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Best of the Best: A Ferrari magnet

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By: Cathy Best

This past week, I finished reading, Delicious, Ruth Reichl’s new novel. Without giving away too much, the novel’s protagonist, Billie, is gob-smacked when she discovers a friend has freezer drawers that pull out from under a platform bed. Were these refrigerated drawers for cooling linens so one could slip into cold sheets? No, they were installed purely for the convenience of eating ice cream in bed without having to traverse stairs after dark. I love this idea as much as I love ice cream. A lot. The appliance landscape has changed dramatically in the past decade. There are cooling drawers, warming drawers and dishwashing drawers. Refrigerators and freezers have more amenities than a 5-star hotel. Ovens and microwaves are neck in neck with refrigerated products in number of convenience options available. But my biggest thrill, besides the thought of freezer drawers under my bed, is the newest innovation in cooktops. When I didn’t have a choice, or couldn’t afford the cooktop choice I wanted, a good old electric coil range is what I made due with. Never liked it. The darn things heat up slow, cool down slow and give you very little heat control over stovetop cooking. My mother had an antiquated ceramic cooktop that I absolutely loathed. The thought of it still gives me heartburn. When I graduated to a gas cooktop in 1990 I thought I had reached cooktop nirvana. I was the happiest girl on Billups Avenue. For much of the next 24 years, I cooked in gas bliss, controlling stovetop cooking with surgeon precision. Now, it’s 2014 and I, once again, had a cooktop choice to make. Gas or what? Not having access to city gas, I didn’t want a large propane truck, rolling down a rather new asphalt driveway, delivering just enough propane to fuel a gas cooktop. This caused me great consternation, until a friend mentioned an induction cooktop. What I discovered is, what Europeans have known for a long time, induction cooking is the bee’s knees, cat’s p j’s, better than sliced white bread and yes, in my opinion, better than gas. The German appliance manufacturer, Miele, and my brand of choice, describes induction cooking as: “a non-contact method of heating using magnetic fields to transfer energy directly to cookware. The induction element stays cool, while the target object (cooking vessel) heats up rapidly for extremely efficient cooking.” In layman’s terms: the cooktop stays cool and the pot heats up. The only catch is this: the induction cooktop will only work with stainless and iron cookware. You can easily test cookware with a magnet. If the magnet sticks, it’s good to go, regardless of the cookware’s price point. Induction-cooking technology has simmered on the back burner since the early 1900’s. Yes, that’s right, the early 1900’s. It has finally begun to gain acceptance as a viable alternative to gas and electric methods, and rightly so. A cool induction cooktop alleviates the tough cleanup encountered when a pot boils over on an electric, ceramic or gas surface. The speed, in which induction cooking brings water to a boil, or sauces to a simmer, is like magic. Equally magical is the instant off. Induction cooking heats the cooking vessel evenly helping to eliminate hot spots associated with gas and electric tops. Heat control is more precise than gas especially in the lower heat levels where you tend to lose the flame with gas. Unlike conventional cooktops, kitchens stays cooler because induction cooktops remain cool except for a small amount of heat transferred to the top from the hot cookware. Beyond acclimating to the speed, in which the unit functions, I’ve not found a downside to induction cooking, including the unit price. Lisa Simpson, a professional cook, says it best: “It was like I had driven a VW Beetle my whole life and someone suddenly handed me the keys to a Ferrari.” Amen Lisa. I love my Ferrari. Local Induction Cooktop Dealers: Askew Appliance: 1500 W Broad Street, HWY 278, Greensboro, GA, 706-453-2234 Follow me on Twitter @ cbestdiscovery Share what you’ve discovered @ bestdiscovery@aol.com

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