The latest hot potato? Gas stoves. Will the culture wars never end? | Emma Beddington

Have you taken a side in the great stove debate? And if not, what are you waiting for? How are we supposed to keep the culture wars stoked if you won’t man the cooking-appliance barricades?

For the slackers, this is a US squabble, but probably on its way to the UK. The consumer safety commissioner, Richard Trumka Jr, suggested in a recent interview that gas stoves are a “hidden hazard”, saying: “Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.” Not, at first sight, the most inflammatory (sorry) statement, particularly given that the only concrete proposal is an as-yet unlaunched consultation into their health implications.

However, dedicated umbrage-takers and cooking-method libertarians heated things up nicely. One chef tweeted: “I will stay taped to this stove until the idea is completely eliminated from everybody’s minds.” Observant watchers remarked that his video showed he had taped himself facing away from the stove, rendering him unable to use it. Oven gloves came off as Republican politicians got involved: Ronny Jackson tweeted the classic promise that if “maniacs in the White House” came for his stove, they would have to “pry it out of my cold, dead hands”. Jim Jordan went for “God. Guns. Gas stoves.” Surely cooking over an oil drum barbecue with wood felled with their bare hands would be more in keeping with the pioneer spirit they fetishise, but full marks for online flame-fanning.

Although research has demonstrated gas stoves do emit significant amounts of atmospheric pollutants, the White House has confirmed there is no plan to ban them. But let’s not let facts get in the way of enjoying this silliness. It’s a low or no-stakes spat almost on a par with ketchup: fridge v cupboard.

So come on: where does your cooking loyalty lie? Predictably, I’m firmly in the wok-erati camp: induction all the way. The last place I lived had one, a sleek, speedy beast that crisped tofu in seconds, while Fairtrade organic rice steamed to perfection on the faintest whisper of heat. Now I’m grumpily back to gas – basically the stove equivalent of a Maga hat at this point.

Emma Beddington is a Guardian columnist




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