Skip to content

Living with Foreigners: Part 3 – Microwaves are Dark Magic

July 29, 2016

Having grown up in the United States, I tend to take many things for granted. There has always been reliable electricity. Clean drinking water is treated and distributed right to my faucets. Cell phones are ubiquitous. We don’t have to watch out for roaming packs of hyenas. And we don’t typically burn animal dung to cook our food. You know, things like that.

According to Arthur C. Clarke’s three laws, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Now depending on your specific upbringing, I could understand while someone might consider a microwave magic. There are no visible flames or red hot burners to show how the food is cooked. You simply trust that invisible micro rays of power are mystically permeating the comestibles and, somehow, this process all safely transpires in the confines of a metal box with a door in your kitchen.

Therefore, I have taken to laying out some very specific rules for microwave usage for my parents-in-law that could best be interpreted as dealing with an evil temperamental genie that occasionally grants your wishes but often does so in malevolent ways like a cursed monkey paw.

Rule #1: The genie does not like metal offerings so refrain from presenting it with silverware or other metal objects. I say usually because there are exceptions to this rule. For example, hot pocket crisper sleeves contain metal but usually don’t cause a problem. However, given enough time, these metal sleeves can erupt into violent flames. Be wary of metal.

Rule #2: Nothing should ever be cooked in the microwave for more then 8 minutes. I don’t care whether it’s a turkey or a waffle. If the instructions say that it should be cooked longer than 8 minutes in a microwave, follow the directions for cooking it in a conventional oven instead. While the instructions may state that something should be cooked longer then this, they are WRONG. This is just tempting the beast to devour your food and engulf it as a burnt sacrifice. Bad genie.

Rule #3: Do not try to cook raw meat in the microwave. It seems tempting at first. You have several pounds of hamburger that quickly needs thawed and dinner time is quickly approaching. What should you do? Forget the defrost settings. They only cook parts of the meat well-done and leave other parts as bleeding masses.

Rule #4: Always use glass containers. Plastics are a toss-up. Either the plastic withstands the searing heat or else congeals into a lumpy meld with whatever food you are attempting to heat but, unfortunately, there is no way to know in advance. My vote is to never heat food in plastic or styrofoam containers.

Rule #5: Use something to cover whatever you’re cooking. It can be one of those cheap plastic lids sold at the dollar store or a paper towel, but foods have a way of erupting in the microwave and nothing can interrupt an otherwise tranquil evening than having to scrub the entire microwave because a frozen dinner exploded and left it’s residual mess over every square inch of the microwaves interior.

In summary, much like most technology, microwaves can be either a blessing or a curse. Now if I can just disabuse my in-laws of the notion that when I once said “just nuke it in the microwave” that I wasn’t advancing the theory that the food is actually bombarded with radioactive waves a-la Hiroshima, this would be a step in the right direction. Or at least, they may stop donning sunglasses whenever they go to cook something in the microwave.

Comments are closed.