You appoint darkness and it becomes night,
In which all the beasts of the forest prowl about.
The young lions roar after their prey
And seek their food from God.
Sitting here listening to Prairie Home Companion, I ponder the strange fate of our microwave. As household appliances go, it’s one I tend to overlook it. When I need it, there it is; when I don’t, I don’t think of it. It occupies an obscene portion of our minimal counter space, but eventually we adjusted to its massive presence and ignored it.
Last week, I needed it. We had nothing left in the house for dinner, aside from some solidly frozen leftover lasagna. The frozen lasagna was my last hope. I put it in the microwave for 7 minutes; my stomach rumbled in time with the microwaving sounds. With three minutes and 45 seconds left, the microwave gave up the ghost.
Instead of stopping entirely, it continued everything a microwave should do—counting down the time, rotating the food, having the light on—except the magnetron simply stopped. What were the odds of that? After three years (two years beyond the warranty expired), the microwave simply stopped, within a few months of our likely departure from New England. I had to laugh at the unlikeliness of this minor household disaster.
This left me with only slightly-thawed lasagna, still utterly solid under a thin veneer of warmed-over cheese, and no real prospects for dinner. Our alternative, the toaster oven, simply didn’t have the reheating ability of a microwave, although it outstrips the microwave by far in its ability to burn food. Indeed, the toaster oven more than proved its ability to transition from merely producing well-goldened food to producing dazzlingly blackened food.
Although I have retrieved any number of blackened English muffins and bagels, the true prize for the Ultimately Burned Food has to go to the quesadilla I left—not exactly unattended, but certainly less attentively watched than it should have been. One second I was standing reading my book; then I noticed a strange flickering from the direction of the toaster oven. Looking up, a cheerfully burning fire immediately arrested my gaze. For one brief second I panicked. Then I remembered the wise words blazoned on the front of the toaster oven:
IN CASE OF FOOD FLARE-UP KEEP DOOR CLOSED AND UNPLUG POWER CORD.
I followed the instructions, and our kitchen was spared. The quesadilla burned merrily for several more minutes, only eventually flickering out when nearly the entire thing had bubbled and burned completely.
So we need a new microwave. The question we now debate is whether to buy a very nice one and bring it home with us, or if we should just buy another cheap Target one and leave it behind.