©2009 Domistyle, All rights reserved.
Fall 2009

INDUCTION COOKING

New developments in the world of cooking appliances are changing our expectations for energy efficiency. An old technology has been reintroduced into the US market. Induction cooking appliances have been a viable option in Europe and Japan for several decades. Only recently have they been brought into the US appliance world with great fanfare.

Unlike gas or standard electric cooktops. induction is about 90% efficient at converting energy into heat to cook food. The process involves creating an electromagnetic field that heats the steel or iron cookware to transfer the heat to the ingredients in the pan. While making this heat transfer, very little heat escapes to the local environment. This means less heat in the kitchen, cool cooktop surfaces, and very easy clean-up without cooked-on, difficult to remove spills. Any cookware that a magnet can attach to can be used. Copper, aluminum and glass do not work. For more technical information, check Wikipedia.

Nearly all the major manufacturers have added induction options to their line of products. From GE to Bosch or Viking, appliances are available in many price ranges. Some are configured as cooktops while others are part of an electric range, most with efficient convection ovens. Four and five burner options are offered. Many safety features are included to prevent the burner's operation when the pans have been removed. Because of the cool cooktop surface, there is a reduced risk of burns either to the cook or to the little fingers of small family members.

With the increased interest in gas cooking in the last decade, we have all had to become aware of the dangers of indoor air pollution. With the burning by-products of the open flame burners contributing carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and a great deal of moisture to indoor air, we have conditions that can lead to a respiratory health hazard. To compensate for this, the ventilation fans have been specified with greater CFM (cubic feet per minute of air movement) rating to be sure these dangerous gases are removed. This has added to the cost of ventilation.

So by using our cooking fuel, in this case electricity, more efficiently, induction has reduced the energy cost of operating the appliance as well as allowing a less costly ventilation system. This all adds up to a healthier home with reduced energy consumption, a win-win for our families and the environment.

REFRIGERATION

In the last few years a new player has entered the US market for refrigeration. Liebherr is a German company with half a century of experience in the refrigeration industry. Based in Europe, where energy costs have been very high for many decades, they have found new technologies to improve the energy efficiency of their appliances. Using very compact compressors to conserve space and improve operation efficiency, the refrigerators can have a sleek contemporary look. Their very quiet operation is another plus.

With several sizes to choose from, 24"–60" units, you can find the perfect size for your kitchen, be it compact or spacious. One of the models is designed to be placed inside a kitchen cabinet, allowing the refrigerator to completely disappear. A totally integrated look is now possible. Other models are free-standing or standard built-in units. The appliances are available in stainless steel with a “Smart Steel” finish to minimize fingerprints. Other models allow for application of custom cabinet doors to blend into the cabinetry of the kitchen.

One of the most interesting features is called “Bio-Fresh.” This is a section of the refrigerator that is separately controlled to maintain a very even optimal temperature. With this careful control your vegetables and meats stay fresh for days or even weeks longer than a standard refrigerator can offer. This means fewer items wasted and fewer trips to the grocery store.

While competing with some of the other big names in the industry, Liebherr has proven to be a hard company to beat. Superior quality, low warranty call-backs, extended holding capacity for your food, style options to allow use in any kitchen so you will find very good value for your investment.

You can find these appliances at many independent dealers throughout the country. They are not available at the big-box chains. Visit their website at: www.liebherr-appliances.com.

FALL 2009

With Fall comes our search for things to do when the weather gets rainy. In the Bellingham area, as well as many others around the country, community colleges send out their catalogs with lots of ideas for driving away the fall and winter blues.

This fall brings another series of classes for Domistyle at Whatcom Community College. We continue to offer the popular class: Kitchen and Bath Design Elements: All About Materials. The course includes 2 sessions covering cabinets, countertops, appliances, and floor coverings. A separate class, Practical Elegance: The Latest in Fixtures, will cover what’s new in plumbing fixtures and faucets along with great accessories. A new class this season, The Art of Illumination, will be about residential lighting. Topics covered will include an overview of the theory of residential lighting, fixture options both concealed and dramatic. All of these classes are held in local product showrooms so there is an opportunity to see and touch the real products being discussed. Check with the community college for schedules and details. Visit their website at: www.whatcom.ctc.edu.

And not to be left out, cooking adventures can be had in the fun Strudel baking class to be held at Ciao Thyme’s In The Kitchen cooking school. This class will be held October 6th at 6:30PM. To register contact: www.inthekitchenbellingham.com. Check the schedule for other great classes and events that are coming up for fall.

SLOWFOOD

For those of you who are interested in supporting good quality food production, increased awareness of good nutrition in public schools and the preservation of heirloom species of farm animals and fruits and vegetables, Slow Food might be for you.

The Fourth Corner Convivium is reactivating this fall. The first event will be a community pot-luck featuring local produce. This is an event that is part of the “Time for Lunch” initiative that the national Slow Food organization is promoting to raise awareness of the possibilities for better local food in our schools.

The event will be held at Birchwood Elementary School on Sept. 7th, Labor Day. Watch for notices in the local papers for more information.