The perfect kitchen. What would yours be? Mine would have great appliances because although cooking isn't my favorite sport, having the right tools makes it a bit easier, and the results perhaps even a bit tastier. Let's check out what's what in the kitchen-appliance world.
Gas burners are considered by some gourmet cooks as the only way to go, and they give the kitchen a look of professionalism. If this is your choice, then you must choose between burners that are either sealed or unsealed. In the sealed burner, the area where the gas is ignited is covered. These sealed burners are much easier to clean because food can't fall into the area where the gas ignites.
If you prefer an electric stove, it will be easier to install; all that's needed is an outlet to plug the cooktop into. Okay, perhaps not quite that simple, but simpler, nonetheless, than the installation of a gas stove. You can still get the old-fashioned exposed coil burners, but those will only work in a retro decor. The better way to go is the glass ceramic surface. That offers easy cleaning, because it is a smooth, flat finish without much in the way of crevices for food to fall into.
In the oven department, electric ones provide a dry heat. Gas ovens sometimes produce a more humid type of heat, so depending on what you like to bake, dry vs. humid will be a consideration.
If you are really into cooking, you might want a cooktop that is versatile and provides you with several cooking options. One is a griddle, which allows you to cook right on the surface of the stove, rather than using a cooking pan. You'd typically use the griddle surface for eggs, sausages, sandwiches and pancakes.
Griddles need to be seasoned — no, not with salt and pepper, but with cooking oils. This needs to be done before you use the griddle. The seasoning keeps food from sticking to the surface and also helps give food extra flavor. The seasoning also helps keep the griddle from corroding and rusting. Instructions on how to season your griddle will come with the cooktop.
How much of a cook are you? Most kitchens accommodate one oven, but my preference is a double oven. Double ovens come side-by-side or stacked one over the other. If your kitchen is big enough and you really like to cook, side-by-side might be the way to go. And, of course, the cooktop will have extra burners. Most homes though, don't have that much space, so the stacked double-oven fits better. These ovens are usually less expensive.
Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, an interior designer in Naples, is author of "Mystery of Color."