I have a new oven. You can set the temperature to within 5 degrees, and it stays, continuously, at that temperature, neither shooting up to 600 degrees nor dropping down to 150 degrees. Also you can set the timer to the exact number of minutes the recipe calls for, without guessing how much english to put on the twist of the dial to achieve an accurate time. If the cookie recipe says 8 minutes, then you click through the digital numbers til you get to 8, and walk away.
I made a loaf of bread that turned out nicely browned, top and bottom. I made a batch of cookies, pulling sheet after sheet of perfectly done cookies out of the oven after 8 minutes at precisely 350 degrees had worked its magic.
It’s wonderful, but I’ve lost that sporting–nay, elemental–feeling of one woman pitted against an oven with a mind of its own. Baking used to be like hunting. Maybe you’d end up with food for the family, maybe not. I griped and sulked when, so often, something burned at the unsuspected 600 degrees or languished in an oven that had unaccountably dropped to lukewarm, but I have to say that when something I baked turned out right, it was because I had overcome the opposition through constant vigilance and quick reactions.
No doubt I’ll soon be taking this ease of baking for granted, and maybe I’ll try harder recipes to make up for the lack of challenge at the functional level. Right now I confess I sort of miss my old avocado green adversary.