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Do I really NEED an oven?

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My oven decided to die Tuesday. Because it is an odd discontinued style (burners at counter level, oven above - "eye level", replacing it means significant changes to my kitchen, including re-working the cabinets. Between my crock pot, a decent toaster oven, a microwave, and 3 working burners I am inclined to put off replacing the oven till sometime other than right in the middle of the holidays (like maybe after I get my tax return). Anyone lived oven-less for an extended period have any comments?

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  1. So long as you don't roast or bake a lot, you will be fine. You've got the 3 burners for stir fries and general cooking, micro for re-heating most everything, toaster over for heating slices of pizza. I don't hardly ever roast but if I make a large dish like Lasagna then I need the oven; most things I cook are cooked on the stove top and re-heated, if necessary, in the micro.

    1. for many complicated reasons (well, let's start with the fact that hubby was convinced he could fix the old one, but well....and it gets more complicated from there), I went without an oven for more months than I care to admit when my old one died. Yes, you can definitely put it off until after the holidays. If you are planning to roast meets, invest in a Weber or similar and cook over (indirect) coal. You can even do a fairly small holiday turkey in it.(quite successfully).

      That said, I really began to miss roast meats, especially roast chicken, and especially once winter came around and I couldn't use the weber when it rained. Of course, it was also an excuse to make hubby take me out to eat....

      and then, I am not really into baking. If I did bake much I am sure I wouldnt have even lasted a month!

      p.s. I REALLY love my new stove top and oven (yes, we replaced the whole thing) and sometimes wonder why I waited so long :-)

      3 Replies
      1. re: susancinsf

        Susancinsf, we're married to brothers! I was oven-less over Thanksgiving and Christmas some years ago for the exact same reason. Something about "just replacing the clock" led to arcing wires with the upshot of one dead oven. Using some ingenuity and existing appliances, we ate very well and have wonderful memories of "roughing it".

        KaimukiMan, of course you can live without an oven; millions of people do. Just change your mindset. When I lived in France, a long time ago, our Paris apt. had some burners but no oven. We ate very, very well. Stews and braises work well as do stir-frys and a lot of pan sauteeing. Make this an adventure instead of a burden; enjoy the challenge.

        1. re: susancinsf

          I lived without an oven for a couple of years during the early years renovating my Victorian. How much you miss your oven really depends on your cooking style. I learned to cook on a stove with two eye-level ovens with glass doors and I still miss the convenience of being able to see how my cookies were browning at a glance.

          I ditto what Susan said about roasting on a Weber -- my mom's been doing a T-Day turkey on a standard Weber kettle grill for years, and she's done up to 16 pounds, so it doesn't even have to be "fairly small."

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            true enough, though I guess in my family 16 pounds would be considered fairly small! :-)

        2. I couldnt live without an oven.

          If I was left with only 3 burners, a toaster oven, a microwave, and god forbid a crock pot I would be eating out every night until I got a new oven.

          I imagine it depends on what youlike to cook and eat to determine if you can live without it and for how long.

          1. I live in Brooklyn, where ever apartment in my price range comes with at least on "but" (as in, "this apartment is perfect, but____"). My last apartment's "but" was no working oven. When my boyfriend told me he thought that wasn't a big deal and we should take the apartment I looked at him like he was completely insane. I DO bake a lot, and I have a thing for casseroles. None the less, the price was great and we didn't actually plan to stay more than 4 months so I agreed.

            We ended up living there almost a year and to be honest, though I missed the oven from time to time, I got over it pretty fast. I did a lot of small scale roasting and baking in a large toaster oven. I even made a small cake in there. I remember that it got a little crazy once when I was trying to make macaroons for a party and I had to make them in batches of 9 at a time.

            The cool thing is- now that we live in a nicer apartment with a working oven (the "but" is a very narrow living room) I find myself still using the toaster oven for a lot of things I wouldn't have previously. Like brussel sprouts for instance, which cook up a lot quicker in the small toaster oven. Oh! And I also learned the joy of freezing logs of cookie dough and only baking 6 at a time in the toaster oven to be eaten right away, instead of baking a bunch of cookies at once and letting them get old on my counter.

            So I say, go forth, without an oven! It's only a short time, and as long as you aren't responsible for Christmas dinner, I bet you'll enjoy the challenge of finding new ways to cook.

            1. My 20-year-old convection oven died on Thanksgiving morning two years ago with about 15 people coming to dinner. I coped by farming everything out to guests who lived nearby.
              I went away for a couple of weeks at Christmas and diddled around making the decision over which oven to replace it with. A new one had to fit into the same sized hole in the wall cabinet but there were sooooooo many choices at soooooo many different prices from sooooo many companies and they all had soooooooo many different features. I actually got used to not having an oven pretty easily and just didn't roast or bake for awhile.

              It's not that hard to do without one for a few months. Take your time. Look at your options. Especially if it's going to mean significant changes to your kitchen. My daughter has one of those odd narrow stoves that has the oven over the cooktop and replacing it is going to be a real problem just like yours might be. This might be the time to replace the cooktop as well. Has a burner stopped working - is that why you have only have three? Start looking around and planning. You may not be able to find an exact replacement.
              In the meantime, you'll do fine. I did just fine with stews and soups through the winter and finally got my new oven in early Spring. I was happy that I took the time to make a choice that I have been very happy with.

              1. It depends, in my mind, entirely on how many people you need to serve on a regular basis. For me and my wife, which is 95% of the time at home these days, we virtually never use our regular oven. We do, however, use our toaster oven almost every night. We have a Cuisinart Griddler of which we're big fans, a waffle iron that sees a fair bit of use and a microwave in addition to our 4 burner range. The toaster oven can handle a 3.5 pound chicken, a 4 serving size pan of lasagna, mac and cheese, etc. I do souffl├ęs and small pot pies in it as well.

                If I had to serve 4 people on anything like a regular basis, then I'd definitely want the full sized oven. If it's just 2, I think I could get along well virtually all of the time. Definitely for a couple of months now that we're past Thanksgiving.