The kitchen at The Station was renovated before we moved in. Hidden away in a corner of the city sit the forgotten O'Keefe Merritt appliances, stacked haphazardly. Since stumbling across them last month, I've been imagining them in our flat and dreaming of the meals cooked on them.
Unlike the basic General Electric gas oven that we now have, porcelain O'Keefe Merritt ranges, like Wedgewood ranges, built in the 1940s and 1950s, were allegedly one of the best quality ranges made in the United States and supposedly a pleasure to cook on. I can't imagine having to watch a stockpot and having to keep fiddling with the flame every time the air conditioner goes on. (Please ignore the fact that the air conditioning unit was recently installed. It's of no consequence to my daydream.)
Neither of my grandmothers had what we now call vintage appliances in their kitchens. Both were adamant about having state-of-the-art appliances. One even briefly switched from gas to induction coils.
My parents' house was built in 1963 and furnished with what were seen as modern appliances then (think brown Tappan electric range and stove top). When I was in sixth grade, they replaced it with an all-in-one unit that had two ovens.
Until friends moved into a flat in The Mission with a vintage Wedgewood range, I'd never seen anyone cook or bake in these. Our friends' oven had a door that didn't always want to stay closed and the heat was a little variable. So, my dream of not having to hover over a stockpot to prevent my soups and my stocks from either hard boiling or loosing a simmer completely is probably just that, a dream.
Do you love vintage stoves?
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