Is This You: Oven master

What a fool I have been. I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about cleaning my oven. I lie there under the covers and shivered about the prospect of having to do that job. Oh, the misery of it all. I have to admit first of all the oven is indeed in need of cleaning. This revelation came about a few nights ago when I was baking chicken and my other half sniffs the air and asked if there was something on fire. Not the chicken, mind you, just something smoky and kind of mixed flavors puttering around the oven area. Like the pizza from last week and a cake from a month ago and some jalapeño poppers wrapped with bacon we made, uh, let’s just say sometime before Valentine’s Day. The current aroma of chicken that had been sizzling in the oven was lost in the labyrinth within my oven of goodies gone by. So I have to admit it was time to clean the oven. Ugh.

So the woman I am began the process of getting ready to do the deed. You know, carve out the time it will take. This is a major thing for any woman today. This carving out of time. Between a never ending list of errands to do for one and all in the household. Work if you do, kids if you have them, shopping if you need supplies to do the cleaning. Oh, I can tell we all need sharper carving knives. But a spot between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Thursday opened up and so it was slotted for oven cleaning.

I must admit why I felt like a fool. I have a rather open kitchen. There’s an open space between the kitchen and the living room and a bar my visitors can sit at and talk to me as I make us a cup of coffee and we talk as I busy myself in the kitchen making something delicious and too rich to be good for us to nibble on as we visit. Well I happened to notice one day while I was by myself, thankfully, if my visitors sit across the bar and look into my kitchen as I buzz around and I just happen to open the oven to show some masterful thingy I’m baking, the sight of the inside of my oven is the same sight you might see if you’re looking down into a black hole. A black hole with mounds of black things on the bottom. A black hole that even the oven light cannot light up enough to see to the back of the hole. I’m talking real yucky here. So, yes, again, it’s time to clean the thing. Who knows? Maybe Jimmy Hoffa will be found with his head in my oven.

So, okay, I’m ready. I have determined just how in need of doing this my oven has become. I have carved out time to do it. Now I have to admit to myself just how terribly lazy one can get in this day and age. See my oven is self-cleaning. Yes, all I really have to do is flip a handle, set a knob, open a window, because it’s going to get a bit smoky, and when the timer dings the cleaning cycle is done, I then wipe out the ash with a damp cloth. Oh, the drudgery of it all!

But just for a second or two, while you began reading this, just as for a second or two when I woke up in the middle of the night, we both thought of the days of spraying the foaming action cleaner in the oven and on the racks and shivered. That period of waiting overnight getting to wake up to that sludge first thing in the morning. The black goo that accumulated under your fingernails that took days to finally come off. The sponge full after sponge full of dinners gone by that needed to be wiped up and rung out over and over again. Yes, I remember those days and I’m sure there are millions of houses with manual clean oven just waiting. Those wonderful memories are why I spent the little extra when I bought this oven a few years ago. I picked it out myself, brought it home myself and installed it myself — well, it’s electric so all I really had to do was plug it in — and I took the old one to the dump myself. So in light of all that, I think I can handle flipping that self-cleaning oven lever, set the timer and sit and watch TV from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday as I “clean my oven.” But the top of the stove is such another matter altogether.

Trina lives in Eureka, Nevada. Her book Ity BITS can be found on Kindle. Share your thoughts and opinions with her at


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