Everybody makes a cook top, so there are many choices.  We’ve chosen to stick with gas rather than induction.  Saves a bit of money, avoids the need to buy replacement pots and pans, provides a more substantial heavy metal “look” rather than the sissy flat glass induction offers.  One sales guy told us that homebuyers may actually be dissuaded from buying a house with an induction cook top due to lack of familiarity. 


How to decide?  First – do we want a cook top or a range top?  Cook tops have the controls on the top.  Range tops have the controls on the front.  More specifically, a range top looks like a range without the oven.  Most, if not all, of today’s range tops are pretty heavy duty; lots of metal.  Imagine a big ole commercial range.  Big burners, huge dials splayed across the front, heavy oven doors.  Now, using your imagination, eliminate the oven part.  That’s a range top.


We chose a cook top. 


The sales cycle for a cook top could be the longest.  How many burners?  How many BTUs?  Do you simmer?  Do you need a “true” simmer?  Do you want a grill?  Brass is important:  no corrosion.  Brass valves, brass burners, brass piping.  Continuous grate for you sir? 


Our answer to the most frequently asked question turns out to be a huge disappointment for the overly explanatory salespeople.  How often do you think you will be needing the full power of all 5 or 6 burners?  Seems like an excellent question.  It seems that the desired answer is “very often”.   Imagine the power at our fingertips!  50,000 BTUs, 80,000 BTUs, oversized pots!  We could deplete the earth of its natural gas with just a single meal!


Seriously, what are we doing wrong that we don’t need to consistently use 5 burners at the same time?  We both cook.  We’re pretty good.  We don’t buy Birdseye Broccoli with Decadent Cheese Sauce ready to plop into a pot of boiling water.  We’ve been using our 4 burner slightly upgraded from the builder GE range for a dozen years.  Maybe once, maybe twice have we run out of burners cooking for a family of four, cooking holiday dinners for 15+, hosting parties for 50.  What are we doing wrong?


Oh, did I misunderstand the salespeople’s question?  Is the real intent of question to ask:  How often do you want to be needing 5 or 6 burners?  How much POWER do you want?  How much can you handle?


I also think I managed to insult the first one or two salespeople by asking whether the right way to choose a cook top is based on styling rather than the “features” since they all appear to have the same set.  They didn’t like that question.  I stopped asking it.


I guess we lucked out with a cook top decision.  We chose a Dacor.  Three different salespeople recommended it.  Dacor uses brass.  No, really, they do.  Their burners make lots of BTUs.  Really.  Continuous cooktop.  We don’t have one now, and quite honestly, this feature makes sense.  Consumers Reports just rated this as highly rated.  The construction and design appear to be fairly easy to clean (hopefully).  Oh, and the styling is attractive. 


Two minor concerns. 

  • The control knobs take up a bunch of room in the front right corner.  We’re both right handed and generally use the front right burner.  On the Dacor, there isn’t one.
  • A “true” simmer.  What does this mean?  Sure, the Dacor offers two levels of gas jets on their burners, but can it simmer?  One salesperson told us there is no true simmer, but another says there is such a thing.  I hope low is low enough.  We actually do simmer water when melting chocolate.

Choosing a dishwasher turned into an extremely enlightening experience.  First off, I should share, of the major appliances I expected the dishwasher selection to be the easiest.  Everyone seems to have nothing but high regards for Bosch dishwashers.  I recall from years ago Consumer Reports magazine consistently rated Bosch with top marks.  If that happens to still be the case, then this should be a no-brainer barring an extraordinary price.


A little history to share.  A few years ago it was time to replace our dishwasher.  I don’t recall the motivating factor, which is strange, because there must have been some reason.  I do recall, however, doing a bit of research, again relying on Consumers.  Bosch were top rated, but Kenmore’s were “Best Buys”.  Sears was having a sale on Kenmore, plus if you opened a Sears charge account you received a rebate (or something to that effect).  We ended up buying a higher-end, but not the highest Kenmore.


Now, the interesting part.  I grew up always having a dishwasher in the house.  I actually remember dishwasher shopping with my father.  Now this is really bringing back memories.  I think we bought a KitchenAid from a rather odd department store named Gem.  {I’ll have to ask my parents whether actually happened.}


Anyway, we generally rinsed (washed) our dishes before they went into the dishwasher.  Somewhere along the line, I turned into an adult and that habit never stopped.  My wife (no criticism here) insists on putting nearly clean dishes into the dishwasher.  I’ll bet ½ of America does the same.


In an early discussion with our kitchen guy, we explained our dirty dish handling process.  He told us to stop washing the dishes and trust the machine.  It’ll save time, it’ll save water, it’ll actually let us use the machine.  In one of our trips to an appliance store, the salesperson told us the same thing.  At another appliance store, we again heard the message.  At a third store, the salesperson explained that modern dishwashing soap contains enzymes.  Enzymes, he exclaimed, need dirt and leftover food to attack otherwise they’ll etch glasses and put wear and tear on silverware and the very same dishes that they want (“want”) to clean.


Not to be disobedient, we started putting dirty dishes into the dishwasher.  Guess what!  They actually come out clean.  Wow, it’s amazing.  All these years, to imagine.  I’ve quickly adopted this new process.  Dump plate into the sink.  Place dish into dishwasher.  Repeat.  My poor wife, long held habits are hard to break.  We’re seeking a 7-step program to rid her of the addiction of putting clean dishes into the dishwasher.


We chose a Bosch.



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