“Field-side Microwave” by say.today on the flickr.
Okay, right out of the gate I need to say that I’m one of those ignorant paranoiac luddites who’s still not totally convinced that microwaves are safe. So I am biased against them to begin with. (Please do not explain the science of their safety to me because I am unreasonable and stubborn and it would waste both our time for you to patiently demonstrate how they will not make us sterile or slowly irradiate our children.) I also prefer to make food in the oven because it comes out better. Anyone who has microwaved fries instead of sticking them under the broiler knows where I’m coming from.
I use the microwave for two things: popping corn and heating tea. The popcorn because it is a light snack that I do not have to slave over a pot and nervously try to capture it before it is flung all over the stovetop, and the tea because my beautiful teapot is in Portland.The microwave in the kitchen here has a “popcorn” button with which I’ve been experimenting with fairly good results. It also has a bunch of other preset buttons which I can never see myself using, such as for thawing meat, which the microwave is the last place I would be willing to do that.
“Late Night Snack” by Danielle de Leon on the flickr.
As I was heating tea around five minutes ago, I observed that, of course, there was no make-a-beverage-hot-but-not-scalding-setting. I made a “pfft!” noise as I watched the cup slowly spin from a safe distance, and I thought with disdain that any microwave which has automatic settings for all this other happy crap but no button for tea clearly knows nothing about me.
Then I thought, Why do I want the microwave to know things about me?
“Granddad’s Microwave” via funkjunkie on the tumblr.
The situation could be worse. When we moved Paolo and Miss D in to their present C-town domicile, the kitchen came complete with a vintage microwave that had a stunning array of preset suggestions. They started reasonably enough — settings for thawing meat and defrosting vegetables, then moving in to common entrees — but quickly progressed to some really obscure menu suggestions. The most shocking and thought-provoking one for me was, I shit you not, swordfish l’orange.
Swordfish l’orange: wow. Like, first of all, I would have never thought to prepare swordfish in that fashion — I’ve never prepared swordfish at all, actually, but I feel that l’orange would not be my “go-to” style — but more importantly, if someone, somewhere, actually took a notion to cook the dish in the first place, why would you do it in the microwave? On what planet is swordfish l’orange so in demand as a dish that you whip it up in the microwave like it is a freaking Lean Pocket? It truly boggled my mind.
My Aunt Harriet had a microwave in the eighties which talked and her magnificent neighbor’s no-good son who is dead now totally stole it one morning, but all of that’s a story for a different day. I got quite a few microwave stories, and they’re all pretty good. One involves both toplessness and fire (I live dangerously). I’m not sure if I have enough anecdotes to make it a regular feature, but I’ll think about it.