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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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From My Window

Issue Date: April 28, 2021

Woman vs. Oven

By Jane Thibodeau Martin,



**********

The house we lived in while in Oklahoma had a built-in wall-mounted oven. It was satisfactory and I never appreciated until now how wonderful that was. When we sold the house it had to stay behind.

We bought a stove/cooktop combination for our kitchen here and the trouble started soon after. I started having baking failures, using old standby recipes. I assumed the fault was with me, and double-checked baking times, and looked at the expiration date on my baking ingredients, to no avail. I finally told Mike I didn't think the temperature control on the oven was working right.

Being the engineer he is, he got busy with temperature monitoring devices and various experiments and determined that indeed, the oven was to blame. He looked up the instructions for adjusting the oven, and it got better. Until the next problem arose.

It is inevitable no matter how careful you are sooner or later something bakes over or spills in an oven. Cleaning an oven is an infrequent but necessary task, which was normally just a messy inconvenience. My old oven self-cleaned, and normally just a pre-scrape and post-wipe were necessary to do the job, both easy with a waist-level oven.

When it came time to do the first cleaning of my new oven, I dutifully consulted the 53 page owner's manual. It helpfully shared that I should not sit on the door, and that the oven could get hot; and other very important safety information. My unit was not equipped with the optional self-clean feature, which I didn't realize when we bought it. It had a switch on the panel labeled â€easy clean,†and I stupidly assumed at the store that was a self-clean cycle. No.

The cleaning instructions seemed simple. Using their provided tools (a six-ounce spray bottle for water, a miniature plastic scraper, about 4 inches wide and five inches tall, and a wimpy-feeling scrub pad,) I proceeded with optimism.

â€Easy Clean (trademarked name) enamel technology helps lift soils without harsh chemicals and it runs using only water for just ten to 20 minutes using low temperatures before (simple) hand cleaning,†boasted the manual. â€Compared to the self-clean process, your oven gives you a clean with LESS HEAT, LESS TIME and virtually NO SMOKE OR FUMES.†Yes, it was capitalized just like this in the manual, like a frenzied tweet.

Wow. Once I realized the oven wasn't self-cleaning, I wasn't looking forward to the stench of the nasty oven cleaner spray and the rubber gloves. And I was used to a full self-cleaning oven cycle taking 2 hours plus cooling time.

So after a light scrape with the provided tool, I sprayed down the oven with water, ensuring the whole bottom was covered per instructions and started the process. Twenty minutes later I opened the oven, wiped the first grease spot and â€â€ nothing. I tried the scraper toolâ€..nope. Other than the whole oven being damp and a bit misty, the oven was as dirty as ever and none of the â€approved tools,†including the wimpy scrub pad, had any impact whatsoever.

Back to the manual. â€If some light soils remain, repeat the cycle.†OK. Four cycles later, I am tired of working down on my knees and the oven, other than being damp, looks exactly like it did when I started. I am now several hours into this fiasco, and am not a happy woman.

In the end I used some illegal tools and dishwashing detergent to clean the oven, on my knees, stretching and twisting to reach the awkward surfaces. As the manual says, at the very end of the instructions for the alleged â€Easy Clean†trademarked name, â€for hard to reach areas, it is better to use the self-cleaning cycle of model LRE3083.†Yeah, now you tell me that.

No one in their right mind would think that the silly tools and instructions provided with my oven would actually clean a normally-dirty oven. I do not spill or bake over dishes often. I clean regularly, not once every three years if it needs it or not.

My guess is a summer engineering intern at the manufacturing plant was given the job of writing these instructions for the oven model without the self-cleaning option. He or she was told it would be good practice of their technical writing skills. The writing is excellent, clear and easy to follow; the grammar is impeccable. But this writer had obviously never cleaned an oven, perhaps never even thought about ovens needing cleaning, and certainly did not test their instructions or tools on an actual dirty oven.

I still use the â€Easy Clean†trademarked feature to wet down the oven prior to spending 30 minutes on my knees with abrasive pads and illegal cleaners, with a stout steel spatula for pre-cleaning. To heck with babying the oven's â€special enamel technology.†I start getting irritated before I even start. Every time I do, I feel like writing to them and telling them there is no need to be worried about trademark protection for their â€easy clean†feature. NO competitor in their right mind is going to try and copy their cleaning process.

Dog beer follow up: I have discovered you can also get your cat wine. (Makes sense, right? Dogs are happy go lucky beer drinkers; cats prefer a more genteel and sophisticated drink.) Apollo Peak Cat Wine is organic liquid catnip without alcohol; it comes in several flavors including MosCATo, Catbernet, and Pinot Meow.

You can reach me for commentary, alternative viewpoints or ideas at this e-mail address: JanieTMartin@gmail.com.


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