This Old Stove

Forgiving recipes like pork chops in cherry-pepper sauce and soup joumou make all the difference when our appliances are on the fritz.

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By Sam Sifton

Good morning. I probably spend about 20 percent of my time in the kitchen thinking about how much better life would be if I had a new stove. A different stove, at any rate, one without balking burners and rusting-through grate supporters, one without pinholes in the oven floor, one where if you set the temperature to 400, it’s 400, not 475 or 350, depending on the phase of the moon.

It’d be great to be able to simmer a sauce — really simmer it, on the lowest of heats. Likewise to get a pan screaming hot. The other day I saw flames licking out of a space on the stovetop where that should not be happening. It’d be great not to see that at any time.

On the other hand, I know this stove well in its strengths and weaknesses, and I’ve cooked a gajillion great meals on it. I’ve felt the same about every stove I’ve ever used regularly, gas or electric, new or very old: could be better, but it’s mine and I use it to the best of my and its abilities.

Maybe you feel similarly, at least some of the time? Here are some great recipes for a not-great stove. I like these instructions for pork chops in cherry-pepper sauce (above) for the way they don’t require much in the way of temperature extremes. It’s a forgiving recipe. Same deal for this soup joumou and this fabulous preparation of long-cooked broccoli. Three-cup chicken and three-cup vegetables, same.

These peanut butter and miso cookies are tolerant of my oven. So is Laurie Colwin’s roast chicken and this potato and radicchio tart.

I love a one-pot pasta with ricotta and lemon on my wonky old stove, too, as I do this Spanish-style lamb stew. Also, this sweet potato and garlic soup with chile oil. And always, always, chicken Provençal.

Thousands and thousands more recipes to cook on whatever stove stands in your kitchen are compiled on New York Times Cooking. (Check out this awesome one for spicy crab dip, which could be just the thing for New Year’s Eve.) It’s absolutely true that you need a subscription to access them. Subscriptions support our work and we’re thankful to all of those who have purchased one. If you haven’t, will you consider subscribing today? Thanks.

And please get in touch with us if something goes awry while you’re cooking or using the site or apps. We’re at [email protected] Someone will get back to you. (You can also write to me, if you’d like to offer an apple or a worm: I’m at [email protected] I read every letter sent.)

Now, it’s a long hike through the Cloud Peak Wilderness from anything to do with induction burners or convection ovens, but you should really read Lauren Christensen on the writer Randall Kenan and his fictional town of Tims Creek, in The New York Times Book Review. “Somehow, whether owing to regional or racial bias, or to the author’s deeply ingrained humility and privacy,” Christensen wrote, “Kenan has not taken his rightful place in the postmodern canon, though Tims Creek proved as generative as any Macondo or Yoknapatawpha.” This essay aims to change that.

I liked Latria Graham on the pleasures of a dark sky park, in Garden & Gun.

And in a related expression of our need to be outside, here’s Lauren Collee in Real Life, on the concepts of “the offline” and “wilderness.”

Finally, here’s some spooky excellence to play us off: Nell Smith with the Flaming Lips in Oklahoma City, covering Nick Cave’s “Red Right Hand.” Smith’s a Lips fan who became a collaborator. She’s 14 and just getting started. Cook something delicious while you’re listening to that. I’ll be back on Friday.

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