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Oven is a kitchen appliance which is used to cook food by applying dry heat. It consists of an insulated chamber which is heated up to a certain temperature to bake, heat or dry certain types of food items. The use of oven has changed over the years, with its changing designs and new and additional features. Today, a range of ovens are available in the market which have different functions and are run on gas or electricity.
The use of ovens has been around for thousands of years. It can be dated back to the prehistoric times. The earliest ovens have been found dating back to 29000 B.C. These were found in Central Europe. Oven were also found in the remnants of the Indus Valley civilization and the Egyptian civilization. Every mud brick house during the Indus Valley civilization had atleast one oven. This also denotes that it was popularly used by one and all for the purposes of daily cooking and baking. Archaeological excavations have also shown that the ovens were used for other purposes also in the ancient times. It was found that they were used for making bricks and pottery.
Earth Oven – This type of oven is the oldest and most primitive. It has been used by people from prehistoric times when civilization had not evolved completely. This type of oven is made by digging up a pit in the ground. This pit is filled with rocks, debris etc. which is heated to a very high degree of temperature. Once the high temperature had been reached the food would be placed on the smouldering rocks to be cooked slowly. This process involved cooking food by slow roasting and took hours before it was ready to be consumed. The earth ovens are the most commonly sought after things by archaeologists when exploring a civilization.
Ceramic Oven – This type of oven is made using clay or any other ceramic material. It differs from culture to culture. The Indian version is called the ‘ tandoor ’. The Indus Valley people are known to have used this type of oven for cooking. The use of this type of oven can be dated back to as early as 3000 B.C. Brick ovens which are also a type of ceramic oven, was commonly used in Italy for baking pizza. It has also been found that the early Romans used the ceramic oven for both commercial and household use.
Gas Oven – The gas oven is known to have been first used in the year 1802, at a dinner party hosted by Zachaus Winzler. Soon after the commercial gas oven was invented in the year 1834, by a British inventor, James Sharp. This type of oven runs on gas and has a stove top. The design of the gas oven improved over the years to what we know it as today. It included an enamel coating to make it easier for cleaning and maintenance. It also included the thermostat which helped to control and regulate the temperature.
Masonry Oven – This type of oven is made using brick, clay, stone or concrete and was heated using wood or coal. That was done traditionally, however, now it is run on natural gas or electricity. It is mostly used for baking bread and pizza, but can be used for any other baking and cooking task also.
Microwave Oven – This type of oven is most popularly used today. The chamber inside is heated by microwave radiation, which makes it heat up quickly. The quick heating advantage and microwave radiation help to cook and bake dishes in minutes. It is also commonly used for reheating refrigerated or frozen foods. The microwave oven was invented by Dr. Perry Spencer in the year 1946, and the first microwave for public use was made available by the year 1947, in Boston, Massachusetts in the United States.
Combination Oven – This type of oven is extremely popular today. This type of oven comprises the microwave, convection and the grilling feature. Some of them can also be used for toasting. Thus it functions as a four-in-one gadget, saving time, space and money. It is ideal for small families and women who do not cook in large quantities or too often. It is a gadget best suited to the fast paced life today.
How to Buy an Oven
In order to buy an oven, the first step should be to note down the exact space available in the kitchen for placing the oven. The dimesions of height, length and depth should be taken. This will help to check for sizes once the preferred types of ovens have been shortlisted.
It is also necessary to ascertain the size of oven suited for one’s kitchen, based on the number of family members, the frequency of usage and the type of foods to be cooked. This will help to streamline the vast variety of ovens available in supermarkets.
Visiting a couple of appliance stores before actually buying an oven, will also help. It enables to see and inspect the various models and their features. Talking to the sales professionals in charge of these ovens also helps, to broaden our knowledge and clear our doubts about the various products. Since they are well informed regarding the advantages and various features of the products, the information provided by them is useful in shortlisting few of the best options.
The design and colour of the microwave oven must also be given due consideration. The oven is going to be a part of the kitchen décor and hence the design must be chosen carefully.
One must research and list the various features being sought in an oven. There are various combination type ovens available which work on a dual basis and can therefore be space saving.
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