At 2Gourmaniacs, it’s all fun and games, smiles and giggles, even after the dishes are done and the pots and pans washed – until it’s time to clean this bad boy. It wasn’t just because we’re snow bound here in Southampton that I cleaned the stove.
No siree, it was because every time I fired it up, I couldn’t take the smoke and smell emanating from the large oven any longer. That’s not to say we’re not fastidious about sanitation here at 2GM. It’s just that to clean this stove plus the hood is a two day ordeal of unpleasant genuflecting in front of the ovens, scraping, scrubbing and washing, and that’s only after an overnight does of industrial strength oven cleaner. The stove top periodically requires the same industrial strength treatment, but then all the parts go on the outdoor grill for a half hour, over high heat, then get scoured, and sometimes even steel brushed with an electric wire wheel.
Cleaning the hood is a contortionist’s nightmare. I have to twist and bend to get under the hood while looking up and being careful not to get any of the oven cleaner in my eyes, and scrub and wash the nasty grease build up off all the surfaces. It’s a great upper body workout though, especially for your rotator cuffs. There are four removable grease filters which have to go in the dishwasher for a couple of cycles. When it’s all finally done, the stove looks great, and I swear that I’ll be so extra careful not to have a pot boil over on the stove top, and I will never, ever, have a spill over in either of the ovens. Right.
So the next morning after I finished cleaning the stove, I came downstairs and I discovered that the pot fill (that metal thingie on the wall behind the stove) had frozen because of the extraordinary cold temperatures we’d had the previous night. The very first winter after I installed the pot fill it froze because it is on an exterior wall facing north. (Yeah, I know, you never put plumbing supply lines on exterior walls. We’ll get into the plumber I used when I built the 2GM kitchen in a minute.) Back then I had the stove moved, and I wrapped the water supply for the pot fill with an electric metal braided wire which is on 24/7/365 and which has worked great for the past seven years. Until last week, when it failed. The cool thing is I learned that I could now move the stove by myself! Giving herculean pulls on the right leverage points, I inched the beast far enough from the wall to first warm up the water supply pipe with a hair dyer, and then replace the heating device. More contortionist’s exercises. Of course I had to go to three different electrical supply houses to finally find the right one. At least the car started up.
Eventually I got everything put back together, and I shoved and pushed the stove back against the wall. Of course that’s only after the other gourmaniac had a compulsive half hour cleaning spree with the sides of the stove and the floor underneath. Later that evening we made a celebratory meal, drank a bottle of wine, put the dishes in the dishwasher, and we went to bed content that our stove and entire kitchen were spotless.
The next morning, I was at the kitchen sinks washing something, when I noticed the water level rising in both sinks. I hit the garbage disposal and it grurrrred and sucked water, and then it belched a frothy spew back into both sinks. I knew immediately what the problem was. Remember a paragraph or two ago that I promised to have a word or two about the plumber I used when I built the 2GM kitchen? I won’t get into the entire catastrophic experience I had with these plumbing idiots (Moe, Larry and Curly), but the thing that concerned my stopped up sinks was the fact that the plumber didn’t pitch the drainpipe correctly running from the kitchen sinks in the island to the crawl space under the dining room where they tie into the main drain pipes leading to the septic system outside. And it can’t be fixed either, because the drainpipe running from the kitchen sinks is encased in 6 inches of concrete as well as hot water coils for the radiant heat in the kitchen floor. Oh, my aching back. The solution to the problem is a trip to the crawl space with a pair of channel locks and an empty 5 gallon “mudbucket”. I can barely sit up in my crawl space. More contortions. This experience is one which occurs with enough frequency that I leave a 50 foot plumber’s snake right by the clean-out trap in the crawl space.
So here’s the real fun: I have to open the clean out trap with the channel locks while securing the mudbucket right in place because all that backed water has to go somewhere before I can run the snake down the drain pipe to break through the blockage. Lucky for me, there’s so much water backed up it takes me two trips with the 5 gallon mudbucket. Oh, and to empty the water in the mudbucket necessitates doing the hully-gully, scooting on my butt, and lifting the full mudbucket in front of me each time I scoot another couple of feet forward in the crawl space. I finally emerged through an access port into the furnace room and then into the office where the other gourmaniac cheerfully asks from her computer,”What’s going on?” When I explained the problem she replied, “You know I thought I saw the water backing up last night, but I thought it was just the dishwasher cycle.” I touched my face with my gooey, slimy fingers because I think I’ve developed a noticeable tic under my left eye. I smiled and replied everything is taken care of … so what’s for breakfast?