Trina Machacek: New microwave, same burned popcorn
September 24, 2018
If you have been on Mother Earth for more than, let's say, 50 years, you may remember when microwave ovens were a new thing. I still have no idea how a microwave oven works. Of course I still don't know how my father could make a long string and two tin cans work like a telephone. That one still amazes me. All the things that have surrounded the evolution of the microwave are just as amazing, but some are more along the lines of mind-boggling.
I recently had to purchase a new microwave oven. Mine is a counter top model. Actually, it sits on a cart designed especially for microwave ovens. I've always admired ladies who get to have their microwave built in. Either above the stove or maybe in a cubbyhole in the wall near a built-in double oven. Yes, in that huge kitchen, next to a work station where you would be able to lift a 26-pound turkey out of the oven and set said turkey up on that nice close counter instead of lifting out that silly bird and have to carry it across the kitchen and put it up on a counter already full of kitchen items — like a microwave oven. I do go on, don't I? If I were a microwave oven I'm sure I would have scorched the popcorn by now!
The first microwave ovens weighed in at about the same as a real oven. Seriously, it took two of us to get that first one in the house and out of the box. Apparently the safety aspect of keeping those microwaves inside the oven took more steel than the new ones do because this new one weighs less than the box it came in!
I am not a microwave oven cooker. I use mine for defrosting a pound of hamburger that I forgot to take out of the freezer in time to make tacos for dinner. Or to make that late-night movie sack of popcorn. I actually even thought about not replacing my recently deceased oven. I got over that. What in the world would I do with all the stuff on the bottom two shelves of the microwave oven cart!
I don't want to admit it, but I will. This new microwave is way too smart for me. Of course the instruction book is in four languages. After I got through all the information about how important it is not to plug in the oven and then put it in the shower because water and electricity do not like each other, I went on to try to figure out all the cool things this baby can do.
Power levels, programing for mixed meals, resting periods. It took me more time than it should have just to learn how to set the clock. That's a big thing since in the area where I live we seem to have our fair share of power bumps. And is it just me or does it drive you nuts to see the blue light blinking too? Oh, remember that blinking light on the front of the VCRs? "12:00-12:00-12:00 …" Time to move on.
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I always wondered where the story came from about men becoming sterile from microwaves. If that were true, it would make sense to me to put male cats in a room with 100 microwave ovens on high and, poof, well, you know. Or how many times have you heard stories about people putting live things in microwaves? Come on, really? Who comes up with this stuff? For me, I still don't understand why a marshmallow gets bigger in the microwave. That's about the extent of my knowledge of scientific experimental activity with a microwave oven.
I don't really like this new model. It is much lighter than my last one. So much so that when I grab the handle to open the door the cute little "do dahs" I have sitting on the top all wiggle. My last one, the one that weighed more than a small car, had enough heft as to hold its own up against the floor moving causing things displayed on top to wiggle when I walked by it. This one jiggles. That's a real appetite killer, I'll tell ya!
With time all things change. This oven cost about one-fourth of what my first one cost and it does about 10 times more. The first ones had a dial that you turned, it was just a one-ding timer. Now there is a touch pad that at your touch you can "beep, beep, beep" your way to a fully cooked four-course meal.
Or you can just have that dang scorched popcorn. Some things just never change.
Trina lives in Eureka, Nevada. Share with her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Really!