In the 1970s, when induction cooking was launched in the U.S., it seemed like a flash in the pan. But the unconventional stovetop technologywhich uses magnetic forces to create heat in iron-based potsnow seems to be here to stay. Last year, a few European companies introduced a small selection of induction units in the U.S.; now Viking is making the cooktops widely available in 30- and 36-inch sizes. Highly energy-efficient and safe (only the area directly under the pan gets hot, while the rest of the stovetop stays cool), induction cooking is also fast: Water boils in less than three minutes. DETAILS From $1,750; 888-VIKING1.