There are many ways to cook food -
over an open fire, on a grill, on a stove, or in an oven. All of them
involve heating food to make it more appetizing and safe to eat.
In most residential kitchens a
combination stove/range is used with either natural gas or electricity
providing the heat. Gas provides an instant heat, unlike electricity,
which takes time to heat up and cool down. Because the efficiency of
generating electricity at the power plant is only 30%, gas generally
provides cheaper heat for cooking. Gas stoves, however, unlike
electric ones, require adequate ventilation and will consume
conditioned, inside air for its combustion.
Convection ovens utilize a fan to
maintain a uniform temperature through the cooking space. By
constantly circulating the interior air around the food, it cooks
faster and more evenly.
As with a refrigerator, the oven
loses energy every time its door is opened. Most ovens sold today are
equipped with a window in the door and a light inside the oven,
enabling one to see how the food is cooking without opening the door.
Microwave ovens are an almost
universal appliance these days. Unlike conventional ovens, the
microwave heats food exclusively through the use of radiant energy. By
heating only the food and not the entire cavity, energy is utilized
In 2002, 8.6 million ranges were sold
in the U.S., 62% electric and 38% gas. Microwave oven sales in the
same year amounted to 13.3 million units.
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