Puting your head onto a flaming gas range isn't as convenient or clean
June 23, 2005 11:24 PM   Subscribe

Is there such a thing as a range-powered, detachable stove-top oven that can work with gas ranges? If not is it feasible to make one?

I live in China, and most of the kitchens in this country come equipped with a two-"place" (I don't know what they're called) gas-powererd range, powerful enough that at full blast they look like they could power a military jet. You know, the flaming wok type. Some people have microwaves, I sure as hell don't what with the fresh veggie market outside. These kitchens are fantastic for making pretty much any kind of boiled or stir-fried food you want, and I'm happy with that. But I know of a family in this building that loves to cook so much that they procured a typical western stove/oven and all the fans and extra hookups necessary for it, and then converted an entire room of their 50sqm apartment into an oven room. Their poor daughter has slept in the hallway since she was nine (she's since moved out and gone to college). I sometimes see these ovens at houseware stores, and I know that new luxury apartments have them, and there are bakeries and dairy products for sale everywhere here (I'm in Tianjin). Considering that Western-style cooking is starting to catch on with the Chinese middle class, I've been wondering if there's an easier way to make it at home than using a bedroom.

The thing I have in mind is an oven that could fit over the typical Chinese propane cooker-style range top and use the heat to bake stuff. I've never heard of something like this but it definitely wouldn't surprise me if it exists. If it doesn't, could I make one? What would be the issues with heat dissipation and venting I'd need to look into? Could I use some sort of insulated clay? I'm imagining just a big box that you can take out of the cupboard and set on the range for an hour or two, something that would heat up quickly and cool slowly. Would an electric one be better? I just want it to be cheap, easy to clean, and small enough that you can store it in a tiny, crowded sardine can like I live in but large enough to fit a good-sized hotdish plate or ham. Environmentally sound is definitely a plus.
posted by saysthis to Home & Garden (3 answers total)
I live in Japan, and an oven is not necessary for traditional Japanese cuisine. My mother's house has a built-in 1960's-era gas oven, but what I have is a combination microwave oven/conventional oven/toaster, and it works well for baking. It looks just like a regular microwave, but has a heating element for toasting/baking. Perhaps the same thing is available in China, all the appliance makers in Japan certainly manufacture them. Anyway, get yourself over to the microwave oven section of the department store/appliance shop and have a look.
posted by planetkyoto at 12:45 AM on June 24, 2005

How about this?

From this Google search.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:48 AM on June 24, 2005

These things do exist! They're used in horsepacking, riverboating, and other assisted excursions. In fact, I know exactly where to get one (well, roughly where to get it: it's in the garage somewhere).

It might, in fact, be a Coleman Campoven, as linked by Kirth.

Whatever it is, it worked: I once baked a cake in it, over a Coleman stove. Pretty cool, that.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:44 AM on June 24, 2005

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