The Wedding Stove

Back in 1955, my parents got married, built a house, and bought a Norge.

“A Norge?”

Let me put it this way…  Last month my folks celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary, they still live in the same house, and I spent most of August 2012 in front of the stove I learned to cook on — a 1955 Norge.

Mom calls it “The Wedding Stove.”

With a control panel reminiscent of a vintage Chevy dashboard and a dead-on oven thermostat, the Norge was instrumental in bolstering my kitchen confidence.  It was dependable.  I could rely on it.

As an added bonus, the dials lit up in hues from pale amber to stop-light red, depending on whether the burners were set to “lo,” “hi,” or in between.  Very cool.

Then came the great kitchen remodel of 1969, when the Norge was relegated to the basement, replaced by a state-of-the-art JennAir.

After almost 15 years of faithful service, The Wedding Stove became an “extra” to use during the holidays, roasting turkeys too large to fit in the “new fangled” (and much smaller) oven upstairs.

Nestled in a corner of the laundry room next to an ironing board (the one I learned to iron on…), the Norge is flanked by a mirror that once hung in my grandparents’ home, alongside the original kitchen cupboards and sink my sister and I used to argue over.  (You know… “It’s your turn to do dishes” and all that.)

If stoves could talk…

Personally, I think the ol’ Norge has been been waiting for me to come home and run it through its paces again.  After all, it’s a huge adjustment to go from cooking three square meals a day to one or two turkeys a year.

So, when Mom and Dad needed help last month, I offered to stay.  I also offered to cook.  On the Norge.

(And in case you’re wondering why I didn’t use the kitchen upstairs, it’s because of the latest upgrade — a ceramic cook-top stove with a convection oven.)

Honestly, that thing has so many digital read-outs, I was afraid I’d send it into orbit if I accidentally pushed the wrong touch pad.

I call it “The Space Shuttle.” :)

So… down to the basement I went, armed with two cast iron skillets, remnants of Mom’s 1950’s cookware (retrieved from the bottom of the linen closet), and a whole lot of memories.

For the better part of August, I puttered in front of the Norge, just like in the “olden days,” and it performed like a pro.

This faithful “first stove” (for Mom and me) churned out meals that would have made Betty Crocker proud… meatloaf with mashed potatoes, baked ham with glazed carrots, pot roast dinners, homemade soups and stews, chicken and baked potatoes, cookies, quick breads, and pies.

Then I decided to make a “modern day” meal…

And the Norge blew up.

Actually, it kind of popped, followed by a flash and a fizzle… no burners — no oven — no nothin’.  I guess I finally wore it out.

Either that, or it didn’t like “convenience food.”

But Dad sure did.

He took one bite and said, “Whatever this is, it’s goood.

Stuffed Pasta Shells

1 (28 oz.) jar spaghetti sauce (your choice of flavor)

1/2 pkg. jumbo pasta shells, cooked and drained

1 chicken breast, cooked and chopped (I used leftover chicken)

1 c. ricotta cheese (or small curd cottage cheese)

1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese (plus extra for sprinkling)

1 c. shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided (reserve half for the top)

1 egg, beaten

1/2 small onion, diced (green onions are good in this, too)

1/4 tsp. garlic powder, or to taste

Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Ladle enough sauce to cover the bottom of a rectangular baking dish; set remaining sauce aside.

In a medium bowl, combine chicken, cheeses, egg, onion and seasonings; mix well.

Fill each shell with chicken mixture; place in baking dish.

Cover with remaining sauce.

Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese and reserved Mozzarella.

Cover with foil; bake 30 minutes.  Uncover; bake 15 minutes more.

Serve with warm bread or garlic toast, salad, and fresh fruit.

Sorry, no “after” photo — had to finish it in “The Space Shuttle.”

Mom is calling an electrician this week.  Long live The Wedding Stove.

Enjoying a step back in time,

~ Kim

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27 thoughts on “The Wedding Stove

  1. Awwww the story of Ol’ Norge is one to marvel at – never have I heard of such an old and reliable stove :D
    Granted it was not a huge fan of your stunning pasta shells but these old ones need some time to adjust to modern day ;)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    • CCU, that stove was waaaay before your time. :) Glad you liked the story! I agree with your comment about “old ones” needing time to adjust to modern day. I feel that way every time I turn on my computer, lol!

