At a recent get-together of our local cooking club, my friend Linda described her new induction cooktop. It's small and flat, like a tray, can be used anywhere there's a wall outlet (and put away when I need the space), and cooks considerably faster and more efficiently than a conventional stove. Rather than try to explain how it works (with magnets, yet!) I'll refer you to Wikipedia. So I ordered one and brought it home Tuesday night. It's a True-Induction two-burner model. The manual was written by someone for whom English is a second language, but luckily it's a very easy unit to use. They also come in four-burner models, and can be installed in a countertop, but I like being able to move it around.
It requires 110V and needs to be plugged directly into the outlet, not into a power strip. But at least the cord is reasonably long.
Since it works with magnets, my cookware must be stainless steel, enamel or cast iron, and should be flat-bottomed. This leaves out round-bottomed woks, as well as anything made of aluminum, copper or glass. But I was relieved to find that the two pots my mom left me, which date back to when I was a teenager, are both ferrous. And the two cast iron skillets that came all the way from my friend Sue's antique shop in Oregon. Plus, there are round steel plates available that can be placed on top of the burner which will conduct the heat into any kind of pot.
My old stove is apartment-size, hard to clean, with one of those ovens you hate to light because you can't see what you're doing, and only two burners worked on the four-burner stovetop. I had already given up on the oven, in favor of a portable convection oven, so the stove was taking up a lot of wasted space in my little kitchen. Why not do away with it, replace it with something useful, like a dishwasher? The Capt had a hand in that decision, bringing home a used but still functional (I hope!) dishwasher a couple of weeks ago. He does the dishes most of the time these days and so who was I to begrudge him a little help? And now we'll only need propane to heat water, so a tankful should last us a while longer.
So far I've used the new induction cooktop twice, and it is faster than cooking on gas. Linda warned me until I get used to it I'd better keep an eye on what I'm cooking. For instance, water boils in as little as 90 seconds. And so, perhaps it's true that a watched pot boils after all...