WuToWu #73: “But how long?”

Hi Curtis,

I don’t know how often you heat up food in a microwave since you are blessed to be living that #collegefood lifestyle, but I’ve found that I’ve been getting more melancholy every time I go to reheat leftovers.

I’m sure you remember when we were younger and we’d be doing our very best to help out Mom and Dad by getting the leftovers out and attempting to heat them up.  And we’d take those cold plates in our tiny hands and the cling wrap would make our hands wet but we’d stick them in the microwave and then stop and pause and ask “How long for the ___?”.

And our parents would spout some number that was pretty general most of the time but of course, I could never tell the difference between a 30 second dish and something that needed a bit more, like 45 seconds. It was like another language, something that our parents spoke with ease but sounded like noises to me. There was something so assuring when someone else told you how long to heat something up for. If it was too cold or overheated you could shift the blame to them. Cold pasta? Not my fault. But there was also a connection. A weird-21st century teamwork to get dinner on the table.

There was also something really special about the microwave. It was cooler than setting the table or pouring milk. There was something really alluring about the buttons and the beeping confirmation they would make as each pudgy finger hit them just right. The hum grew from the silence and there was something so entertaining about watching Tupperware spin around for how ever long. And then the hum would die down and the food stopped spinning but when you opened the door, there was a heat that blew out at you. The food would be warm, enough that you would pull your sleeves down over your hands to create little impromptu mittens to bring the food to the table.

I remember the first couple of times when I began to understand things. Rice was around 2 minute for the big Tupperware while a plate of veggies were a minute 30. And I began to ask less and less frequently. There would still be times where I accidentally put a piece of bacon in for 4 minutes and cooked the bejeezus out of it. I felt more independent in the sense of “If zombies came and ate my parents and we had leftovers, I would be able to survive for a couple days.”

I’m not sure when I stopped relying on our parents for appropriate microwave times. And the more I try to think about the stranger it gets. Like the same way that at some point your parents put you down for the final time and never picked you up, there was one meal where they dictated how long the food was nuked and the next meal, I was on my own.

And now sometimes I’m required to make my own meal. For the most part it goes smoothly but occasionally there are hiccups, little things where I wish I could ask “How long” but I guess that’s all a part of growing up.

I’ve never asked Mom or Dad what they thought about us always badgering them for cooking times-about whether they found it annoying or endearing (I could imagine it being a mix), but I guess it’s one of those things that you can’t really appreciate until it no longer applies to you.

I hadn’t thought about how microwaving food was a great coming of age story but it really is. And if you’ll excuse me,I think there’s some food that needs to be warmed up.

Knockdrinna Meadow.




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