This is the second in my series of gratitude-oriented posts. Several of my posts will be about modern appliances that are so common as to be taken for granted here in the United States. This one is about ovens and stoves.
Some people say that our ability to cook our food is what made it possible for us to be human--that without pre-processing meats and vegetables via an external heat source, we would never have been able to feed our brains the number of calories they require in a day. And over time, human beings have come up with a wide variety of ways to cook food.
Most cooking methods throughout history were smelly, dangerous, and expensive. In rural areas, people had to spend an enormous amount of time gathering and chopping wood. As more people moved into cities during the Industrial Era, many people still couldn't afford their own ovens--except when they paid a baker, their menu was limited to that which could be cooked in the fireplace, perhaps with a pot or spit hanging over the fire. The lucky ones would "slave over a hot stove" (literally the same stove that they used to heat their homes--it would have been very uncomfortable) all day to make food for their family. And it was not at all uncommon for people's stoves or chimneys to burn their entire house down.
Most people throughout history could never have even dreamed of being able to simply "turn the oven on" when they were ready to cook food. That's not even mentioning the other standard features of a modern range: a temperature control, timer, window, and adjustable racks; multiple stove-top burners with separate temperature controls--heaven!
If you live in a first-world country today, you most likely own a gas or electric range, or at least a little toaster oven. So let's spend a moment thinking about how much more difficult life would be without it. Let's also remember that many, many people in the world today still don't have that luxury. And let's thank God for this magnificent appliance.