Please meet…Abigail Patmore

(my vintage stove & oven)


Have you ever tried to bake something, i.e. go into that wonderful, meditative state / flow where you are fascinated by the color and texture of the ingredients, the sound of the mixer, in happy anticipation of the transformation that will take place in the oven, the smell that will fill your kitchen, the exquisite sensation that will take over when tasting it when it is still warm?

I have always claimed that it is like a mediation and now, reading this, I understand that it involves everything – for all my fellow coaches out there – a complete V (visual) A (audio) K (kinetics) O (olfactory) G (gustatory) experience!

In short – magic 🙂

You can imagine my excitement when I first saw this oven in my apartment – it definitely dates from another time in history…and the size of it – quite fascinating – you can easily fit a whole turkey or cow in there…coming from Switzerland this IS special.

Thinking that I better start out with a tested, family recipe, i.e. brownies – where in theory nothing can go wrong – I happily broke in my hand mixer, spatula, bowls, baking tin and switched on the oven to preheat. So far so good. I was proud that I had even bought a thermometer, as I’m not at all familiar with the heating levels of 1-5. Little did I know…

When I suddenly noticed a heat wave coming from the stove, I realized that there is actually a hole (!) in the left-front burner. The temperature of the oven being way too high – I just managed to rescue my spatula, before melting, and noticing that the oven light as well as timer/clock etc. must have gone into retirement long time ago. When I put the brownie tin into the oven (with the temperature being just right), I thought I had managed the baptism of fire. Normally, when your “thing” is in the oven – you take a break – embrace patience and go off doing something else.

This time it was different. When I checked 15 minutes later, I noticed with horror that the temperature had dropped completely and my brownies looked like a dark glue…I turned the heat back up and wanted to take them out a wee bit later. Not a tricky action per se: put oven mittens on, open oven, take out tin, close oven. Well a) my brownies were almost black – heat had climbed to volcanic levels again, b) I dropped one of the mittens in the oven – small fire going on and c) I burnt myself on the oven door.

At that point I had to laugh so hard, as those were the sorriest looking brownies I have ever made, my beautiful red mittens disheveled after the first use, me literally burnt and the temperature of my kitchen/living room resembled a sauna with me being under the roof and the outside Summer weather doing its part 🙂

Obviously to all of you that are following Downton Abbey, you understand that I had to christen my oven/stove in that moment “Abigail Patmore” as I am convinced she is a great-grand niece of the famous manor cook!

p.s. Downton Abbey season 5 is about to start in a couple of days and for that I shall be making a mousse au chocolat (no oven required)