Video: Secret Surprise Kitchen Appliance

Old houses, old kitchens, and secret surprises. That has been the story of our current moving-in process. We are working with an old kitchen that has its challenges... and its Bat Cave-style surprises. Check out the video above to see what we found as we were exploring the mysterious buttons and gadgets in our kitchen!

I had just been lamenting the fact that this kitchen had no vent (or backsplash) over the stove. I like to cook hot and heavy, so this was a problem. We were considering a new vent that would just circulate air - not optimal, but better than nothing.

And then we started pushing random buttons on the stove, there was a click and a whir, and presto! Like something out of a comic book, what we thought was a flat panel and part of the stove turns into a shiny vent and comes rising up out of nowhere! We were flabbergasted.

Turns out that it's an old version of the Thermador brand's Cook 'n' Vent. It's attached to a seriously big vent that goes down through the basement and out the back of the house. This vent is huge; it's not messing around. In fact, it's bigger than our dryer vent!

The sad part is that the vent blower does not seem to work. We haven't had an electrician come and look at it yet, but we will.

Until then - I'm curious. Anyone have a downdraft vent, and if so, have you ever seen one this old? How did it work out for you?

Related: Good Question: Do I Absolutely Need a Range Hood?

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Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.

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