A Time for Induction...Cooking, That Is
From Gas to Electric-Radiant to Electric-Induction
One of my favorite things to do is to eat! So it would follow that my second favorite thing to do is cook and... I love gadgets and new things. Now I would not call myself a gourmet cook, but more of the stick-to-your-ribs down-home "peasant meals" prepared almost always with an Italian flare as my grandmother and parents taught me persuasion.
I love to grill and rotisserie cook with my Florida outdoor kitchen which includes the aforementioned infrared rotisserie, sear zone, and dual separate burners. I did a post about this long, long ago. Here's a photo to go with the link.
But this is about induction cooking. Induction ranges, cook tops, and single "burner" units have been around a long time. Most popular in Europe and really starting to catch attention here in the U.S. I know this, now, because while helping a customer slog through the options and upgrade list for their new home, behold, we found offered induction ranges and cook tops. This comes on the heal my decision to buy a slide-in induction range for my own home. Delivered today!
Why? When growing up I learned all about cooking on gas. Throughout my adult life every home that we lived had one option, electric. The last many years I've been using all varieties of the glass (ceramic) cooktop - easy to clean and look quite nice. Thermal energy (heat) is thermal energy, and any way you produce it you'll be able to cook food. The differences are, energy consumption (efficiency,) time to heat/cool (response,) and control.
Electric (ceramic) and gas ranges fall down on efficiency. Much of the energy is spent heating other things than the pan and the food such as the air surrounding and the glass cooktop.
Induction does it differently. The electric energy creates a magnetic field and when any magnetic pan is placed on it the energy is transferred to the pan, not the air and not the glass top. It's as direct to the pan as you can get. You can even put a small pan on a big "burner" and there is no waste.
Ceramic ranges fall short on response time due to the lag time to heat the coil (under the glass) that heats the glass that finally heats the pot. The energy output is actually limited so as not to crack the glass. When you want to reduce to a lower temperature you must anticipate the slow response and turn the element down sooner or lift the pan while the glass cools down.
Certain manufacturers claim 90 seconds for 1 quart of water from tempid to boil.
Finally, I'm tired of all this and having to "out think" my cook top (even I got pretty good it over many, many years) so I took the plunge. I could have put in a gas range since we already have a very large propane tank that supplies our whole house generator and outdoor kitchen but installation costs to tap into the line and run it into the house just made the induction decision all the more easier...
Did I mention Italian? OK, I didn't make the canolis, I did fill them though!