Types of Cookers
There are a variety of cookers. The most common are gas cookers, working from a mains supply or using Calor Gas, which is a portable fuel, delivered in small steel cylinders, the gas being stored in liquid form; and electric cookers.
The majority of gas cookers in Great Britain are of the vertical design, i.e. with the grill and oven under the hot plate, or with an eye-level grill. The split-level design, which raises the oven to an easier working level, is gaining in popularity, but is not always convenient in kitchen planning as it occupies more floor space. All cookers are fitted with a thermostatic control, i.e. by the turning of a dial the desired temperature can be maintained. Many cookers are fitted with an automatic timer—for safety reasons the ignition system must be fitted with three fail-safe connections. A simmering burner is a useful addition.
Electric cookers are also made in vertical or horizontal designs and may be of the freestanding variety or 'split-level' with separate hob and oven units which can be built in to suit the individual. Basically electric cookers comprise three main parts: hob, grill, and oven. Boiling rings are thermostatically controlled and some cookers may have one pan-sensitive control fitted to a boiling ring to prevent items such as milk or fat from overheating and boiling over. This innovation has not proved to be a marketing success, perhaps this is due to a lack of knowledge of how to use the instrument, and a reluctance for additional expense. Most cookers now rely on more sensitive control for all hotplates. Grills and ovens are also thermostatically controlled. Other features of the average electric cooker include; an electric clock, ringer timer, auto-timer control, inner glass oven doors, heated warming drawers and full-width grills. Modern electric cookers are fast and easily controlled compared with their ancestors; they tend to be cleaner than other types of cookers, particularly with the introduction of self-cleaning ovens. The most recent innovation is the introduction of the fan-assisted oven to ensure even heat distribution in the oven, and the ceramic hob unit in which the heating elements are incorporated to give a flat surface area with four heating areas. One such model is operated by an electronic touch mechanism, which obviates the need for control switches.
Since the invention, innovation and introduction of the domestic microwave oven, home cooking has been revolutionized. And it has become a must have kitchen appliance even if only offering reheating convenience to our busy lifestyles.