When I was just entering my teens, there was a new invention that was sweeping the nation. This devise would revolutionize cooking as we knew it. Women would no longer slave in the kitchen making meals for their loved ones.
Behold, the Microwave Oven.
Back in the late seventies, these modern wonders were humongous machines that batted tiny particles around in food to cook whatever your heart desired. Our first one was a lovely little fake panel brown covered metal thing that was the size of a small truck. It was one of the newer devices that didn’t have the plain nobs. No, it was push button! We were finally in the 20th century, baby!
Our family was well skilled in the technology world having previously gone high-tech in the new electronic era. We had Pong and a remote control color TV!
This new flashy devise was going to save our Mom from keeping food warm on a hot plate for hours on end. Now all we had to do was plop something in the microwave and viola! Instant gratification.
But first, we had to learn how to work the thing. I mean, this was electronics. There was a science to how long something would cook before it would literally blow up (hot dogs and eggs anyone?).
There was even a whole week spent in Home Ec learning how to properly cook with this thing. I remember the first thing that the teacher taught us to make was hot dogs. That piece of mystery meat came out of the machine all wrinkled with a slight copper tinge to it and the every-so-subtle taste of metal about it. It was heaven, I tell ya!
Soon all the grocery store shelves started filling up with new and exotic items that could be cooked in this modern marvel. No longer did you have to wait 40 minutes for your TV Dinner to cook in the oven. Throw the new TV Dinner in the microwave and zap it for 5 minutes. You won’t miss a minute of our favorite TV show making popcorn. Toss the bag in and hit the button and in a few minutes you’ll be munching on buttery-popped goodness!
There was always a chance for entertainment at your next party with the Microwave oven. All you needed was one egg and everyone would stand around the clear glass door and wait in anticipation for the thing to blow up. Unfortunately, it stunk to high heaven and the clean-up was beyond gross, but your friends had a blast!
I remember one New Year’s Eve my parents had gone out for the night and my brother decided to have a *little* party. I wasn’t home that night, but the story goes that when my parents came home, they pulled into the driveway to see the Christmas tree dancing (he had hooked up the lights to blink in time with the music blaring out of the stereo). They entered the house and found the microwave lined with paper towels and the smell of rotten eggs permeating the house. Beer cans were everywhere (no one was legal age), cigarette burns in the carpet and my brother and his girlfriend up in my bedroom doing… well, use your imagination.
Of course all hell broke loose, but as with everything wacky that us kids did, this story became something to reminisce and laugh about years later. It ranked right up there with the pot plant that just happened to be growing in my Mom’s flower garden that she thought was just beautiful.
She had no idea what it was, and I was laughing so hard when she gushed over it that I couldn’t get a word out to tell her what it was. She was kinda upset when we came home from church one Sunday and discovered that someone had dug it up and taken it.
She wanted to call the police and report it. We managed to talk her out of it.