Where’s the click-foomph?

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!


Filed under Ramblings

42 responses to “Where’s the click-foomph?

  1. I miss my gas hob from my old house so much! Things would cook so much faster with it – I totally agree. The only sounds I’ve noticed in my new house so far are the neighbours running up and down their stairs. It took me a while to decide that it was definitely neighbours and not, in fact, a ghost on my own stairs.

    • Mel

      We lived in a house where the stairs were metal so they made a lot of noise (not sure who thought that was a good idea) and we kept thinking that the dog was running up and down them until we realised that he was actually lying at our feet and it was the neighbours! It took some getting used to. Luckily it was just a temporary house whilst we were waiting to move into our actual house so it didn’t last too long.

  2. My dad used to say, “Now we’re cooking with gas!” whenever something started to come together… and I agree – I always feel like I have more control of temperature with gas – it changes as son as you turn the dial. Nice post!!

    • Mel

      Thanks! Haha, that’s a great expression! I definitely agree with the temperature control, I still struggle with that on my induction cooker.

  3. I had my first experience with a gas stove when we bought a new house four years ago. I love this thing, and I want to always have one. Not only does it cook more evenly and heat more quickly, when we’ve had power outages for days, we could still make coffee in our old stove top percolator pot. We might not have been clean, but we were caffeinated. .

    • Mel

      That’s another great advantage of gas – at least you can (usually) still eat hot food or have hot drinks during power cuts! And who needs to be clean if you have coffee anyway?

  4. I miss the sound of the rain that plinked on something metal outside over the stove. It sounded like a tin roof (it wasn’t). Cooking something warm and fragrant on a rainy day to the sound of a tin roof was home. Now it’s just the boring buzz of neon lights. I hate that. Love your click-foomph. Know exactly that sound. Congrats on FP.

    • Mel

      Thanks! Oh cooking to the pattering of raindrops sounds lovely. Neon lights though, not so much – I know the buzzing you mean, it can gets so frustrating.

  5. Benedicte

    Click-foomph! Love it! I did love gas, but I have to say I HATED getting the thing clean. I now have a bog basic electric plate, no knobs even and beautifully easy to clean… no noise though!!! And while I did love cooking with gas, I once had a gas oven and did not like that at all… much more click click click KABOOM!! Well done on FP!!

    • Mel

      Thanks! That’s true, gas hobs can be a bit of a pain to clean. Oh I know what you mean with the gas ovens – my grandparents had a very old one and it was always rather scary to light.

  6. I miss the sound and the smell that comes with a gas cooker…When we eventually do a kitchen reno, I will have my click-foomph back!

  7. I grew up in a home where electric stoves were looked at with disdain. My dad was a chef, and as much as I rebelled against my parents, it took one month in an apartment at 18 to make a believer out of me, gas stoves were the only way to cook. Changing the temperature on a gas stove was done instantly and with a degree that electric can’t match. The same when writing a blog, the sound of the coffee maker reminding me in the morning, my instant gratification for getting up and onto the computer is almost ready. The aroma peaks just as the ding sounds, to say “Come and get it” usually followed by a few clatters as I poke through the fridge looking for sustenance.
    So now that you have been FP, we can say your blogging with gas, oh wait that doesn’t sound quite right. .

    • Mel

      Blogging with gas, haha… I definitely struggle with the much more limited control of temperatures on electric stoves. I’m so used to the temperature change being instant. I make my morning coffee using a cafetière (not enough space for a coffee maker) so I don’t get a ding to summon me, but I definitely get the fabulous aroma. I adore that smell!

  8. In my day job, one thing I do is bring dial tone to those who can’t make a phone call without it. Pick up the phone, get a “Bwoooooooooo”, sound, push buttons that bleep. This doesn’t actually NEED to happen with voice over internet, but it makes people happy so let’s throw them a bone.

    I say that we just put a little digital “click vooomph” sound bit in your induction oven. It isn’t hard to do.

    • Mel

      Wow, I had no idea that that existed. I would never have though of adding a fake click-foomph, it sounds like a great idea though I’d have no idea how to go about doing that!

  9. It sounds like your current kitchen has some of the same challenges mine has. I learned how great a gas stove can be when living with my boyfriend’s family for a month before my apartment became available. I made my tea in the morning before work and it would be ready in a matter of minutes, rather than at my house now, where it sits on the hot plate for nearly a half an hour before the water begins to boil. Congrats on Freshly Pressed!

    • Mel

      Thanks! You could get an electric kettle, it would be much quicker for tea-making! I get really frustrated at how long it takes to boil water – if I’m making pasta it seems to take longer to bring to the boil than it takes to cook the actual pasta.

