Wednesday, March 12, 2008


My kitchen doesn't have a lot of things most people do. We don't have a dishwasher, that's ok. With only two of us we don't even need to wash dishes every day. I rinse everything after a meal, and stack them in the sink. As long as there's no standing water, we have no problem with smells or insects, so I can wait until I have a sinkful. I like the pattern on my dishes, so I actually enjoy washing them by hand, admiring them as I arrange them in the dish drainer all lined up neatly to dry. The chickens would be insulted if we ever got a garbage disposal. The stainless steel bucket with lid works for all of us. I'm even ok with not having a furnace or heater. The wood stove keeps us warm all winter long.

But a microwave is so very convenient. We've had a dinosaur of a microwave since 1984.The old thing was huge - big enough to cook a 20-pound turkey, should we desire. No fancy buttons or push pads - just one dial for the time, another for the power setting, and a button to push. No turntable - I had to manually stop it and turn the foods if required. Then, today when I went to heat some milk for my morning coffee, it wouldn't stay on. I could stand there and hold the start button in and it would still work, but that would get bothersome fast.

I'm old enough to remember how things were before microwaves. You'd have to plan tomorrow's dinner the night before so whatever you were having could defrost in the refrigerator overnight. Reheating any leftovers meant getting a pan dirty, and sweet rolls were warmed up in a skillet with a lid. Making nachos meant an oven-proof plate and a hotpad to set it upon. We already use a Whirley-Pop on the stovetop for popcorn. I knew I could get along without a microwave if I had to.

I remember the first time I saw a microwave work. It was about 1970. A friend from school had a party down in his basement, and said his folks had just bought a microwave oven. "You have to see it work!" he said, so we all trooped upstairs to the kitchen. He filled a glass with ice cubes, put it inside, and pushed the button. We crowded around and watched, amazed, as the ice melted down before our eyes, and then the water started to boil, all without harming the glass.

When Aries got home from work, he took the old thing apart enough to realize that fixing it would be beyond his capabilities, even if we could find the parts. He's so very talented in fixing stuff around the house - we never have to call anyone else when something breaks. This was something burned out in the computer board. He got on the internet for a while to check schematics, parts availability, and prices and then said, "Let's go shopping." I was ready.

I like the looks of the one we picked. It's black, and has a retro look to it, back when the old stuff was trying to look futuristic. It's so much smaller than the old one, I have extra space in the cabinet, and might have to make different curtains for the upper cupboard that will hang down longer. The power cord is a lot shorter, so Aries had to cut another hole to reach the outlet to plug it in. I doubt I'll use even a quarter of the different buttons and settings this one has. As long as I can conveniently have my cafe au lait and nachos, I'm happy.

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