I have a new hob. Maybe ten years ago, I came home one evening and there was a small triangle broken off the back right hand corner of the ceramic hob. Nobody was responsible or had any idea who the culprit was. Another year or two on, I discovered a bigger piece broken off in the same place. Still the same answers!

“Not me, no idea, never saw it,” and so on! Then one day, I noticed a hair-line crack crossing two rings. I was a bit perplexed. I have a rail for kitchen tools over the hob. Putting them back, on one occasion, the soup ladle fell out of my hand and thumped onto the hob - just where the other broken pieces were. I had my answer for my hob accidents. So I changed to having plastic-only kitchen tools hanging on the rail.

The years went by. Three years ago, I decided that I needed a new hob. The cracks were unsightly and probably unsafe. I love cooking and decided that I was ready for an induction hob. The technology in an induction hob is a little different to an ordinary ceramic hob. The heat settings are more precise and induction heat gives better results at low heat settings. Maybe I’d actually be able to make a proper Hollandaise sauce!

Their children are moving out and now they suddenly want five rings

It is also supposed to be 5-10% more efficient. Philip and Aileen have one in their new house and I love it.

I set about the task, as you should with any appliance. I visited the main electrical showrooms to see what was on offer. I did the internet search. Some hobs had got bigger. Induction hobs seemed to be the way forward. Many of them had five rings. I did a lot of research and measuring. I settled on one that had - what they call - a ‘free’ ring, which means that whatever the pot size, this area responds to it. So, it is ideal for a big saucepan or long rectangular dish.

It was not cheap. I brought it home and put it in the shed. That was three years ago! I know, you wonder: how does one have a new hob in the shed for so long. Well, COVID and other things happened. My heart nearly stopped one day when I found the lads had moved the hob to make room for other stuff. I was fearful that they might have broken it.

Getting going

My friend and walking partner, Eileen, is married to Michael Geaney of Grand Prix Furniture fame. His friends call him Haulie. He put in the kitchen and other units in our house in 1995. They are all still to the good! I mentioned to Eileen that I had a new hob in the shed and wondered if Haulie might be free to do the needful some evening. After supper that very evening, Haulie arrived. I was delighted.

He took one look at my hob and said, “It won’t fit. It’s too big.”

Heart attack zone again. I stayed quiet; knowing that I’d measured carefully for my five ring hob. Silent prayers were said. Tim came in and the men started the discussion. Haulie said, “Tim, they started out cooking on four rings and they managed fine! Their children are moving out and now they suddenly want five rings!” Tim encouraged Haulie on his line of chat; knowing full well that I was in no position to defend myself. “She’ll need to change all her saucepans, too,” Tim quipped!

I kept quiet. I had been changing them over the last three years. As usual, Haulie worked it out. A bit of cutting here and there and my new hob was up and running. It’s been a bit of fun learning how to work it. Julie was cooking pasta for Ricky and she found the child lock on! She had to consult the internet before she could start. I’m delighted with it and getting used to operating it.

I moved the utensil rail off to the side to avoid any further accidents. The immediacy of the induction heat is great and I love the way the rings go cold the instant they are switched off, making it a very safe way of cooking.

It’s been worth the wait. Meanwhile, Haulie sat down with Julie to plan her accessible kitchen for her new home in West Cork.

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