      • This is true, I just enjoy my tea kettle, it was really cheap and it’s shaped/painted like a cow. I even feel like pasta takes forever to cook even after it boils. It’s a sad thing, because I have an unhealthy love for pasta 🙂

      • Mel

        That sounds like the most amazing kettle ever!! Ya, that’s also true. So do I, so it’s quite and issue in my life!

  10. yomicfit

    That sound is so familiar to me and a great noise at that!
    Great blog

  11. I’ve only ever had a gas cooker-but when ours got into it’s 4th year, it never seemed to want to light, so had to be replaced by another gas cooker!

  12. “What noises make your kitchen feel like home?”

    Strangely enough, the mysterious champagne-cork pop noise that comes from SOMEWHERE that I CAN’T FREAKIN TRACK DOWN. Seriously. SOMETHING in my kitchen makes that damned noise at least once a day, and I have no clue what. Agh.

    • Mel

      Oh that’s very frustrating not knowing where a sound is coming from. And a great shame that it’s not real champagne corks popping! Hopefully you manage to track down the source of the noise soon.

  13. I love the hummmmmmmmmm of my dishwasher when it is cleaning and the heater on my coffee maker.After the sound comes that wonderful aroma. I like you blog and will visit again.

  14. Sounds that trigger memories, emotions…great topic. And yes, gas is the only way to cook. Congrats on FP.

  15. Very evocative, and really made me smile, especially the progression of sounds of the gas lighting in your cooker, your mother’s cooker and your grandmother’s cooker! This post well deserves its place in “Freshly Pressed”.

    By the way, when I was growing up in Ireland, the gas company had a slogan “Faster than the speed of boiling milk”. The TV ad showed a pot of milk about to boil over, then the gas was turned down and the milk immediately subsided. It made an impression on me, because we had an electric ceramic hob that was very difficult to control. Such an impression, in fact, that as an adult I’ve always chosen to have a gas cooker.

    • Mel

      Thank you! That’s a great slogan and sounds like a great (and effective) advert. I’m finding my induction stove here so frustrating that the next time I have to go flat-hunting a gas cooker will definitely be far up my list of priorities (although gas stoves seem to be few and far between in flats here in Auckland so I’m not sure how successful I’ll be…).

  16. Ha! I agree 100% on gas hobs. We’ve always had gas ovens and hobs growing up in the UK. When i first moved out to an apartment, it was an electric oven and a crap, cheap one at that. It took forever for those metal swirly rings to heat up.

    Now, I decorated the kitchen and bought an in-built gas hob. Can’t live without my gas and I love that familiar click-foomph is back and here to stay. Ovens are a different story. I went with an electric one with fan assisted because I heard it’s better for baking since the heat distributes more evenly. Haven’t had my built-in oven for 4 yrs yet and now the heating element needs changing. Gah! Wouldn’t of had that problem with gas.

    • Mel

      Electric cookers take such a long time to get used to (in fact, I’m not sure that I’ll ever quite get used to it!). Gas hobs are definitely the best for cooking, so that’s exciting that you got a gas hob for your kitchen! I agree that electric ovens are often more practical for baking since they usually do distribute heat a little more evenly. That’s frustrating that the heating elements already need changing so soon though.

  17. I never thought 1. There could be a post on a gas stove, 2. It would be so long, detailed, and entertaining, or 3. I would enjoy it.

    Lovely post!

  18. Ok, that’s it, I’m shutting down WordPress and going to cook something up – on my nice click-fwoomph mean cooking machine (mine must have a special feature which adds a ‘w’ to the sound ;)).

    Nicely written, and thanks for helping me to justify my adding ‘gas cooking compatible’ to my list of must-haves when I was hunting for an apartment!

    • Mel

      Oooo an extra ‘W’ – definitely a special feature, haha. I hope you enjoyed whatever you cooked 🙂 You’re welcome, gas hob is now definitely high up my list of priorities for the next time I go flat-hunting!

  19. This was a fun post to read. I’ve never given the sound of cooking much thought but you are quite right that each kitchen has its own sound. And I agree that a gas stove is probably better for cooking–it must be, else why would all the Food Network people have them?–but I fear I’m destined to be an electric stove girl because DH thinks they are much safer.

    • Mel

      Thank you! Most professional kitchens go for gas hobs, too, so they clearly must have a definite advantage! That’s a shame, I’ve never considered gas stoves particularly unsafe, except perhaps for older people – we do worry a bit about my grandma having a gas stove in case she turns it on but forgets to light it or something.

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