Microwaving is still complex

Published 1:52 am Saturday, September 26, 2009

I’ve been using a microwave oven for years. I might even have bought one of the first ones a local store offered in the 1970s. I’d been reading about them for some time when I saw one advertised and decided to drop by to take a look.

The sales person was very helpful. He answered some of my questions and then surprised me with a question of his own. “Why don’t I just take this one out to your car for you and you take it home?” he said. “Just try it out for a few days to see how you like it. Bring it back if you don’t like it.”

I was flabbergasted and hesitated for a few seconds. “Well… I think I will,” I stammered. So off I drove with that microwave oven. I learned something very important about it right away. I found that if I didn’t follow directions, I really messed up. There were several incidents where I tried to do it my way. I goofed several times. Once I heated some hot dog buns that came out hard as bricks.

Once I got the hang of it, though, I was convinced. I wanted a microwave oven, had to have it. I didn’t need the temperature probe that came with it, though. My husband loaded it in the car for me and I took it back to the store. The salesman greeted me with a smile. I think he knew he had made a sale the day he suggested I try it out. I drove back home with a similar microwave oven, minus the probe.

That appliance lasted for years and years. Even when I broke the glass plate inside it, I found something that worked just as well. When it finally played out, I had a hard time finding one as large as I wanted.

Some people use microwave ovens to heat coffee or tea, etc. and to zap TV dinners, and that’s about it. But I’ve found lots of uses for mine. After I had it for a while, Andalusia High School home economics teacher Louise Yeargain offered a class in microwave cooking. I don’t think there were any microwave cookbooks available at that time. I attended the class as a reporter to write an article for The Andalusia Star-News and to get all I could out of it to improve my own microwave cooking. The recipes from the class got so tattered from use through the years that I finally made copies of them before they fell apart. They are tucked in one of my cookbooks and I use them often.

I’m still learning, though. Recently I microwaved some pasta in a motel oven with which I wasn’t familiar. When I opened it, the top of the container had caved in and the bottom was sticky. I didn’t have any directions. I did it my way and my way was wrong.