Saturday, October 24, 2009

why i don't miss my microwave

I haven't had a microwave in years. Even after a friend gave us one during our move out here, I didn't use it, and it has since been dropped off at a donation site. It finally occured to me one day that it didn't take much longer to boil water on the stovetop than it did in the microwave, and pretty much everything that will cook in either an oven or a microwave tastes WAY better when it's cooked in an oven. I don't really do frozen dinners, and popping a potato into the oven is no more difficult than popping it into the microwave -- you just have to do it earlier.

Microwaves take up a lot of space, they're loud, and sometimes you put things in them that really don't belong. I mean, you would never throw a styrofoam container full of leftovers into the oven thinking, "If it doesn't cook for very long, it's okay, right?" And with a microwave, you can't always tell which plates are going to warm up nicely and which are going to burn the living crap out of you. Give me a good oven-to-table plate -- I know it'll burn the crap out of me every time. That's what pot holders are for. You wouldn't dream of removing anything from the oven without a pot holder, but how many times have you grabbed hold of that mug or bowl or plate in the microwave, expecting it to be hold-able, only to discover it's not?

We once threw a party at our old house in Roebuck Springs, and someone showed up with some sauce that was supposed to be heated in a microwave. When she discovered we didn't have one, she didn't know what to do. It reminded me of the time I was talking about my old 45s to a much younger friend, and he asked me what a 45 was. My eyes got really big and then I laughed. Not at him, but at the reminder that we all exist in our own cultural contexts.

I showed the party girl how to empty the sauce into a saucepan and heat it on the stovetop using a very low flame. Perhaps this will come in handy someday when she's lost in the wilderness of someone else's kitchen.

But the biggest reason I don't miss my microwave? Three words: red sauce splatter.