Those of you who know me know that I love to bake. When I cooked, I made casseroles instead of cooking on the stove. I especially love to bake cookies, brownies, bread, rolls, pies: anything gooey and yummy. For the last three years I have not baked in the RV because of the terrible, horrible, no-good, awful microwave convection oven. But today I am glad to say that the old oven is dead. Long live the new oven!
The microwave / convection oven hasn’t worked right since the first few months we lived in the RV. Although I have shared some of my frustration with you, Tom is the only one who has heard all of it. Having a possessed oven means that I gradually baked less and less, only doing it when I absolutely had to bake something to take to a potluck. July 4th was the final straw.
We were going to a volunteer potluck and several people asked me to bake a banana cake. On July 3, I started mixing the cake about 10 p.m. and had it in the oven at 10:30. At 10:40 the oven turned itself off. Obviously the cake wasn’t done. Tom tried to restart it (he has more success coaxing it than I do) but it gave him something new: an error message. We looked up what the error message means, and it was a fatal error that means the oven will never start again until the entire control panel is replaced. Argh!
Tom unplugged the oven on the theory that turning off the power would make the micro-controller reset. Twenty minutes later he finally had the oven running again with the cake baking. I told him I admired his patience and he told me he was moments away from taking his sledge hammer to it. Seven minutes later the oven turned itself off and showed the error message again. This continued with variations in time and harsh words spoken until midnight when the cake was finally done.
A couple of days later we ordered a new oven and a new microwave. Although there are some good combination microwave / convection ovens out there, none of them satisfied my #1 requirement for an oven: holding a 9 x 13 pan. After much discussion and research, we decided to separate the two functions. We bought a very basic microwave (Westinghouse Microwave Oven) and a separate oven.
The new oven is an Avantco half-size commercial convection oven. Ovens made specifically for RVs are generally crappy and we can’t do a residential built-in. So the counter-top Avantco seemed like a good alternative. Restaurants give it good reviews and I figure they use it more than I will. A 9 x 13 pan fits in it and it will hold up to four cookie trays at a time. It is very simple with no micro-controller to break. It has a temperature knob and a timer. That’s it.
Val came over Tuesday to help me put the new oven through its paces. It performed beautifully and didn’t shut itself off once! The Avantco also acts like a real convection oven, which means you have to adjust all the baking times. I’ve been cutting them by 1/3 – a 30 minute bake time takes just 20 minutes to get done in the new oven. Val and I made cinnamon rolls, blueberry muffins, chocolate chip blondies, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and meatloaf. The oven acted just the way it should and everything turned out delicious!
Tom took great delight in throwing the old oven in the dumpster. We built a shelf to hold the new microwave and put the oven on top of the stove – we can move it to the counter when I want to use the stove. I love having an oven I can count on and cook in. Baking is fun again! The old oven is dead! Long live the new oven!