Before lighting the top or oven burners see that the stopcocks are all tight, with no escaping gas. To light the top burners, strike the match, turn on the stopcock, and touch the match to the gas when it is flowing well. A disagreeable
"popping" follows if the match is applied to the burner before the gas flows. For lighting the oven, a "leader" burner at the side of the stove acts as a taper. Open the oven doors, and the door below, strike the match, turn on the leader, and light it, turn on the back burner, and then the front burner, and turn out the leader. The so-called explosion of a gas stove is due to the sudden lighting of a quantity of gas under the oven that has collected without being lighted.
Fig. 20. - A gas stove burner.
The important point in managing a gas stove is to keep the stopcock turned so that the flame is low. The full flame is needed only when water is being brought to the boiling point, and for the first heating of the oven. The low flame should be protected from draft. Many gas stoves now have a small simmering burner that is more useful than the large burner. Another point in the use of the stove is the prevention of the "boiling over" from some kettle. The low flame helps here, and it is also necessary that the kettles should not be too full. "Boiling over" clogs the burners, and makes necessary the frequent cleaning of the pan underneath the burners.
The oven burner should be lighted from five to ten minutes before the oven is wanted, depending upon the intensity of the flames. After the food has been put in the oven, allow a few minutes, not more than five, for the food to heat through, and then turn the flame as low as possible. Often, one burner can be turned out. This you have to learn by experience. When toasting or broiling is the process, light the oven burner before using, because the work is performed by the heated iron as well as by the gas flame. Leave the lower door open, as bread toasts or meat broils, to hasten the browning process, for it is the oxygen of the air that causes the browning. Some coal ovens have a damper for admitting air for this same purpose and though some flavor is lost in this way by evaporation, the amount is negligible in a quick cooking process. The Atkinson oven is so tightly closed, that food does not acquire a rich brown in it. An opening at the top is available when a delicate brown is wanted. It is true, however, that the slow process with a minimum of evaporation gives a flavor that compensates for the brown color and flavor. All burners should be removed if the holes seem clogged and be boiled out in a solution of washing soda, two tablespoonfuls to a gallon of water. Do not blacken the burners.