The passing of gas

Cooks may cringe, but it won’t be long until the home gas stove is an antique relic


I miss having gas, I really do. My furnace uses it, but not the stove in my apartment. I spent years cooking in professional kitchens and always on gas — never electric — stoves.  

There are cooking results I can get from a responsive gas flame that my flat-top electric simply won’t produce. One word: caramelization. Gas flames get hotter quicker. You also need a flame to char green chilies and use a wok. 

I get why people love gas stoves, but I’ve accepted the fact that I’m unlikely to ever have one in my home again. Contrary to recent alarmist social media, the woke dark state isn’t coming to confiscate your beloved blue flame. Gas stoves are unlikely to be totally banned, they’ll just fade away. 

The latest reason to de-gas and electrify is fresh research published in December by Boulder’s Rocky Mountain Institute indicating that rates of childhood asthma are higher in homes with gas stoves.

If nothing else, the pandemic taught us the critical health importance of good ventilation. Gas stoves emit various gasses, including methane, which fill the interior air of homes unless they have strong air exhaust systems. Most older homes do not. 

At the same time, more and more local cities, including Boulder, are reportedly considering a ban on gas stoves in new construction because of the impact on climate change. Rebates are available to switch from gas to electric. 

I understand there is also a problem with how utilities generate electricity, but over time, fossil fuels are likely to be a dwindling source. 

Baby boomers may grumble, but you won’t hear it from climate-focused millennials and Gen Z members. They can’t label themselves as a “climatarian” or “regenivore” and be able to rationalize burning fossil fuels with open flames in their kitchen. 

Even now, natural gas stoves are used in only about a third of households in the U.S. Housing for elderly baby boomers almost never includes gas stoves for safety and health reasons. The reality is that over time, fewer and fewer of us will have any history of cooking with gas. 

Besides, it seems like more of us are doing a substantial amount of home cooking in microwave ovens and air fryers anyway. 

Some cooks with electric stoves opt for using an outdoor propane burner when they absolutely need what a big gas flame can deliver. 

Restaurants are a separate reality. Gas stoves are likely to remain there for as long as utilities supply gas. Many cuisines simply require high-heat gas to produce the fare they’re famous for. While eateries must have ventilation systems for indoor-breathing safety, they send the pollutants into the environment.  

Eventually, like rotary dial phones and eight-track tapes, the home gas stove will become a curious relic of the fading fossil fuel age. 

Bramble & Hare’s Mulefoot pork, photo by John Lehndorff

Taste of the Week: Strictly Local Meal

Lots of well-meaning eateries talk “local” and may mention a farm on the menu, but Bramble & Hare truly goes the distance. I sampled an entrée there featuring virtually only ingredients from the eatery’s Black Cat Farm in Boulder. The plate was centered around two tender, savory cuts of rare Mulefoot pork with ancho chile cream nestled atop Boulder-grown polenta. The substantial feast included a fennel salad and perfectly prepared, Black Cat-grown braised kale and multi-color carrots. 

Local Food News: Real Fig Newtons

After 30 years, New Belgium Brewery is re-formulating one of Colorado’s quintessential brews, Fat Tire Ale, for modern and younger taste buds. If you can find any old Fat Tire, hoard it. It may be worth big bucks in six months when people get desperate for the original. It’ll be like Classic Coke versus New Coke. (Google it.)  

The Longmont Bakery now features a rare treat: scratch-made Fig Newton cookies.   

Fatworks — an artisan cooking fat company in Longmont — has introduced a skincare line that uses tallow (beef fat) as a base. 

Locals are Beard Award Semi-finalists

The list of the 2023 James Beard Award national semifinalists includes Kelly Whitaker in the Outstanding Restaurateur category. His Id Est Hospitality Group includes Basta and Dry Storage in Boulder, and The Wolf’s Tailor and BRUTØ in Denver. The Best Chef: Mountain semifinalists include Michael Diaz de Leon at BRUTØ. Outstanding Chef nominee Dana Rodriguez, owner/chef of Super Mega Bien, is also the food mind behind the soon-to-reopen Casa Bonita.

Other local James Beard semi-finalists in other categories include Emerging Chef (Bo Porytko, Misfit Snack Bar, Denver), New Restaurant (Friar’s Fork, Alamosa), and Baker (Ismael de Sousa, Reunion Bread Co., Denver) 

Culinary Calendar: Asian Food Festival 

Attention: farm food fans. You better sign up for a local farm CSA program ASAP before they are sold out for the summer. It’s one of the easiest ways to enjoy great fresh produce and directly support local farmers.

Boulder’s Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts is once again offering classes for home cooks. Upcoming sessions include: Spanish Tapas (Feb. 10), Mexican Street Tacos, Sauces, Tortillas and Fillings (Feb. 11) and Southern Comfort Food (Feb. 19).

The inaugural Mile High Asian Food Week is set for Feb. 22-26 in Denver.

Boulder International Film Festival’s annual CineCHEF tasting, March 2, will feature fare from Boulder and Denver chefs, music and desserts.

Upcoming: Taste of Vail, April 5-8; Boulder Creek Festival, May 26-29; Aspen Food & Wine Classic, June-16-18. 

Send information about food
events and classes to:
[email protected]

The Nibbles Index: Fool Me Once Dept. 

64%: That’s the percentage of shoppers expressing concern over “shrinkflation,” the phenomenon of products shrinking in quantity, size or weight while prices and packaging remain the same. As food prices rise, many of those shoppers are opting for the less pricey store private brand foods. (Source: National 2022 Morning Consult)  

Words to Chew On

“When I cook, I want to put everything in the oven, and then I want to take a bath for half an hour, and then when I get out of the tub, I want everything to be ready.” —David Sedaris 

John Lehndorff co-hosts Kitchen Table Talk with Boulder chefs Dan Asher, Edwin Zoe and Eric Skokan, 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Feb. 2 on KGNU-FM. 


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