November 21, 2006

Blackened Sabbath

I cooked my first meal in my new home tonight, and, as usual, it was an adventure. Earlier, I wandered through Whole Foods in my new neighborhood, shellshocked, not knowing where anything was. It did not help that today is the day before the day before Thanksgiving, and Whole Foods was quite crowded. People in Southern California are no more courteous behind their shopping carts than they are behind the wheel.

Then I turned on the oven broiler (in lieu of a barbeque grill, which I have not yet purchased) a bit early, in case it needed to burn off any newness. Likewise, I checked out the oven owner's manual. I do not consider myself an owner's manual geek, but it has been a long time since I operated a brand new oven, and I wasn't sure if there was some procedure to follow before using it the first time. Thumbing through the manual, here is what I found on page 19:

Using the Sabbath Feature (Designed for use on the Jewish Sabbath and Holidays). The Sabbath feature can be used for baking/roasting only. It cannot be used for broiling, self-cleaning or Delay Start cooking.

What the fu%k? I read on:

To understand how the oven control works, practice using regular baking (non-Sabbath) before entering Sabbath mode. [1] Touch and hold both the BAKE and BROIL HI/LO pads, at the same time, until the display shows SF. [2] Tap the CLOCK pad until Sab appears in the display.

And so on. Now, I was raised in a (somewhat) Jewish household, where I knew what the Sabbath was but never observed it in any way, and I have no earthly (or heavenly) idea what these instructions have to do with the Sabbath. Does the oven have to be at a certain temperature for Sabbath cooking? Will it only roast? Will it only cook a chicken, or maybe a nice brisket? Does it have an ejector mechanism when meat and dairy products are placed together inside? Does it bounce your lasagne back in your face on Fridays after sundown?

I never found out. However, my broiled orange soy Scottish salmon was quite, uh, kosher, if I say so myself.


At 6:57 AM, Blogger m-cole said...

haha, I find it hilarious that ovens now have a "sabbath mode." I was raised in conservative jewish tradition... I think the idea behind it is that you aren't supposed to light or blow out flames on the sabbath. I'm not sure why (something akin to "work"?) This is the only connection I can think of.

ps - where in southern California did you move to? I'm heading there soon myself from DC...

At 9:34 AM, Blogger Matt said...

Thanks m-cole, that explanation makes sense, and you have done in one sentence what General Electric could not do in 2 owner's manual pages. So, you can't light the oven after sundown, but you can set it earlier to light itself. I love how every Sabbath restriction has a loophole or a way around it. I guess those lawyers were busy even 6,000 years ago!
I have not listed the city where I moved to yet, and I am not sure if I want to. But you can send me an email and I'll tell you. I am sort of between emails now, but should have a new one in a few days (from 11/22).

At 7:16 PM, Blogger Aileen said...

Well, I'm glad to hear that you at least took the owner's manual out of the oven ;)


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