FOR THE PAST few years, glitzy home kitchens usually have one of those behemoth restaurant ranges hovering gloomily in the corner. That grim professional look might be a thing of the past, however, because modern technology has given us a new way to cook.
The new stoves don't look much different than ordinary ovens, but they really get cooking. One of the most exciting new developments is convection cooking. The name sounds forbidding, but it's a pretty simple principle; a convection oven has a built-in fan that sends the heat whooshing around. This not only dramatically reduces cooking time, but also eliminates hot spots. The result is that cakes rise evenly, and you can use the entire inside of the oven without worrying that some of the pans will block the heat of the others. It often also eliminates the need for pre-heating the oven.
One of the nicest convection ovens on the market is made in Pasadena. The electric Dacor Convection-Plus has all the beeps and whistles of a microwave; it tells you when the oven is up to temperature and will actually turn itself off and on when you ask it to. (When the oven automatically turns itself off, it maintains a temperature of 150 degrees.) And the oven cleans itself at the push of a button.