  2. Have u heard of Pawn Stars? My family loves watching this American program on TV. It’s about people bringing in their old stuff to sell or pawn. It’s a fun show. Somehow, this program popped up as I was reading your post. Lol! I’m imagining u carrying the Wedding Stove into the shop :) U certainly need some skills cooking in one of these…

    • Shirley, I’ve only seen that show a couple of times and what an incredible array of stuff folks bring in to sell. I was thinking I need to learn some cooking skills for the “modern” stove, ha! Thanks for coming by to comment, xo.

  3. Kim, again your writing is so perfect. I could imagine you not only now but also as a beautiful little girl working on this magical stove! What a wonderful thing that your parents kept the stove. I always tell my mom I wished that we had kept a lot of our “childhood” sadly we moved to so much it wasn’t possible. Your stuffed pasta is right up my alley…the pasta alley ;) Luv ya.

    • Isabelle, I made a “Florentine Alfredo” version for my Mom, too. :) (Substituted spinach for the chicken and homemade Alfredo sauce for the spaghetti sauce.) It was creamy and delish — you’d love it! Sorry to hear your childhood stove is long gone — it still amazes me that Mom & Dad still live in the same house. I guess I made up for it with all of my moving, ha!

  4. Those stuffed pasta shells sound delicious. I’m sure the Norge couldn’t have been objecting to them… it was just tired. Fingers crossed that the electrician can fix it. I’m always amazed at how well older appliances hold up compared to new ones.

    • So do I, Denise! The “new fangled” stove’s burners were so hot (I called them “Turbo burners”) that I couldn’t get a sauce to simmer without bubbling all over the cooktop… aarrggh. I’m hoping it’s just a fuse or something — if they even make them anymore!

  5. I love this post! It reminds me of the oven my mother had in our basement along with a really interesting cooking contraption that I can’t name at the moment. It also reminded me of the smell of turkey wafting through the register when she placed that bird in the oven to roast all night so that we could have an early Thanksgiving dinner. Needless to say the stuffed shells brought back some memories as well! Yes, this post was like a walk down memory lane. Thank you, Kim. So sorry about the stove, however!

    • Sue Ann, I’m glad this post evoked memories for you. I enjoyed yours very much, too! Now you have me curious… let me know if you think of the other cooking contraption!

    • Maj, the “oldies but goodies” were state of the art for their time –it’s neat to know that your grandparents cooked on one like it (even if I’m feeling slightly dated… lol!) LOTS of good food and great memories!

  6. Love the Norge story, Kimby, and I remember the looks of it as we had a similar one growing up, too…I think it deserves a place of dignity since it’s no longer a workhorse…maybe do a WV thing (and I’m from WV so I can say this!! lol!) Put it on your front porch or in the yard, pull out the eyes and make a big ol’ fancy flower pot displayer outta it…over time it’ll patina, rust and become very very valuable…maybe even be sought after by antique dealers…it’s got a helluva backstory!! Love it!! xo Ally

    • Ally, that is TOO funny! I’ve seen some wonderfully re-purposed items transformed into flower gardens –from bed springs to row boats — but I’ve never seen a stove! Maybe I’ll have to haul the ol’ Norge to Oklahoma… ;)

  7. This story really made me smile :) What an awesome stove! Sorry it gave up the ghost but by the sounds of it, it had a pretty good run. And at least its last meal was a doozie! Loving these shells

  8. That old Norge, when I saw the picture in your post, the first thing I thought of was popping popcorn the ole fashion way. Mom’s biggest pot with a lid, hot oil, throw in a few grains for test the oil temp, pore in the corn, and start the shaking back and forth. Gooood memories!!! :-) Kenny T

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  10. oh my gosh, I bet if you took that stove to the antiques roadshow (cue laughter at you hauling such a big piece to them haha), you’d find out it’s worth a fortune! So sad that you blew it up but I do hope it can be fixed. I bet there aren’t a lot of working ones still around. Such a lovely story!

  11. Dear Kim,

    I’ve kept some of my mum’s crockery that she bought in the 80s when my sister and I came to Australia for university. It’s so nostalgic!

    The Norge looks like one robust and sturdy piece of equipment. It’s amazing how these older generation models are designed to do the job can last so much longer compared to some of the modern ones with all the gizmos and fancy functions.

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  13. DONT BELIEVE a ELECTRICIAN…They HATE working on appliances, Re wiring a stove is not a big deal and parts are available, check out a club I belong to, automaticwasher.org, its a club for collectors of old appliances, don’t give up, im sure it can be fixed! Hans Craig….My name on the clubs website is Norgeway

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