The joys (and hassles) of induction cooktops

In case you should’ve somehow missed it while reading through this blog over the past 4+ years, I’m quite fond of good food and of cooking good food (or at least harming myself trying). You may also have noticed that I have a special love for good cooking tools and that I’m one of those rare weirdos who gain a lot of pleasure by shopping for quality cook wear, sharp knives or grand old expensive pots.. Color me weird, but that’s just how I roll. I believe in using the best possible tools for the job in an effort to produce the best possible results in the smoothest way possible.. Why am I telling you all this again for what must be the 116th time? Simply because one of my new main joys of having switched apartments is that the new one contains a modern, fancy kitchen.. Not that I didn’t have quite a nice, well stocked kitchen downstairs, it’s just that this one is slightly bigger, brighter and has better toys.. Including a convection oven and, more importantly, a large, spacious induction cooktop.

“What’s an induction cooktop?”, some of the less culinarily interested of you might ask.. Well, it’s pretty much the best thing since sliced bread.. Or gas fired cookers anyways.. It’s an entirely flat, ceramic surface wit various large cooking zones which heats your food by the use of MAGIC! Well, okay, it’s not really magic, but the complicated truth involves the use of electric magnets and other stuff I’ve no clue about, so for the sake of simplicity, let’s just call it magic. It’s a super fast heating source and it offers you very tight control of the heat applied, allowing you to turn the heat of each cooking zone up and down instantaneously. You can go from a pot of cold water to a rolling boil in about two minutes and from there to a simmer within seconds.. It’s marvelous and it works beautifully.. When it fucking works, that is!

See, apparently one of the fancy features of this pretty new induction cooktop is a child safety lock which prevents kids from messing with the damn thing.. And apparently a lot of you were right about your comments about me being nothing but a big kid at heart because, well, over the weeks now, I’ve only found out how to accidentally turn the child safety lock ON, but not how to turn it the fuck OFF again.. What this means is that I’ve actually now found myself in a situation where I had a hot meal to cook but no cooktop on which to cook it. This, in itself, is a pretty problematic predicament. But, this being Johan’s World, I of course found a way to turn it into a near catastrophic predicament.

Botching dinner for yourself is one thing, you can always get a few slices of bread and some cold cuts from the fridge.. But what if on the night before the predicament, you get a call from your best friend who in a very purry and convincing voice asks you that if you didn’t happen to be doing anything on the next evening and didn’t mind, maybe her and a female friend could drop by at around dinner time for drinks, wine and dinner?

Well, long story short, apparently Tina and Malene had a work out session on Tuesday and didn’t feel like cooking afterwards so they wanted to bless me with their company in return for food and wine which seemed like a pretty sweet deal to me. Which isn’t to say that I didn’t accuse Tina of taking advantage of my weakness for cute blondes and all that, but that’s another story entirely, the fact of the matter is that I suddenly had two cute young girls coming over for dinner the next day and of course wanted to make the best possible impression. So I spent the next day dusting things off, shopping and even went so far as to run over the kitchen with a soft cloth right before the girls were set to arrive.. As I got to the controls for the induction cooktop, my fat fucking fingers must’ve slipped and hit a particularly stupid combination of keys as a loud beep was heard and some lights started flashing in a “Now you’ve done it!” kinda manner.

Feeling a slight panic starting to build, I started messing with the controls in an effort to see what I had just done and how to fix it. Well, I regret to inform you, dear reader that even with six years of university level education and both a Bachelor’s and a Master degree down my belt, I was unable to work a simple five button control.. All that I managed to find out was that I’d somehow made the thing stop working by turning on a sort of child safety lock. I was, try as I might (and try I did), entirely unable to switch the lock off or use the cooktop in any way. In short, I’d really done it.. I had a couple of lovely, young women coming over for dinner in about ten minutes, I had every intention to impress, I’d gotten everything ready for dinner.. There was, really, only one vital problem.. The fucking cooktop wasn’t working!

Frantic, panicked phone calls to Brian, the house owner, for help resulted in little but him and his friends and family having a big ol’ laugh on my behalf. Frantic, panicked playing around with buttons and Google proved a little more successful as I managed to at least get two of four cooking zones going.. Now all I had to do was to get the rest going so I might actually cook dinner without too many problems, now if only I could just.. And that’s when the girls came in the door.. To find a pretty worked up, stressed out and incoherent Johan fumbling around the place while blasting a bit of hardcore punk over the stereo as a sort of stress relief effort. Malene, who still doesn’t know me too well, was probably fooled into thinking that everything was okay for a few short minutes. Tina who knows me better than I know myself and is used to being the absolute center of my attention and affection for the first minute or so when she enters my home was on to me in about three seconds after I’d not only managed to come up with the rather confusing answer of “No!” to the question of “Hi, how are you doing?”, but also managed to stare right past her pretty face and even nearly running by her without our customary greeting hug..

“Well, you’re certainly not yourself,” she concluded, “what’s up?” – “The $2000 cooktop is too smart for me,” I whimpered, “it turned on the child safety lock and now it says I’m too much of a child to unlock it!” – This initial explanation was met with giggles from both girls and my initial full account soon had both of them laughing heartedly at my misfortune.. Like so many women before them.. Anyways, it soon became clear, even with Tina giving it a go, that we weren’t getting the cooktop back to a fully functional state that evening, so I settled for using two cooking zones and showed the girls outside to the terrace for a beer in the sun and a little talk to wind me down following my stressful endeavors.

As it turned out, I never really needed the extra two cooking zones so I needn’t have worried so much. I still managed to produce a well-tasting dinner which, along with the wine served, made the girls very happy. I even found out how to fix the problem later as we were clearing the table and doing the dishes after dinner.. It turns out that when all else fails, apparently disconnecting the main power of the cooktop resets everything and, voila, four working cooking zones. Once again something that could have been brought to my attention earlier!

Trouble and hardships aside, though, it was a wonderful evening. We had some good beer, some good food, a good bottle of wine, a good talk, did some laundry, electrocuted Tina through the cunning use of my washer (SORRY BABE!), picked wild strawberries and set the record straight on a few issues and taught Malene a few things. See, at some point in the evening she remarked that she really wished she could be as good at the whole small talk as we were. Incidentally this comment fell at a time where Tina was bent over my strawberries and I was busy trying to tackle her into the wild vines all while she was yelling at me that the last time I couldn’t keep my hands off her ass, it cost me dinner and a bottle of wine while I was yelling back that I was merely trying to grab her by the hips and that if her ass was so big that it got in the way, then that wasn’t my fault.. As Tina went through her usual “You and your food is MOST certainly to blame for the size of my ass”, we both paused and looked at Malene with a “Wait, what?” kinda look on our faces. “I regret to inform you that this isn’t as much small talk as it’s small arguing,” I finally managed, “possibly a small scale fight in the making.. And I don’t think you should attempt this with anyone, it apparently only works for us.. Now get back to work, Tina!”

Following this small piece of advice, we finished picking berries and went back on the terrace where we shared our newly picked loot over another fine glass of wine, a talk and some good 70’s music, before finally retreating and disbanding shortly before midnight.. Yup, small scale catastrophes, dinner, expensive wine, strawberry picking, inappropriate comments, bitter fights and electrocutions.. Just your standard Tuesday evening in Johan-land.. Good times, thank you ladies!

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