When I moved to Sonoma County where I live now, I brought with me a beautiful 60 year old gas stove from my childhood home in San Francisco. People often comment on it when they come into my kitchen. But, these days, even though I love to cook and do so often, I rarely use my gas stove. Why? Because I am trying to electrify as much as possible. Why? Because I am I signed up for Sonoma Clean Power’s Evergreen program which provides me with 100% renewable energy. That means my electricity usage is not contributing greenhouse gases (GHGs) whereas anytime I use a gas appliance, I am emitting GHGs and contributing to climate change. So, I’m motivated to cook with electricity despite decades of railing against electric stoves and having a gas stove in my kitchen.
How have I been electrifying my cooking? With four appliances: microwave, convection toaster oven, electric tea kettle, and an Instant Pot!
The microwave doesn’t need any explanation but is my go-to appliance for reheating and melting chocolate. I could do those things on my stove but then I wouldn’t be using clean, renewable energy.
My convection toaster oven is a work horse. It toasts anything from bread to bagels well but is also big enough to bake a pan of corn bread, a casserole, a small cake or roast some vegetables. The convection feature is important as it saves energy and also provides more even heating. Using this smaller electric toaster/convection oven doesn’t heat the whole house like the gas stove does which is quite a benefit in the summer and fall. So, unless, I’m baking something large, I use the electric toaster/convection oven.
The electric kettle may not whistle but it heats water quickly and efficiently and turns itself off once the water has boiled. When heating water on the gas stove, there is waste heat from the flames heating the air but the electric kettle has internal coils so less energy is wasted. Turns out that a very important factor in reducing GHGs from home water heating is to heat only as much water as you will use. Heating four cups of water but only using two for your tea or coffee uses twice as much energy as needed. Many electric kettles have a gauge so it is easy to see just how much water is being heated making it easy to heat just the right amount.
Lastly is the Instant Pot – the appliance that has become a cult. It is this “magical” pot that has really diminished my use of my stove. If you haven’t heard of it, an Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker, rice cooker, slow cooker and more. It is super safe, has a timer and keep warm function and a million recipes on the web. It is a no-fuss, no-worry way to pressure cook. I’ve long been a fan of pressure cooking but now I don’t have to wait by the stove to turn the heat down and prevent an explosion. I can put on a pot of beans and visit with my neighbor – no worries. What can you make in the Instant Pot? I often cook vegetables and makes soups. I use if for cooking rice, quinoa and other grains which come out perfectly. I’ve made cornbread, a vegan cheesecake, Vegetable Korma (can you tell I’m vegetarian?). My meat eating friends rave about bone broth, pot roasts, and tender chicken soup. I actively seek out recipes I can make in the Instant Pot and try to cook with it as much as possible. I can put ingredients into it in the morning before going to work, set the timer and come home to a delicious dinner! You can probably see me swooning about my Instant Pot which enables so much of my electrified cooking.
As much as I love my beautiful, old gas stove, these days I wonder how much longer I will keep it around. The next step in electrifying my cooking would be to replace my gas stove with an induction cooktop. Sonoma Clean Power has a checkout program where anyone can come to their office to check out a countertop induction cooktop and compatible pans for three weeks from Sonoma Clean Power. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (707) 890-8496 to schedule a pick up from their office at 50 Santa Rosa Ave, 5th Floor, Santa Rosa.
I’m not there yet, preferring to use my four appliances and occasionally fire up the gas stove or oven. But, only very occasionally.
- Last Word: Are you cooking with gas? SF Chronicle, by Lois Kazakoff, April 24, 2018
- The methane mystery is solved, giving direction and hope, by Andy Ferguson
- How to electrify everything