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Obviously, you wont be seeing me on Iron Chef
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My stove is eight years old.

And I’m willing to bet you my oven and stove top are the cleanest in Manteca.

Except for a little dust, there’s not a speck of grease on it.

My secret? I’ve never used it.

I haven’t used a stove for 11 years.

When I moved into Laurel Glenn Apartments in 2005 the manager made a big deal out of the fact they had just installed a new stove. I used the stove top perhaps six times to cook pasta then I stopped. I never touched the oven.

In 2008 when I bought my home in Powers Tract, there were issues with the roof and the fence was almost non-existent but the bank made sure there was a new stove. I told them I didn’t want a new stove. They said something about an FHA requirement and that was that.

The stove has been sitting in my kitchen since February 2008. It’s a General Electric gas range and it is not hooked up to gas service.

This might strike some people as a tad odd but it’s perfectly normal for me.

I do have a microwave but the only thing I nuke is veggie burgers.

The gas stove is black with pseudo chrome front and accents.

The reason this matters is when I remodeled my kitchen a few years back it was the basis for selecting backsplash tile, granite counter tops, a new sink, and a new look for my cupboards.

If that sounds odd I used the colors back and gray in the bathroom to determine the colors of my toilet and shower tile as well as the paint for the ceiling and walls.

So with a black and chrome stove I’d logically have a black sink and black cupboards.

There was only one little problem. My fairly new refrigerators and microwave — both were less than two years old — were white. So naturally I had to buy new ones to match the stove that I’ve never used.

Black — from my perspective — definitely looks sharp.

But I’ll be the first to tell you black isn’t exactly the easiest color to keep clean especially in Manteca.

I know Manteca’s water is hard. I just have to take a look at my black toilet bowl.

Every time I brush my teeth or shave I’m reminded as well by my black glass bowl sink.

Black is definitely a color you don’t want if you have a dust phobia. At the same time it puts cleaning into perspective. You can get something “absolutely” clean but it is only going to be that way for a short while. The dust is there regardless of the color of the object it is on.

The key is to accept it to a degree and not become a slave to it.

Which brings me back to the stove.

The reason I stopped using it had nothing to do with convenience or reducing clean-up but I’ll admit I don’t miss the mess.

It had everything to do with eating healthy.

And eating healthy for me isn’t tofu, organic, or whatever the latest vegan fade is today.

It’s simply eating fresh. I do have my lapses such as the two veggie burger patties each day.

I have found simply consuming mostly fruits, vegetables, and nuts works for me.

Some find that strange, which is OK by me.

The same is true about the stove.

You often get hung up on things because that’s the way it works for everybody else. It is human nature, in a sense. You want to fit in. Madison Avenue understands it and so do the folks behind social media.

They get us convinced we’re being individuals or that we’re being true to ourselves.

Not using a stove isn’t rebelling against the norm even though the powers that be in the federal government have so decreed every home sold using an FHA loan has to have a functioning stove.

At the end of the day — as corny as it may sound — you have to be true to yourself.

The key, of course, is to figure out what your true self is.

You could be an Iron Chef who views a stove as a tool of an artisan or someone who sees a stove as simply an oversized knick-knack.

All that matters is you decide who you are and not someone else.

This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at or 209.249.3519.