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What Is A Hob?

Asked by IneseGG. Answered on 22nd June 2019

Full question

What is a hob? Some of Nigella's recipes say to leave something on the hob, so I wondered what would be the North American equivalent of a hob? Thanks!

Image of Nigella's Moroccan Vegetable Pot with Couscous
Photo by Jonathan Lovekin
Moroccan Vegetable Pot and Couscous with Pine Nuts and Dill
By Nigella
  • 14
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Our answer

Nigella sometimes suggests to leave a pot "on the hob" and a hob is the British term for a stove top or cooktop. This is regardless of whether it is gas or electric and also regardless of whether it is a freestanding cooker or a built in/integrated oven with a separate stove top. Nigella uses the British version in her on-line recipes, but the term stove top is used for the US editions of her books.

The word "hob" is very old and originated from a time when cooking was done over open fires in large fireplaces. The hob was a shelf or grate that was placed at the back or to the side of the fire. It was intended to keep pots warm via indirect heat, rather than in the direct heat over the fire.

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