My damn oven died last week.
It’s an old stove on an old propane stove, a visibly outdated model of an old tymey appliance brand that I don’t even recognize. does ovens. In this respect, maybe not! Perhaps this is the only one he created.
The furnace has been older than my family and I have lived in this house, and it usually went out well before last week. The back left stove burner has been burning for a long time without help. It took ages to preheat the oven itself, and once it did, it was impossible to trust the buzzer – or wait until it did before beeping in turn. Or to preheat to the required temperature. You get the idea.
Perhaps, in a sense, it is incorrect to say that the stove was “working” before last week. But it worked well enough! I’ve hosted extended family Thanksgiving every year since moving here in January 2017, putting aside the dark fall of 2020 at or near the pre-vaccine depths of the COVID pandemic; the oven worked well enough—with the help of a trusty probe thermometer—to produce a perfectly tender turkey every time, to cook the stuffing and yams, and to preheat other dishes my siblings and mom brought along. Good enough. I can’t go to the Great Household Tree and get another stove from there.
It was around 4pm and I was preheating the oven for the meatballs. I already mixed and shaped the meatballs and arranged them on a large baking sheet lined with foil; the plan was to roast them in a 450 degree oven long enough to crisp the edges, then toss them in a tomato sauce in a cast iron dutch oven. and is agitated. Then I would lower the oven temperature to 350, stick the dutch oven in there and roast the patties for a few hours. Then the sauce will be sweet and rich and meaty and the meatballs will melt in your mouth and everything will be heavenly.
Then I noticed that the oven was making a strange noise. It was rustling. It sounded like a louder, deeper version of a regular gas stove hiss, except it usually came from inside the stove. I opened the oven door to hear better and smelled melting rubber. Modern gas stoves are built with many safety features; I was reliably told by a furnace repairman that you don’t need to worry about things like: exploding. Still. That’s all I believe in failures in front of modern stoves the hiss and the smell of melting rubber. I turned off the furnace and my wife called our home warranty company.
As for the meatballs, I had to skip the step of frying them in the oven. If I had started things earlier in the day, I might have turned them into a hot pan on the stove, frying them in batches, turning them with tongs, and making everything nice and Maillard-y. But here we are talking about 32 meatballs. That’s it, the idea went with days and days of leftovers: Meatball sandwiches, meatballs over pasta, and cold meatballs eaten off the fork when no one was looking. It probably took a few hours to saute all of them to a quarter. Even so, I could just go ahead and do it, except we’re early-dinner types here; sauteing for two hours followed by 90 minutes (in the oven) will not work. I just dipped the meatballs in the sauce and hoped for the best. And they fell apart there.
None of this makes perfect sense! The thing is, my oven broke It’s a week before Thanksgiving. after I bought a turkey. after I had bought sage sausage and big bags of cubed bread for the stuffing. The home warranty sent a repairman who told us that our stove’s igniter was bad: It wouldn’t ignite on its own, and because of the way self-ignition stoves are built, it can’t be turned on by hand for a long time. fireplace match, the way gas stoves are lit. Do not burn it at all!
Another thing the repairman said was that he had to order special parts for the furnace. Then we got an email from the home warranty company telling us to pick a new furnace from the list provided – apparently they don’t even have replacement parts for our old-ass weird-brand furnace. The next thing they told us was that they wouldn’t be able to install a new furnace until December.
dick! What will I do! As I write this, just shy of 3:00pm on Wednesday, my plan is to pound and broil the turkey tomorrow morning. coaldamn it charcoal grill, because it’s literally the only option that avoids boiling evil. As much as that solves the turkey problem (I guess we’ll find out!), it doesn’t solve the stuffing problem. You can’t grill the stuffing. You can’t saute the stuffing. Don’t even tell me about boiling it, steaming it, or smoking it. I tell you again: screw it!