A few days ago The Daily Post at WordPress.com asked bloggers to ponder the importance of sound in blogging as part of their Weekly Writing Challenge. Their suggestions include writing about one’s association of certain sounds with specific memories or favourite sounds. Now I’m not part of Post A Day and I’ve never taken part in the Weekly Writing Challenge, but I started thinking about sounds whilst I was having a staring competition with some sugar whilst it was taking
forever its sweet time to dissolve and turn itself into caramel. Actually I started off my chugging train of thought by contemplating cookers. We’ve always had gas cookers – actually, I think our cooker in Louisiana might be an exception to that, but since we left when I was 5, I don’t remember it particularly well so I’m not counting that one. My kitchen here in New Zealand has an induction cooker though and it seems to take so much longer to heat things up.
I miss how immediate gas cookers are – turn it on and boom there’s your source of heat ready to go. No twiddling one’s thumbs whilst the induction plate gradually brings itself to the right temperature. Turn the gas up or down and the change in heat is instant. Switch it off and it can be used as a trivet straightaway. No waiting ages for the induction plates to cool down before being able to set anything down on them which can be very frustrating in a small kitchen with limited counter space. I also miss the sound of igniting a gas cooker, the click-foomph. Or click-click-foomph in my mum’s kitchen. Or click-click-click-click-pause-click-click-click-click-click-pause-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-kafoomph in the case of my grandma’s cooker (uhm, I think it might need replacing…). It’s such a reassuring sound. For starters, it means the gas has been ignited rather than just dissipating into the kitchen, but it also means that scrumptious food is in the process of being cooked or baked. And I’m always a fan of that.
The dull thrumming buzz of the induction plates as they switch on and off to heat up just doesn’t quite compare. It just doesn’t sound as exciting as a foomph, and there isn’t the added bonus of accompanying fire. I like fire (when it’s contained and I can cook on it). But whilst my kitchen here doesn’t have that satisfying click-foomph, it has other little sounds that makes it comforting to be in. The oven makes a distinct humming sound as it heats up. My fridge makes that usual fridge-y murmuring noise (you know the sound I mean, right?), but it also gurgles from time to time. And not just any gurgle, it’s like a gurgling giggle. I have no idea why it does that but now that I’m used to it (it creeped me out a little when I first moved in), it gives a sense of home to my kitchen. Every kitchen has its own unique sounds. Whenever the boiler in my mum’s kitchen in Edinburgh switches on it sounds like a small grenade has exploded in the cupboard. Visitors can get a little disconcerted by it. But all those random noises are what makes that particular kitchen unique. Getting used to them is part of the process of feeling at home in a new place. And once your kitchen feels like home, anything is possible.
Well, except Frangelico caramel sauce in my case, because although I won the staring competition with the sugar (dissolving obviously results in an automatic disqualification), the caramel didn’t come out how I wanted, so the recipe is still a work in progress. Which I’m currently blaming on the induction plates and lack of click-foomph rather than my actual cookery skills.
What noises make your kitchen feel like home? Are there sounds from an old kitchen that you miss?
Gas flame image source
1 September 2012: I woke up this morning to discover that this post had been Freshly Pressed, which was a lovely surprise and a rather smashing start to the weekend! If you’ve found your way here through that, then welcome (and if you haven’t, then welcome to you, too) and thank you for clicking through! If all this cooker-talk has made you hungry, do have a poke around the recipe index (in the tab at the top) – whether you ‘re lucky enough to have a gas stove or not!