Oven valeting – how did we live without it?

Today I saw a van from a company that does “oven valeting”, wow! I suppose they clean ovens that have become extremely grungy with lots of heavy roasting, baking, grilling, conflagration disasters and whatnot, but “oven valeting”??!! Why not oven cleaning? I still can’t believe it.

The van was from a company called Ovenu, who have a YouTube clip on their website in which they pronounce the t in “valeting” (“valetting”), rather than omitting it French-style and pronouncing the word “valay-ing” as I had rather expected. Actually, their pronunciation is arguably preferable, or at least posher. When the Robert Altman film Gosford Park came out in 2001 there was quite a lot of comment that “valet” was pronounced “vallet” in the film with a final t rather than “valay”, but this was said to be the authentic pronunciation of the time (1930s I think), and “valay” is apparently a neologism, or at least a little déclassé. This was confirmed for me a year or two later when I heard an elderly lady who had been a maid in a country house (in Norfolk, I think) on BBC Radio 4 pronounce it “vallet”.

But “oven valeting”, how incredibly pretentious! It all started in the States in the 80s, I believe, when “car valeting” began to be used to mean to park your car at fancy hotels, etc, and also for washing, waxing and cleaning the interior of your car.

My great regret is that I didn’t have my camera on me to photograph the van for Flickr (or rather I did but the battery was flat).But I did manage to photograph a van with a John Ruskin quotation – and a semi-colon, which is a lot classier than oven valeting so far as I am concerned.

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