I walked into the office break room the other day to find a
co-worker cleaning up what appeared to be a volcanic eruption. I
knew immediately what had happened - she tried to cook grits in the
microwave. A month prior, I had experienced the same catastrophic
result with a packet of quick cooking oatmeal. There are just some
foods that are not microwave friendly, even though the cooking
instructions would lead you to believe otherwise. The trick is in
the line "place contents in a microwavable bowl." What this means
with food products that rapidly expand is to find a bowl the size
of the Grand Canyon. Otherwise, it's coming over the top.
I remember when my second husband and I combined households. He
brought a very large, yet very old television. We set it up in the
living room and moved the smaller model into the bedroom. As we sat
the first night enjoying the larger screen, my daughters asked for
the remote control. "There is none," he replied. "Oh, you mean it's
lost?" my daughter inquired. "No, this tv didn't come with a remote
control," he explained. My daughters looked at each other, puzzled,
then broke into laughter thinking he was pulling their leg.
Today my daughters have homes of their own and they could not
even begin to comprehend a television without a remote control or a
kitchen without a microwave. Do you remember when there were no
microwaves? We Boomers can. Food was cooked on the stove or
in an oven. Convenience meant using a toaster oven. Baby bottles
were heated in a pot of boiling water, sometimes the same one used
to sterilize the bottles afterwards. When microwaves came on the
scene, we hesitated. There were too many stories of radiation
poisoning, becoming sterile, frying the brains or growing a second
head. And then a few of us tried them and there was no turning
Microwaves have come a long way - they are sleeker, smaller,
more powerful and come in colors to match our kitchens. But as
sophisticated as they have become, you still cannot microwave
everything. They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but
this boomer learned how to live cohesively with a microwave. But
also like an old dog, it only takes one or two smacks on the snout
with a newspaper to learn "don't do it again." I learned that some
things should not go in the microwave.
Anything that expands in water. The aforementioned grits and
oatmeal are two prime examples. If the directions say "put in a
microwavable bowl, add water and cook on high for x number of
minutes," don't do it. You will end up with approximately one
teaspoon of finished product and the rest you will get to scrape
off every inch of the internal surface.
Bread. You may think that "warming" the bread in a microwave is
a synch and so convenient. But if you set the timer one nanosecond
too long, that warm soft bread you remove from the microwave will
become a lethal weapon when it cools. I have seen Ginsu knives
crack in half while trying to slice it.
Cheese. Similar concept to the bread. A second too long and you
will be gnawing on something with a consistency similar to a
Michelin radial tire.
Baby bottles. Always overheat. The time you save heating that
bottle in the microwave will be eaten up as you run said bottle
under the cold water faucet. Plus you will have a screaming
grandbaby on your hands.
Hot water in a coffee or tea cup. Though I have never had this
happen to me, apparently the molecules get all jazzed up and can
potentially explode in your face when you jostle the cup. I know it
sounds ridiculous, but I read it in an email someone sent to me and
like a thousand other people, so it must be true.
Roasts. Sorry, but meat is meant to be slow-cooked. This is what
ovens are for - cook the old-fashioned way so the house gets to
bask in the aroma all day.
Ice cream. Personally, I always put my ice cream in the
microwave for thirty seconds because I like it soupy. But the
ridicule you endure from friends and family howling, "She puts her
ice cream in the microwave" is not always worth it.
Anything with metal. Now most of us realize that tin plates,
aluminum foil, pots and pans should not go in the microwave. But we
are sometimes caught off guard by items that have thin lines of
metal running through it that are not obvious. This causes
fireworks and loud noises to emanate from your microwave oven. I am
not talking about pretty, colorful Fourth of July displays. I am
talking about the scene you witness when traveling on the highway
doing 70 MPH and the car in front of you has its muffler come
loose. The tricky part is mustering up courage to get close enough
to the microwave to hit the "stop" button before the timer runs
Honestly, aside from heating leftovers and melting my frozen
yogurt (I've switched because I can justify it by calling it
yogurt), I don't use the microwave. I'm still an old-fashioned girl
who pre-heats the oven and uses pot holders. My mother and
grandmother would be proud. My daughters? They want a microwave
with a remote control.