May 20, 2008

#01-111: Kitchen Appliances

a modern kitchen with several large appliances: stovetop with hood, oven underneath, a large refrigerator, etc.
A modern kitchen (not my parents')

Note: Let's look at the major appliances in the kitchen of my parents' home near Los Angeles, and talk about how they're used.

Get Ready: What appliances do you have in your house for cooking? For food storage? For taking care of garbage?

Note: You can find some of this same information discussed in a dialogue in Lesson #03-009.


Let's take a look at the appliances in a typical middle-class American home. For the most part I will use my parents' house in a suburb of Los Angeles, where they have lived since before I was born.

Let's start with the refrigerator. For many years my parents had an "over-and-under," where the freezer (for ice, ice cream, etc.) was a door at the top, and the refrigerator was lower. The whole thing is typically as tall as a man, and wider.

In their last remodel, they replaced the over-and-under with a "side-by-side," where the freezer is on the left and the "fridge" on the right. This one includes a built-in ice-maker. My parents also have a separate freezer in a hallway outside of the kitchen, where they store large amounts of meat, extra ice from the ice-maker, and other items.

Back in the kitchen there's a gas stove (also called a range) with four burners. Theirs is a "cooktop" on a counter; the oven is built-in in a cabinet next to the cooktop. The oven is also heated by gas, and used for roasts, cakes, and other baked goods. In the past they had a freestanding stove with the oven below the burners.

On a shelf nearby is the microwave oven. This is sometimes used for cooking, but often just for reheating things that were previously cooked on the stove or in the gas oven.

Under the counter is a built-in dishwasher. Dishes are loaded into it after dinner; soap is added; and it's turned on. An hour later the dishes are clean and dry and can be put away.

Next to the dishwasher is a trash compactor. This is a bit like a wastebasket, but at the push of a button, the trash it contains is pressed together into a smaller package. This helps keep the landfills from filling up too fast!

Also directly under the sink is a garbage disposal. Food and other soft waste is put down the drain; the garbage disposal chops it up and "disposes" it down the sewer pipe. In my parents neighborhood the garbage is picked up only once a week; by putting old food down the drain, they avoid having rotting garbage sitting around all week.

Finally, just outside the kitchen is a central water heater. This is connected to the kitchen sink as well as the clothes washer and the bathroom sinks and shower. In the kitchen it provides hot water for washing the dishes.

That's it for the kitchen. In Lesson #01-112, we'll look at other appliances and time-savers in my parents' home.


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Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. disposes (of)
  2. drain
  3. freestanding
  4. landfills
  5. middle-class
  6. previously
  7. range
  8. reheating
  9. rotting
  10. store

  1. a pipe that takes away wastewater
  2. keep; put away for later use
  3. decaying; decomposing
  4. not attached to anything
  5. before; in the past
  6. another word for "stove"
  7. gets rid of
  8. places where garbage is taken to; dumps
  9. making warm again
  10. not rich and not poor

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for May 20, 2008

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. g; 2. a; 3. d; 4. h; 5. j; 6. e; 7. f; 8. i; 9. c; 10. b