It seems to me that appliances don’t last as long as the ones we had growing up. As soon as the warranty expires, you can count on complete systems failure. I am old enough to remember when my family got our first microwave. It was a behemoth. It took two grown men to lift it and had the interior capacity to cook a turkey. It even came with a built in temperature probe.
Just Don’t Stand In Front Of It
In those days the microwave was considered the “new” way to cook everything. Mom frequently made scrambled eggs in the microwave. I’m sure it was fast and easy for a large family, but the consistency of the eggs was a little rubbery, and they had a bit of a green tinge. We joked that we were having green eggs and ham.
As with all new technology, there is usually a caution about danger to the human body. We were told, “Don’t stand in front of the microwave, or you will get slowly cooked from the inside out!” Then why was there a viewing window on the door? Unlike a watched pot, a watched microwave seems to do just fine.
I still hear my mother’s voice every time I cook a frozen burrito, “Don’t stand there staring at the door…It makes a noise when it’s done.” Our first microwave had a klaxon rather than a bell when the timer ran down; you could get hearing loss as well as radiation poisoning if you stood too close.
Must Have Been A Gremlin
One of the most unpleasant chores I remember growing up was cleaning the huge microwave. No one would cover anything they put in to cook, so there were frequent messy explosions. It looked like we had a battle with gremlins every week, and one had to be dispatched in the microwave. Instead of wiping out their mess, my brothers and sisters would pretend nothing happened. It was like removing barnacles from a boat by the time cleaning day arrived.
I’m not saying it happened in our house (it did), but some people would put things in the microwave just to see them blow up. Foods with beans and hot dogs are pretty spectacular. Unless, of course, it was your turn to clean the microwave that week.
I always heard stories of people putting insects or rodents in a microwave and thought it would be interesting to see the results. I think it would be satisfying to watch through the viewing window as a poisonous spider pranced around until…POP…and eight little legs and bubbling goo erupt in all directions. My problem with that was, I still had to use it to cook food…eeewwww.
Knives, Forks, And Plastic Plates
Especially in the beginning, all kinds of metal utensils were getting left in the microwave. We all knew this was a cardinal sin and would create an awful sparking accompanied by a horrible humming noise. It wasn’t good. I always worried about that kind of reaction with the fillings in my teeth when I stood in front of the viewing screen.
In those days, you couldn’t trust the containers anything came in because it might be partly metal. Like a can of soup…who’d a thought? All food items had to be taken out of their packaging and placed in a bowl or on a plate. We used plastic or glass in those days because we didn’t know any better.
We have now learned that microwaving certain plastics can leach harmful chemicals into the foods you are cooking. That’s just great…because there aren’t enough harmful chemicals in the average frozen burrito? Technology has made breakfast a health hazard.
Don’t Put Your Head In A Microwave
One of the most interesting features of our first microwave oven was a table of food items and their subsequent cooking times and temperature. Probably a very useful thing in a time when entire meals were cooked in the microwave. The problem was, the chart was on the inside wall of the oven. You would have to put your head inside to read the information.
I have seen enough horror movies to know that you never put your head in a microwave oven. Never ever! That’s just asking to get your brain cooked from the inside out before it explodes all over the inside of the microwave. Not to mention the reaction the metal fillings in your teeth will have with the microwaves. Sparking and arcing inside your mouth with an intense humming that would drown out the klaxon of the timer.
They say that a microwave will not operate when the door is open, but I don’t believe it. A conventional oven works whether the door is open or closed. The safe bet is just not to put your head in the microwave for any reason.
Risk vs. Reward
When it comes down to it, you must weigh the benefits against the potential dangers of using your microwave oven. Are you willing to risk radiation poisoning, hearing loss, and chemical toxicity in order to get popcorn that’s ready before the commercial is over. For me, personally, the answer is yes.
As I stare through the viewing window on my microwave door, I feel the familiar tingle amid my molars. My wife tells me not stand in front of the microwave, but I don’t hear her as the klaxon goes off. I grab the plastic bowl containing my soup, because I know that soup cans contain metal. I forget that the container can also get very hot in the microwave oven and burn my fingers. I spill the steaming soup down the front of my chest. It sears my flesh through my shirt, but at least I am saved from the carcinogens that have bonded with my food from the plastic bowl.
My family’s first microwave was a monster that put in 15 years of active duty. I now purchase a new microwave yearly because they do not last. It is used mainly for breakfast sandwiches, leftovers, and microwave popcorn. I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam I am. I do not like them in a dish or in my truck. I do not like them with a fish…and Idaho does not suck!