rays

i seem to have purchased a microwave.  this will be a cause for mirth among my friends.  i have been a luddite on the question of microwaves since they were invented.  for years i have been crying "be careful!  they give off rays!" but no-one paid the slightest heed.  as far as the earlier incarnations of the microwave were concerned i had a point - it was discovered after some years of the population being told they were safe that they had in fact been giving off rays.  but the current generation of microwaves is safe, or so we are told.

be that as it may, i was browsing the Asda website the other day looking for shower curtains.  i found some for £2 each and promptly ordered them.  Asda then informed me that if i spent over £30 i qualified for free delivery.  i quickly ran through potential purchases to make up the difference and came up with a microwave.  i am not sure why - it had some connection to my new healthy diet and having porridge for breakfast and being able to make cakes in cups.  the most appealing microwave in the cheap range was a pleasant shade of red so i ordered that. it duly turned up a couple of days later.

this looking for one thing and ending up with something you hadn't planned is nothing new for me.  i acquired my first dog in just this way.  i was visiting my mother in Swansea and found that she was showing signs of early minimalism, not that minimalism was a thing in those days, at least not on my mum's estate.  my mum was using a cast iron pan with a lid on her balcony to keep things cool, having eschewed the services of a refrigerator. in my 18 year old wisdom i decided that no self-respecting parent of mine should be keeping food in a saucepan on the balcony.  i resolved to buy her a fridge.

somehow while looking through the small ads for a fridge, i became embroiled in the 'animals for sale' column.  the last time i looked a fridge was not an animal but we will gloss over that.  what caught my eye was an advertisement for 'puppies for sale - sheepdog cross spaniel'.  shortly afterwards we were driving round the back lanes of Ammanford looking for the farm where the puppies were located.  when we found it we were shown into a filthy shed where a bunch of squirming puppies snuggled up to their mother.  now in those days i knew very little about dogs so the fact that the puppies were a) too young to leave their mother and b) crawling with lice completely passed me by.  soon we were heading back towards Swansea with the newly named Pongo in the back of the van.  i will not go into detail as to how a) and b) above manifested themselves, save to say that a van is a better vehicle for a puppy with digestive problems than a car and that veterinary bills mount up surprisingly quickly in such circumstances.  Pongo eventually recovered from his poor start and went on to live an interesting and varied life.

anyway, after this digression i will return to the microwave.  it was described on the website as a 'manual microwave'.  it would have been worth purchasing just to find out exactly what a manual microwave was.  i had visions of it having a winding handle on the side which had to be cranked in order to generate the requisite rays, rather like a small version of the large hadron collider at Cerne.  but it seems that all a manual microwave is lacking is a lot of very confusing controls, which is of course a good thing.  the only controls that it has are one for how long, one for how many rays and a button for making the door pop open.  this seems to me to be pretty automatic but it appears that some microwaves will unwrap your food and put it on the plate for you afterwards as well.

the maiden voyage of the microwave was rather nerve-wracking.  i put off launching it for some days until the Ageing Rockstar was able to devote some time to assisting me.  he has an A level in physics, which seemed to me to be a necessary qualification for playing about with rays.   the first thing we tried to cook was a sweet potato.  this was interesting.  the microwave has a little rotating plate thing inside which rotates to make sure the food is evenly nuked.  but when the sweet potato started rotating the little plate thing went the opposite way to the potato.  this was so strange that i made a film of it on my phone, to go with the film of the jumping sausage in the frying pan.  after filming for a short time i was overtaken by alarm.

"what if the rays from the phone and the rays from the microwave react with each other!?" i called to the Ageing Rockstar, who had already lost interest and gone off to look at guitars on the internet.

"it'll be fine!" he called back, in what to me sounded an overly confident tone.  there is probably not a lot of empirical evidence on the effect of filming your microwave.  i doubt many people have tried it.   in any event the sweet potato was a success.  porridge, however, was less of a success.  either i had manually selected too long, or i had selected too many rays.  whichever was to blame, the resultant goo needed cutting with a knife.
other microwaving experiments have included a pumpkin (good but you have to make holes in it first), a cake in a mug (needs work), ribs (ok but the packet was a bit long to fit in so it had to be bent into shape) and poached eggs (needed several attempts before arriving at the winning formula). 

i fear it may take some practice before i am whipping up a soufflé in it…




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