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The Papa Files: Circle of Blue

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Please, someone tell me you remember Graham Kerr.  (His last name is pronounced Care, not cur or car.)  His show, The Galloping Gourmet, was my first introduction to television cooking.  (It wasn’t until years later, when PBS left UHF, that I enjoyed Julia Child, but I didn’t watch her as often.)  The fact that I enjoyed any such program is testament that back then, 1960s and early 70s, there wasn’t a lot to watch on TV.  Now there’s too much.

Chef Kerr developed several shows over the years, and one of them, I think in the 80s, was about healthy cooking, and I believe on one of those episodes he introduced the flat top stove.  It was amazing, and he was very proud of it; the thing could boil water in ten seconds.  It was what I envisioned the cooks on Star Trek used; and yes, there is a scene in one of the movies that shows the galley and the cooks cooking; and the food dispenser in everyone’s room is linked to the transporter.  It’s very much like how food is made to appear on the tables in Harry Potter, except they use a wand to transport all the precooked goodies up from below.

For about four years now we’ve had a flattop.  A year before we moved from Old House (our old house), our ancient coil stove started acting up.  The oven wasn’t reaching temperature, and the electric burners started melting through their wires. Since my wife had long ago gotten tired of covering the drip pans with foil, she decided to get a modern stove/oven.  It was a black top with stainless steel trim.  And I can tell you with authority that Kerr’s appliance was a restaurant model, very expensive, because our local store version took ten minutes to boil water!  I started pre boiling water in my Hamilton Beach electric teapot, which takes about a minute, before cooking on the stove.

When we moved to Zoo House (the new house), I discovered that the oven plugs were not the same, so we left the new flattop at Old House and used the one that came with the new place.  But it was old, the white top discolored from years of use, and the burners took even longer to heat up.  Finally last week my wife bought a flattop that is very similar to the one she bought before: silver trim and a black top.  I’ve fried on it a couple of times, but I haven’t boiled on it.  I suspect I will still have to use my teapot.  And just as at Old House, for the first few days after getting the new oven, every time I walked by it, I thought, why is there a flatscreen TV laying on my stove?

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(I don’t know if laying or lying is the proper word here.  I have always suspected that Daniel Webster, when he was nearly halfway through his dictionary, got tired and decided to mess with people’s heads.  “There,” I imagine him thinking. “let’s see if anyone can make sense of this!”)

Where was I?  Oh, yeah: My wife’s flat top stove.  (Sorry, but this will have to be continued next week.)


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