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these are a few of my least favorite things . . .

July 6, 2010

The Pile series is supposed to be easy, and yet I am unable to record pile recipes for you at the moment. Aside from my books and kitchen still being boxed up, it is 100 degrees this week. No no sorry: I have an update. It is actually 102.

So instead of posting a recipe for the only thing that anyone feels like eating this week — a pile of fat, sweating grapes (have you noticed that grapes are the only thing that looks great fat and sweating?) — I will get you up to speed on a few other pressing topics.

Paper plates If anyone will be delighted to learn that I have been eating off of paper plates of late, in the 2 days before the move and in the 2 days after it, then it is surely my parents. Apart from being the 2 people on earth most likely to care about pretty much anything related to me, they truly appreciate the ease and convenience of paper plates.

And thus, they foist them upon me.

Whenever I have a baby or move, they try to drive down. Before turning on the GPS and steeling themselves for New York traffic, they fill the trunk of the Camry with their own towels, their own pillows, and a stash of paper plates. While I am happy about the arrival of the parents, and their desire to keep me from doing laundry, the arrival of the plates drives me around the bend, because to my mind, the only thing worse than throwing your plates away after you have used them is throwing your plates away before you have used them.

Paper plates make me feel like I have given up. And since I cannot bring myself to use them, either during their visit or afterward, I must store them in a cabinet. There, they fester in a tall pile until the next batch arrives, and the new pile makes what was the old pile look shrimpy.

However, just before and just after the move, I had not only given up on aesthetics and on the environment, I had also given up on cooking and cleaning. We just ordered in and ate off of the plates. Consequently, I have now squandered a very small percentage of the plates — which does not mean that I need them replenished. But see, I had indeed waved a white flag. This surrender will not impress my parents as much as my next announcement.

Drum roll, please:

For the first time since I have lived on my own, I am now roommates with a microwave.

“There’s a perfectly good one in the basement, Mere, that we’ve been saving for you should you ever want it,” is the chorus of a song that became popular in the late ’80s in certain parts of Connecticut.

And it has proven to be an evergreen hit.

However, I’ve never needed one, and I never have so much counter space that I’d prefer to dedicate it to a microwave rather than to something else. I understand the convenience of not using the stove, but I cannot escape from my belief that we (take that as the royal we if you have your own dearly held beliefs) shouldn’t stray too far from traditional cooking methods — convection, conduction, and radiation. Yes, microwaves rely on radiation but it is more the sort that makes one want to steal a leaden vestment from the dentist just in case, rather than the friendly, analog radiation of the broiler or the toaster.

And I suppose I prefer cooking tools where, if you accidentally slipped your pet in there for a moment, all wouldn’t necessarily be lost.

Yes, I am aware that you can cook corn really fast in a microwave. But what if I am fine with my corn taking four minutes instead of three? And what if the more that you want to shave that minute off, the less likely it is that I’ll want to?

But now, a new microwave has entered my life. Like the cheddar I found in the fridge and snuck into dinner last night, it lived here before we did. This microwave is not on the counter, it is somehow built in above the stove and below a cabinet: it is an actual part of the kitchen.

It has a vent in it that exhausts from the stove, and when you put pizza in it and push a button marked “pizza,” it asks how much pizza, and when it is apprised that it is enough pizza for a whole little family, it turns itself on for 5 minutes, which must surely be too long. In other words, it is a microwave that thinks it knows better than me. Imagine that!

The pizza incident reminds me of my husband’s recent birthday, when my father took Matthew aside and informed him privately that they’d like to buy him a microwave. For the sake of convenience, he explained. Though they know that I don’t want one, he continued, which is why they were asking him privately.

What is even less convenient than a cold cup of coffee is being embroiled (radiation) between your wife and her parents over a heated consumer electronics debate.

We did not get a microwave at that point.

But now, we have a microwave. I know that it is not good for heating pizza, but it was 100 yesterday. The main thing that I know that it is good for heating tortillas. So now there are even fewer obstructions to making tacos. That is simply frightening . . . .


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Dad permalink
    July 6, 2010 11:34 pm

    You’ve come a long way baby! (even though you don’t smoke Virginia Slims—and I don’t suggest that you start)
    Dad PS You forgot to mention that we have many place settings of fine English bone china, sterling silver flatware, and both Orrefors Swedish and Waterford Irish Crystal. We have just chosen to become more practical and less pretentious than our crowd was in our 30’s and 40’s. As styles change you may change with them and embrace your rich tableware heritage or perhaps it may just skip a generation as appears to be happening in the House of Windsor where the ultimate prize is going to Will rather than Charles.

  2. July 7, 2010 6:41 pm

    Our microwave and dishwasher are both broken right now–so I am surrounded by dirty dishes and cups of coffee that I won’t drink because they are luke-warm. I like to think that I could be a hearty homesteading woman, but I don’t think I could–I just want hot coffee, for goodness sake. Is that too much to ask?

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