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The last person to think hed abandon stove for microwave
Dennis Wyatt

Cleaning my stove is a snap.

All I do is dust it every three or so weeks.

It's not some cutting edge, high-tech stove.

It is a mid-priced General Electric gas range. And if there is ever a market for pristine stoves from the 2000s down the road in 50 or so years like there is for comic books, someone could become quite rich.

The stove is nearly six years old. It hasn't been used, not even once. I save a bundle on PG&E as well as it isn't even hooked up.

The new stove was a requirement of the FHA loan I got when I bought my home. The FHA didn't care if the roof needed replacement, the windows were broken, or if outside doors were missing. The loan rules at the time required homes financed using the agency as a guarantee to have a new functioning stove. It didn't need a refrigerator. It didn't need a hot water heater. It needed a new functioning stove.

The home has everything else I mentioned, except a stove. That's why Wells Fargo Bank bought one, even though I made it clear I didn't want it.

The last time I had used a stove was three years prior shortly after moving into the Laurel Glenn Apartments. As irony would have it, the apartment manager told me I was in luck as they were going to replace the stove with a new range before I moved in.

I used it three times to cook pasta and that was it. I never used the oven.

Eight years ago, I had made a transition to a microwave.

I use it for all my cooking. And I only nuke one thing - veggie burgers.

I know you can use a microwave to cook anything but that's all it is used for. I nuke two veggie burgers a day six or seven days a week.

I was probably the last person to ever think I'd abandon a stove for a microwave.

My first run in with microwaves was in 1976. I got one for my mom for a Christmas present. Back then, if you left the store with $300 less in your pocket you were lucky to get a small microwave that barely fit in the trunk of your car.

Mom acted surprised. "Why the heck did you buy me a microwave?" Mom wasn't a big cook or baker. During the last 15 or so years or her life she used her oven to store cookies she bought for the grandkids. By then, she'd use the microwave occasionally and the stovetop perhaps three or four times a week.

It was amazing she'd ever used a microwave considering her first experience.

Mom could tell I was a bit disappointed that she wasn't using the microwave. So for a dinner she was preparing for New Year's Day that about a dozen relatives would be at, she decided to surprise me.

She used it for the ready-to-bake brown and white Rainbow dinner rolls she always bought for holiday dinners.

Mom figured there was no need to read the instruction booklet since it was an "oven" so therefore operated the same way.

She put the rolls in the microwave uncovered on a cookie sheet pan and proceeded to put it on high for eight minutes - exactly the same way she would heat the rolls in the oven. After eight minutes, when she looked at the rolls and they hadn't "browned" a tad as they usually did to indicate they were done, she turned the microwave on for another four minutes.

By this time everything else was on the table. Mom got her roll warmer - one of the fancy 1960s wicker baskets lined with a warming bag you plugged in to keep breads warm and moist at the dinner table - and used an oven mitt to slide the rolls off the sheet and into the bag.

As she brought the rolls to the table she mentioned that she wasn't sure they were done as they still hadn't browned on top.

A cousin grabbed the first one. When he did, he had a strange look on his face.

Later he would say it didn't feel right.

But it was warm and he was eager to slice it in two and place butter between the halves to melt. So he took his table knife and much to his surprise instead of slicing through the roll he experienced what best might be described as a recoil with the table knife scrapping the top of the roll and then slamming into his plate as the roll went flying.

Fortunately it didn't hit anybody. After dinner, when everyone was still laughing about the dinner rolls that were as hard as a rock, another cousin decided to bounce one off the garage wall. Ours was an older garage on the alley that had single pane glass windows facing the patio. He missed the wall but hit the glass, cracking it in the process.

My mom didn't use the microwave again for another nine months. My brothers ridiculed it as "the stupidest gift" anyone had ever given anyone.

Eventually mom talked to others who had similar experiences and found out that once they read the instruction book and followed microwave instructions on packages that they fell in love with microwaves.

It was the same for mom.

But even back then no one ever figured you'd be able to steam vegetables in them to the point most people say you can't tell the difference.

As for me, while I'm not storing cookies in the oven, I'm still not using the microwave to do anything but nuke veggie burgers.

This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Courier or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.