On toast and ovens and heating stuff (in certain Copenhagen apartments)...and where to buy used stuff in Denmark
by: Tim Anderson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Here we have a distinctly Danish toaster. It is, from a global perspective, not your typical toaster.
Rather, if you're not from Denmark, it's probably not like any toaster you've used or owned before. I hadn't. I thought it would be a cool and very Danish thing to go out and buy one for myself, until I realised that the real value of a toaster comes from the fact that the bread gets toasted (quickly) on both sides at once. Do it one side at a time and not only is it slower but, inevitably, one side gets cold while the other is being toasted. So I decided to go for the more traditional version and spurn Danish design (actually, I've never figured out whether the design is actually Danish...).
Anyway, this is just a lead-in, as this is not a post about toasters. Well, it sort of is. It's actually a post that is more generally about heating things, buying contraptions that heat things, and the state of apartments in Copenhagen.
Our apartment, not untypically, is missing an oven. You see, the kitchen is small and the apartment is old and the association that controls the building is not terribly proactive, which could also be said about our landlord, a nice as he otherwise is. (Another consequence of this is the stand-up shower located in our spare bedroom, not the bathroom - another common feature of very old re-furbished Copenhagen apartments). So instead of a normal oven, we have a little mini-oven, that I bought used from www.dba.dk, which serves the purpose instead (I mention www.dba.dk intentionally, as this is the best site in Denmark for finding pretty much any other used item that you can imagine - like a mini-oven...it also happens to be a good place to find an apartment to rent - just be sure to get ahold of a Danish dictionary first, if you don't speak the language). And as it turns out, rarely is it necessary to have a full size oven anyway - I think I've missed having such a thing about 2 times since we've lived in this place.
As I mentioned, this oven arrangement is not uncommon. Many an apartment kitchen in Copenhagen is in need of refurbishment (as there are loads and loads of very very old buildings in the city), and one consequence is a lack of an oven in some places. Actually, I have a friend who owns an apartment in Copenhagen that is even missing a cooker - instead he has two gas burners (connected to gas pipes) that sit on his counter. I'm not kidding, as crazy as this sounds!
Of course, when you buy used, you risk buying crap. So on Sunday our trusty little mini-oven conked out after 8 months - just as the quiche we made was baking. This is what has provoked this post, and the above commentary.
our now defunct mini-oven...
Which brings me back to the subject of toasters - and why those one-sided Danish toasters are just no good. You see, there was some left-over quiche in the fridge, obviously best re-heated. Suddenly, as I was about to eat it cold earlier today, in a flash of almost genius, an idea came to me for how to reheat it in the absence of a new mini-oven (to be purchased tomorrow).
Lest others living in such an apartment with a shitty mini-oven that has just broken find themselves caught in a similar predicament, here's my simple instructions for getting around the problem, inspired by those Danish one-sided toasters:
1. Take your traditional (non-Danish and not one-sided) toaster out of the cupboard (or wherever it is stored).
2. Turn toaster on its side (ok, you'll probably need a wide mouth toaster to succeed further) and push the quiche in (this will also work for leftover pizza slices in need of reheating). In this way, when the cheese on top begins to melt and the 'insides' soften, they won't go as far as they would if standing sideways in the toaster (as toast normally does).
2. When the quiche (or pizza slice) is (re-)heated, remove from toaster (still on its side), then return the toaster to its normal upright position.
3. Enjoy your re-warmed quiche.
yummmmm! Hot quiche...
Optional (but recommended) step:
4. Go to store the next day when it opens and buy a new mini-oven. People will quite justifiably think you've cracked-up if they catch you doing this.