Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hooray! I can bake at last!

For the past  months, I have been without the service of an oven.  The electronic igniter on my Amana stove went out (actually when we removed it, we found it had broken quite possibly just from being old) and the oven would not work.  Unfortunately, when we purchased the stove in the U.S. before moving to Guanaja, we purchased an Amana gas range not knowing that it was necessary to have electricity to operate the oven!  Some ovens made that year by other
 manufacturers had kits wherein you could change the unit out and operate them without the aid
 of electricity.  Not mine however!  This was a little disheartening as we are on solar power and ovens take a lot of electricity.

Whenever I wanted to use the oven, my husband would  instantly be by my side wanting to know exactly how long I would be using the oven and if it was necessary!  I discovered that if I was making an apple pie, brownies, bread or any of some of the other treats he likes, no matter if the sun was out or not, I was allowed to operate the oven.  All other dishes, especially those with eggplant, zucchini and broccoli were frowned upon if the skies were overcast!  So, for 10 years we played this “what are you baking now?” game.

I love to cook.  I love to make deserts and I love to entertain.  So with my oven out of commission in August of  2008, I was looking forward to a bleak holiday cooking session.  You must understand we CANNOT celebrate Thanksgiving and/or Christmas without my 
pumpkin bread.  I mean, it is a staple of life in our family.  So, I got on-line, found the part and had it sent to a friend that was coming to the island in September asking him to bring the part.  Well, we were not aware that this particular part was EXTREMELY FRAGILE and our friend removed the item from its box, left it in its bubble wrap and packed it between his clothing in his suitcase.  Imagine our surprise when we received the $45 part to find it broken.   From the photos you will see that the extended piece is ceramic and apparently does not take well to any pressure or jiggling.

Well, we ordered the part again and had it sent to us via DIP.  We received the part intact. However, when my husband went to slide it into the
metal casing that holds it, it was a tight fit and he had to jiggle it sideways a bit and, yup, it broke!

We ordered the part a third time and had it sent with some more friends that were coming in December!  They arrived, I picked up the box from them, got home with it and handed it over to my husband thinking, boy now I will be able to bake!  He opened the box and lo and behold the part was not wrapped in bubble wrap but placed between two pieces of foam.  Apparently, when they placed it in the box and closed the cover, they must have tipped the box slightly as the cover came down on the ceramic piece and broke it!  I was ready to cry.

We gave up and decided to go to LaCeiba before Christmas (Dec. 2nd) to look at stoves.  Well, Mother Nature had other ideas and it rained all day in Ceiba, cancelling our flight from the island to the mainland.  We decided it was not worth the hassle of trying to get a flight off the island during the holidays and decided we would go in January.

Ahh, January 8th arrived and off we went to LaCeiba.  I had a list of stores to go to but as luck would have it a friend returning to the island caught us before we got on the plane and told us that he, too, had been there to buy a stove.  He went all over and found the best price and biggest selection at Electra.  We got to Ceiba, took a taxi to Electra and after looking over all of 3 stoves to chose from, we decided on a Mabe, made by GE.  I had considered the stainless steel model but the broiler was far from acceptable, so I chose the white enamel stove which had a better broiler set up.  The Mabe stove can be lit with a match so we were happy to hear that.  
I wanted a space between the burners on the right side from the burners on the left side, but the only arrangement that could be found was with a grill in-between.  Lucky for me, the Mabe
 stove we chose had a removable gas orifice and by removing the orifice and the burner, we could lay the grill top flush on the stove and I would have my spoon rest, etc.  After all, I did not want a grill as that was just one more thing to clean.

We arranged to buy 2 stoves; 1 for a friend building a house on the island.  After about 20 minutes of phone calls, the salesman informed that there were 2 stoves in San Pedro Sula which could be delivered before the weekend, thus making it possible to take them to the shipyard and put them on the boat bound for the island the following week.  I paid for the stoves, paid for a man to take them to the ship and left hoping everything would work out.

Of course, this is Honduras and nothing goes smoothly or as expected.   We discovered, the following Monday, that only one stove had been delivered to the store.  In my infinite wisdom and/or knowledge of how things work here, I had a friend go to the store and check on the progress and to make sure that I was getting the model I ordered!  He discovered that they had shipped only one stove but they assured him that the other would arrive on Tuesday in the afternoon.  The boat was scheduled to leave LaCeiba on Wed. evening.

Tuesday my friend checked and they still had not received the stove but said they thought it would be in that afternoon.  I called in the afternoon, spoke to the salesman and he said that there were 2 stoves there for me to be shipped to Guanaja.  I was relieved.  Little did I know that he lied to me!

So, relief was short lived.  My friend went to the store on Wed. to find that no stove had come in and that they had decided they would wait for the second stove to arrive and ship
 both together.  I guess they knew more than I exactly how badly I needed or did not need the stove!  He told them that they must ship at least one and we would just pay for the second delivery the following week.  They told him they expected the stove in by 3:00 p.m. that day.  He asked if they would have sufficient time to get both stoves, or at least one, to the boat before it departed.  The salesman assured them they would!  Didn’t inspire a lot of confidence in me however.

Thursday came and I spoke to my friend once more.  He had called Wed. afternoon and they told him the 2nd stove came into the store and both stov
es were sent to the boat.  Hooray!  

Friday I went to town, found a couple of strong (and, I might add, handsome) young men and employed them to come with me in my boat, pick up the stove and bring it to my house.  The other stove was left at a “warehouse” near town until needed in February.  We were successful with loading the stove into my boat and made our way to my house.  My husband met us with the cart, the stove was loaded and wheeled up the hill.  I returned to the town to drop the young men off, after paying them and thanking them profusely.  I had a few more things to pick up so I did not return home immediately.  

Upon my return, my husband had removed the old stove, installed the new one and now all I had to do was rearrange my cupboards as the new stove did not have a drawer for my pots and pans.

Saturday morning I made bread and brownies and a sauce for lasagna which I will make next week.  Then I will make my pumpkin bread and we will have turkey and the trimmings on January 26th to celebrate a friend’s birthday.

I am pleased!


  1. Okay, so with all the details of getting the stove, I didn't understand if you still have limitations on your cooking. Sounds like quite the adventure to get a stove. Definately not what we are used to here in the States were you just go and pick it up. I can't even imagine just having 3 to pick from!

  2. Hooray!!! What a fiasco you've been through just trying to be Suzie Homemaker! The new stove looks great. I agree, you need a space between the left & right burners. Lucky that one of the THREE models to choose from could make this happen. You know, you could always fly up to my house & bake till your hearts content. My oven works JUST FINE!!
    I love you,

  3. What a story! Almost as bad as us being without our car for 6 months TWICE! --due to waiting on (the wrong) parts, etc.

    Too bad you couldn't go to San Pedro. Much better selection there.