As if I didn’t have enough to show how woefully behind the times I am electronically, I just found that today (today to me, but Friday as you read this), is National Microwave Day.
There wasn’t much press on this momentous occasion, and for all I know it’s the brainchild of the microwave oven industry – worse things have been foisted on us. There’s probably a National Kitten Day lurking around the calendar’s corner.
The thing is, microwave ovens are out of my realm of understanding. I was looking the other way when they came onto the market and didn’t touch them for a long time. Consequently, now that they’re everywhere, I don’t really know how to use them properly.
The same thing occurred with pocket calculators. My older brothers were taught to use a slide rule in school, and my younger brothers, a calculator.
I came along during that cusp in which the instructors were throwing their slide rules into the trash can and catching their breath before the next big innovation came along, so I learned nothing of either.
For that reason, the typical thing I do with a microwave oven is to boil water or reheat a cup of coffee. Our refrigerator’s freezer compartment at work is crowded with microwave meals my co-workers have brought, but I always bring leftovers that don’t need cooking so much as they require reheating.
I don’t understand the logistics of cooking food with mysterious waves I can’t feel and am afraid of. The buttons make no sense. “Time defrost”? “Auto defrost”? “Beverage”? How is heating a beverage so different that it needs its own button?
I am afraid of those specialty buttons. I just click in some period of time – a minute, say – and let the oven run on “high.” I open the door, stick my finger into my food to see whether it’s warm, then nuke it a few seconds more. This goes on until it’s edible.
I cook everything on “high.” The other morning at home, I punched in the wrong time when heating a frozen sausage biscuit and overcooked it. The biscuit came out a rock and the sausage patty a hockey puck. I considered giving it to the dogs to chew on but realized they hadn’t done anything to me.
The one thing I can microwave is popcorn, but even that is puzzling. There is a “popcorn” button on every microwave oven I have seen. The directions on the popcorn bag, however, explicitly tell me not to use that button, but rather to zap it until the kernels stop popping. What, then, is the “popcorn” button for? Shrimp?
Microwave Oven Day? It would make as much sense to celebrate The Metric System Is Our Friend Day, or Hieroglyphics for Fun and Profit Day, or Take a Mortal Enemy to Work Day.
Microwave Oven Day? They should have a day devoted to classes teaching people like me to punch the correct buttons.
Reach Glynn Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org.