44, 55, 66, etc. Oddly enough, it does the hour-minute thing just fine. For the longer times I’m doing keep-warm, 10% power to avoid hockey pucks.

    I’ve never tried 111 so there is the next experiment to see if it runs 1 hr 51 minutes. I guess the next would be 999 or 1111.

    Do you think it’s covered unnder warranty?

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