Ah, the infamous ‘hob!’

Looks nice, but how the heck do you turn it on?

Last resort–read the instructions–carefully! Remember the renter who couldn’t figure out how to use the stove-top in her rental condo? Well, here we are in Bandol, France, having promised to cook a meal for friends, and guess what?

Five times I pushed buttons, got beeps, put the espresso coffee pot on the burner that said it was on and it shut off without heating up. My ultimate strategy in these situations is to turn them over to my Mr. Fix-it. (He says I break things, he fixes them. I say, you make messes, I clean them up. It’s a fair exchange.) This time I did him the favor of finding all of the instruction books and digging out the one for what Europeans call, “the hob,” and we call the stove-top.

It took him awhile to figure it out–the stove does not stay on unless you have the right size pot on the burner–but he got it. The espresso coffeemaker? That is never going to work because it doesn’t fit on any of the burners. Sausage and eggs for breakfast, no espresso!

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