The stove is the workhorse of the kitchen, burners dutifully heating up on command to prepare meals at all times of day, season after season. It works hard, and that work shows: in a splotch of tomato sauce from Monday, some sauteed greens from Tuesday, bits of fried rice from Wednesday. After days of cooking, the stove can come to be a map for solving The Mystery of What We Ate This Past Week. After a month of cooking, the stove can take on a golden-brown patina of oil and grime that looks anything but appetizing.
A stove should be kept clean for your physical health—bacteria builds up in those chunks of minced garlic that never made it into the pan or the bean broth that spilled over the side of the pot—and also for your mental health. A gleaming stove is inspiring, inviting you to cook your next meal with excitement and ambition. A clean stove is a point of pride, an indication of your respect for your kitchen and the work that you do there. And a sparkling stove is contagious (in a good way!), a motivation for washing up those last few spoons in the sink or wiping down the counters one more time.