It was my fault. I was at complete blame yet again for destroying my favorite kitchen appliance: the microwave. The smell was horrible, yet bearable, because it was a smell that I had grown quite accustomed to into the previous years. I was outside when I first smelled the strong aroma of something burning. Upon approaching it, I saw that the contents inside were on fire. I quickly unplugged it and watched as the flame burned out before I opened it. It was my third microwave murder and popcorn was my weapon. Yet again, the kitchen was filled with a thick cloud of smoke that was spreading into the neighboring great room. All I could think about was how my parents were going to kill me.
I have never met anyone with as bad luck as me dealing with one of the simplest of kitchen appliances. I loved the microwave’s easiness and quick serving times when I made cheap microwave food, reheated leftovers, or made popcorn. It was just so convenient. That is, until I destroyed three of them. It was after my third kitchen murder that my family realized that they were finished using microwaves. It felt like a pathetic heartbreak. My on-the-go appliance was now gone forever from my family’s house. There were to be no more microwave steam bag vegetables, no more bagged popcorn, no more quick-melting cheese, and no more of my favorite, guilty pleasure Hot Pockets.
From the time I was really young, I always remembered seeing a microwave as being a normal, kitchen appliance. Like most families, mine owned a microwave that always came in handy. It was perfect for simple, quick food heating when you were in a hurry. I would not say that a microwave was a part of our daily lives, but it definitely played its role over the years for popping popcorn and re-heating leftovers. Growing up Italian made cooking and eating together important parts of our family life. My mother made family dinners every night. With my mom’s cooking skills, I learned how to make many dishes with the stove before I was ten years old. My dad on the other hand, could not cook. His cooking skills were pretty rough and most of them involved the microwave. Like a lot of kids, I learned how to use the microwave at an early age and I made a lot of memories with cooking with our multiple microwaves.
One of my first microwave-gone-wrong memories was with my dad. I was probably about six years old at the time and it was mother’s day. I wanted to make breakfast for my mom, so my dad helped me make her toast. Right away, we encountered a problem. We were out of soft butter. Luckily, we kept extra butter in the freezer, but it would be nearly impossible to spread. So to make the butter softer, my dad put a few slabs of butter in a dish and popped it in the microwave for a few seconds. The trick with melting butter in the microwave is to make sure you keep an eye on it. We didn’t do that. My dad put it in the microwave and just hit the minute button. After staring at it for about four or five seconds, we got distracted and started talking. After a few more seconds, we heard the familiar sound of the butter sizzling in its dish. Instead of having a nice and spreadable softened butter, we cooked it to a boiling soup and had to pour it on our toast. I’m pretty sure that my tendency to be easily distracted from microwaves came from my dad on that day.
From that point, I should have learned the delicateness of microwaves, but unfortunately I didn’t. We had that same microwave for a few more years until I broke it burning popcorn one day. There was no fire that time, but after it everything that was cooked in it ending up tasting like burnt popcorn. Personally, I think it was the microwave’s age that was getting to it, so it was time for a new one anyway.
With a new microwave in use, I was about sixteen years old and having a sleepover with my best friend, Traci. We were up most of the night making popcorn and watching movies. With the end of a movie, we decided to make more popcorn and put in another flick. Traci was changing DVDs while the popcorn popped away and I ran down the hall to use the bathroom. When I came back, the living room and kitchen was filled with a burnt cloud of smoke. Traci was standing over the microwave panicked and pointing at it. Inside the microwave was a bright fire ball of popcorn. We quickly turned it off and let the flame go out inside the microwave before we opened it and inspected the charred remnants of the popcorn kernels. The kernels had formed a sticky ball that was melted together. The smell was so bad that we had to carry the microwave outside just to let it air out. Somehow, we avoided setting off the fire alarm and my parents stayed sound asleep during the whole ordeal.
My family decided to get yet another microwave quickly after my second popcorn mishap. That microwave lasted a decent amount of time. This was the third murder. I was on a break from college and staying at home one week when I decided to make some popcorn with my boyfriend. Believe it or not, there were many times that I didn’t completely fail at popping popcorn. I put in my favorite popcorn, pushed a random button, and went to play with my dog. The popcorn hadn’t even started to pop up when my dog ran over to the door to go outside. I figured that I should be fine with the popcorn, so we both took her out. Of course, while we were outside, both of us had completely forgotten about the popcorn. It cooked for six solid minutes while we were obliviously laughing and chasing my dog around the yard. The cloudy smoke seeping outside from the back screen door told me that I had yet again screwed up another microwave.
I knew the routine; check the microwave and start spraying Febreze air freshener everywhere. The popcorn inside was still on fire, so I watched it as the small flame went out. I felt completely stupid needing to explain to my boyfriend that this was an average event for me and microwave popcorn. Everything smelled terrible, even my poor dog needed a bath because she reeked of burnt popcorn. Luckily, we had plans later that night, so we could leave before my parents would be home to see what I did (again). Sheepishly, I left them a note on the table saying, “Sorry, burnt some popcorn. Love, Jess,” but just stepping in the house and smelling it was more than enough to tell them. When I came home later that night, the microwave was sitting in the garage. Little did I know, that was the last time I’d ever see a microwave in my house. My parents completely did away with microwaves from that day forward. It has been years now. Sometimes when I come home, I forget that I actually need to cook everything the original way. I still use microwaves here and there, but I honestly don’t trust myself to make popcorn anymore.