Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 25th 2015 Contents www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Christmas Wishlist and Checklist
Stories by Christine Dalkan
With Christmas in the air, refrigerator space is
something you need to consider way ahead of De-
cember. Not just space, but how the refrigerator per-
forms -- you want an appliance that will not let you or
your food items down. You may want to consider
style as well, so that your refrigerator complements
the rest of your kitchen. Here are some questions you
should ask when shopping for a refrigerator to suit
HOW MUCH DOES IT HOLD?
Total capacity is listed in cubic feet, but does not re-
flect the useable storage space inside the refrigerator.
Keep in mind that beverage dispensers and icemakers
eat up internal space. A fridge with 19 to 22 cubic feet
of storage space is a good choice for a family of four. A
side-by-side refrigerator is ideal for households that
don't mind sacrificing fridge space for freezer space.
They're split in two vertically; one side of the appliance
is a freezer and the opposite side is the refrigerator.
However, the centre divider between freezer and refrig-
erator takes away storage space from the middle of the
unit. Their tall and narrow freezer shelves means you
may not be able to fit large items, such as large frozen
The four-door fridge is ideal for large families or peo-
ple that entertain a lot. In fact, the French Door model
as it is called, although usually expensive, is probably
the most convenient, with the largest refrigerated ca-
pacity. It is loaded with compartments that can keep
groceries fresher longer. Average capacity is 28 cubic
feet. It is equipped with a French-door-style fridge on
top, a middle door that conceals a drawer for the items
you reach for most, and a bottom freezer. Homeowners
can expect about 80 per cent of a four-door fridge's
total cubic square footage to be functional storage
HOW WELL DOES IT WORK?
A refrigerator should keep your food at the right tem-
perature (34 degrees Fahrenheit for the fridge, 4 de-
grees Fahrenheit for the freezer). However, some are
more efficient at this than others. The better models
allow you to set the temperature yourself while the less
expensive ones offer a range of 1 to 10 with no indica-
tion of which setting provides the target temperature.
If your budget can only fund an inexpensive fridge with
the 1 to 10 range, invest in a thermometer to
check and adjust the temperature as needed. An
additional feature to look for is dual evaporators,
which tend to maintain higher humidity levels in
the fresh-food section and can help keep odours
from spreading to the freezer.
WHAT STYLE IS BEST FOR YOU?
If you are looking for a lot of refrigerated capac-
ity and already have a freezer in your home, an All
Refrigerator (no freezer compartment) is a good
option. If you do not have a freezer, then you'll need a
fridge with freezer capacity, however the freezer com-
partments in these are usually small. They are also less
energy efficient, since there is one refrigerator door and
the freezer temperature rises every time the door is
opened. The Top Mount Refrigerator has the freezer on
top with a separate split door, which ensures that the
freezer temperature remains more constant. The Bot-
tom Mount Refrigerator is similar to the Top Mount
fridge, except that the freezer is on the bottom instead.
It is usually more expensive than the Top Mount and
provides a large refrigerated section. Less bending is re-
quired since the freezer is at the bottom. The Side-by-
Side fridge usually gives the buyer flexibility in that it is
available with or without icemakers. The French Door
model is best for storing large trays and bulky items.
If you cook as furiously and as often as I do, your
stove is probably ready to hang up its burners and bow
out gracefully, rather than get ready to cook a grand
holiday feast. With Christmas season in the air, many of
the local furniture/appliance stores are putting their
best appliance offerings on the market, at competitive
prices. It seems like the best time to go shopping for a
new stove. Remember to weigh the pros and cons of
the various models before making your decision.
Electric ranges generally heat faster and maintain low
heat more precisely than gas ranges. Electric smoothtop
ranges are also big sellers and rate high in performance
and value. They are the easiest to clean. Their even sur-
faces are more stable for pots and pans than stoves with
coil-elements. An electric stovetop's even surface can
serve as an additional counter or storage space when not
in use. To turn a burner on, you simply twist its knob and
the stovetop element begins heating up immediately. An
electric oven also heats up faster than a gas oven and
heats consistently. The heat in the electric oven is more
evenly distributed compared to a gas oven, which is better
for baking and roasting. Electric ranges also come with
more optional features, such as fans and grillers, than
their gas counterparts. However, with all these advan-
tages, keep in mind if the power goes out, you cannot
Serious cooks often prefer gas for the quick response
and visual confirmation of a flame. The flame on a gas
stovetop lights immediately, giving instant heat, and you
can control the heat level with precision. When you turn
the flame off, the food can stay on the range without
worry of overcooking because the elements cool quickly.
Gas ranges operate on either propane or natural gas, both
of which are relatively inexpensive and clean burning.
However, oven temperatures are hotter at the top of a
gas oven, so baking requires rotation and placement far-
ther from the heat source. If you have an open window
near your stove, the wind can put out your gas flame
cooktop. Cleaning your gas cooktop involves moving
heavy cast-iron burner grates.
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER:
Safety: you may feel more comfortable with the lasting
heat on the electric stovetop than the danger of a gas
leak. The open flame of a gas range can easily burn some-
thing or someone by accident. However, it is more obvious
to the naked eye than a still-hot electric element, and
therefore easy to avoid burns.
Zero in on our test scores. If you enjoy baking, compare
ranges with impressive baking scores. A roomy oven also
comes in handy when baking or hosting friends and fam-
ily. Love a good steak? Then key in on the broiling scores.
Focus on features. Look for at least one high-powered
burner or element for quick heating. Expandable electric
smoothtop elements let you match their size to the pan.
Ranges with at least five rack positions provide added
flexibility when cooking on more than one rack, and
ranges with dual ovens let you roast a turkey and bake a
pie at the same time and at different temperatures.
Don't buy strictly by Btu. Short for British thermal
unit, range and cooktop Btu are often a selling point at the
store. But that merely indicates the amount of gas used
and heat generated, not performance; higher Btu does not
guarantee faster heating.
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