It seems that when there is a topic that might be considered strange (like Caga Tió), or something a little embarrassing to admit (like almost going hungry because you were too afraid to try to start your prehistoric euro-oven), Tracy suggests that perhaps I could do a guest post. Since I don’t embarrass easily, I generally accept the challenge.
So here’s what happened: Today we both had a lot of work to do, so we decided to stay in for dinner. A few days ago, anticipating just such a situation, we’d bought a bake-at-home pizza. We figured it would be good to have for a night when we just wanted a “simple” meal without having to drive into downtown Javea, figure out what’s open, communicate our orders in broken Spanglish, or listen to semi-pissed UK tossers at nearby tables heckle each other for being too loud. It was good, forward thinking. So we thought. Turns out that even something as basic as lighting your oven is not always…well, basic.
Back home in Seattle, we are very proud of our kitchen. It’s one of the main reasons we bought the house. It was newly remodeled when we moved in, and included new appliances that just work. Apparently, this has spoiled us. It never occurred to us that Spain would be a place where gas appliances are powered by orange tanks of propane like barbecue grills. (At least this solved the mystery of why there were always guys on the street in Barcelona with hand carts full of orange tanks!)
The oven in this house is something called a “Corbero”. Never heard of it? Me either. It turns out that since the gas comes from the tank, you have to light the oven every time you use it.
How do you do that? Well, thankfully, YouTube user thecha2 made a helpful and (I thought) humorous video describing the process.
If you don’t want to watch the video, I’ll summarize: open the oven, light something on fire, turn on the gas, and shove the lit thing inside with your hand. As you might guess, Tracy was not too keen on this plan. We seriously considered sharing the only other items in our refrigerator: a little bit of shredded cheese and a day-old croissant.
Then I decided that I would brave the danger. I solemnly warned Tracy to stand clear with only a steely-determined look. She understood, gathered up the cat to keep him out of the danger zone, cautioned me to be careful, then stepped back to a relatively safe distance.
Armed only with a convenience-store lighter,
I followed thecha2’s instructions. AND THEY WORKED! After celebrating with a little stomping of my feet, meant to show my superiority over the inconvenient appliance, we cooked the pizza with no further fanfare.
Once the elation of success wore off a bit, I realized that this accomplishment was so incredibly mundane and indicative of my ultimate city slicker, first world problems status as to be…well, embarrassing. I’m sure that children 8 and up in Europe can safely light ovens like this. Not to mention ANYONE who has ever lit a camp stove or a backyard grill without the fancy electric pushbutton lighter.
But that doesn’t matter. Nothing blew up. Pizza was consumed, and all was again right with the universe. Until the next time there’s something new to us that we have to figure out…