Up here in the old family home on the South Shore of Nova Scotia amenities are scarce. No TV, no landline, no distractions. Living simply also means extending the life of the home’s systems and components as long as possible. Brand names like Whirlpool, Maytag, GE have never seen the light of this kitchen. See if these ring a bell for you instead: Indesit (fridge); Enterprise (wood-burning stove-top); Moffat (electric oven/range). Near as my father and uncle can tell, those three date back at least 30 years.

Small wonder then that the big burner on the Moffat range top burnt out this morning. What is a bigger wonder, however, is why.

Both my father and uncle blame the new “stainless steel” tea kettle purchased from the Sobeys in Liverpool. I quote my father: “It was the combination of corrupted steel and the weakness of the burner.” To which my uncle readily agreed. They are twins, so I can expect little else.

Extrapolated, my father’s theory suggests that the “corrupted steel” got so hot that, when it melted, it melted through the element, burning it out. He could not explain how the tea kettle steel could be hotter than the element itself.

At any rate, we are down to three burners and have lost the biggest burner, on which most of the evening’s meals have been cooked. The question now is, do we hunt for a replacement element or do we set about shopping for a new stove? At 30+ years it’s safe to say we’re seeing in this element burnout but a glimpse of things to come, so a replacement stove — as anathema to our frugal ways as that may be — could be in our future.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a 24″ wide model?