For best results, try, try again

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 23, 2011

Years ago when microwave ovens began appearing on store shelves, I noticed some as I browsed in Sears while I waited to pick up an order. I had read about microwave ovens and wanted to learn more. As a working wife and mother, I was interested in anything to make cooking and housework easier.

While I read about the merits of one of the microwaves on display, a Sears salesman that I knew stepped up. “Wouldn’t you like to have one of these?’ he asked. “Well…I don’t know. Maybe,” I replied “Tell you what,” he said, gesturing toward the one I was looking at, “why don’t I just load this one in your car today? Take it home and try it out. If you don’t like it, just bring it back.”

I was a little taken aback. He knew it. “Hey, I mean it. No obligation. Just try it out. If you decide you want to buy it, fine. If not, bring it back.”

Ten minutes later, I was on my way home with a microwave oven on the seat beside me in the car. One of the first things I did was fix some hot dogs for my daughter and a friend. I zapped the buns too long. They came out hard as cement. Obviously, I hadn’t read the oven directions closely. Lesson one—I couldn’t second guess that oven.

A couple of days later, I returned the oven. “I liked the microwave oven, but I brought it back,” I told our salesman friend. “It has a probe with it; I don’t need that. I’ll take one like it without the probe.”

I learned to really appreciate my oven several months later when I took an evening microwave cooking class at Andalusia High School from home economics teacher, Mrs. Louise Yeargain. To this day, I treasure and use those great recipes and the helpful tips Louise gave the class members. Thanks to her, I do more than boil water and heat things in my microwave.

Embracing the microwave so early gave me the courage to try a small appliance convection oven for home and the RV. The book had few recipes and scant directions, so I turned to the Internet. I found some discouraging and unfavorable comments about cooking with a convection oven.

However, I figured that if I graduated from cement-hard hot dog buns in a microwave to a luscious meat loaf, fresh creamed corn, and other delicious food, I could handle a convection oven. At first, a few things did not come out perfectly, but I follow what directions I have with care. I am still hunting some recipes (or a class). I’m proud to say that my latest convection project—six cornbread muffins—were not only beautiful, but also delicious.

When it comes to my cooking experiments, I have found that there is definitely merit to that old saying that goes something like, “If first you don’t succeed, try, and try again.”