Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

December 23, 2012

Lee Ward: 12/23/2012 — Practical Santa restores sanity in the kitchen

Lee Ward
The Independent

ASHLAND — The best thing about my kitchen is the microwave. I’ve always loved the big black box that hangs above the stove and works 10 times faster. Well, at least five times faster. Even though it usually makes the chicken tough and often burns the popcorn, it’s dandy for heating up leftovers and frozen dinners, and those are the backbone of the single woman’s diet.

I received a microwave as a gift when I went off to college. My mom gave me her old one so she could get a new, smaller one. The one I got was already several years old and too bulky and heavy for me to carry alone. It took up most of my counter space and it had one setting: on. Of course you could tell it how many minutes to nuke something, but it was always on high power. In fact, it had a dial. No touch screen on this thing.

Eventually, I sold it to a friend and bought myself a newer, lighter model that had a variety of settings and power levels, but because my microwave cooking stills had not advanced, I still cooked everything on high.

After I was married for a while, it was time for new kitchen cabinets. The ones in our kitchen were so old and layered with paint, opening and closing the drawers brought a rain of sawdust down on the dishes and pans inside. The countertop cracks were so large and deep I was afraid I was going to lose my toaster in the crevice.

I insisted on an over-the-stove microwave and I loved it with all its settings, the stove light, the exhaust fan. I used it all the time.

After seven years, it died.

Out of the blue, I punched in the time and the power level — my skills at microwave cookery have advanced — and the light that indicated it was in use came on and immediately went off.

Certainly this appliance wasn’t like the one I started off with. It might have been slick and fancy with its turntable and stove light and exhaust fan, but it was dead in only seven years. I bet that behemoth my mother gave me when I started college is still heating frozen chicken pot pies and cups of soup someplace.

One of my friends said she would forgo the fancy microwave that has to be installed and just get a cheapy and stick it on the countertop, but I said no. I can’t live that way anymore. I have evolved and I must have my over-the-stovetop unit with a turntable and a light and an exhaust fan.

Santa visited my house early this year. He brought me a new microwave. He installed it and everything.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.