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Boiling an egg in a microwave, and other household myths

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By Charlie Sacchetti

It sure seemed innocent enough. Recently, I was doing a little YouTube watching and came across an interesting post that immediately got my attention. For some time, I have wondered if it was feasible to make hard-boiled eggs in the microwave. Now, as if by divine providence, I happened upon a video purporting to explain how to do just that, and I only had to invest the five minutes or so to check it out. In the video, an old guy named Harry was standing in his kitchen, telling me how easy it was. He showed me how to put four eggs in a microwave-safe bowl, cover them with water, and add a teaspoon of salt. I wondered why he needed salt, but then Harry explained, very calmly, that the salt would prevent the eggs from going poof. He then placed the bowl in the microwave and cooked the eggs on high for eight minutes. After the time passed, he moved them to another bowl of cold water and let them sit for two minutes. Then – presto – he peeled one of those babies, and it looked like a food photo from Good Housekeeping.

“Heck, I can do that,” I thought. “How tough can it be?” What a nice guy he was to show me how to make those tasty, healthy snacks so easily, providing such a positive answer to my long-standing question. I imagined how impressed by wife Luanne would be to learn this new cooking technique –an added bonus, so to speak!

Let me now take the time to explain that I have received very few accolades in the “giving your wife cooking tips” department. Actually, she considers me a menace if I get anywhere near the stove.

Her main objection to my culinary attempts is that I am sloppy; I usually spill something, and then I don’t clean to her standards, so she has to do it all over again. This is a double-edged sword because she also thinks that I am dish-washing challenged, so she bans me from those too. I must admit, though, that she does have a point, since there is no comparison between my skills around the kitchen and Luann’s. When she is finished cooking and cleaning, the kitchen looks as pristine as an operating room – hence her desire to keep me away from there except to eat!

But I had a feeling that this morning would be different. Armed with my foolproof technique just learned from old Chef Harry, I wandered into the kitchen to take my first shot at making hard-boiled eggs, microwave style. As I entered, Luann asked what I was up to. Noting that she was engrossed with another task in our living room – and not wanting to lie – I simply said, “I’m just going to heat something up, Sweetie.” I figured I’d be done in a couple of minutes; then I’d triumphantly show her the finished delicacy, and all would be well.

I retrieved a nice cereal bowl and put only one egg in it, thinking, “Let’s not get too crazy on this maiden voyage.” I covered the egg with water as instructed and then added about a quarter-teaspoon of sea salt. I placed the bowl into the microwave and covered the top with a paper plate, just in case a little boiling water popped over the edge of the bowl. Since the old guy had cooked four eggs for eight minutes, I reasoned that four minutes ought to be more than enough for one.

I pushed the start button, and the world was peaceful and kind for two minutes and 58 seconds. Then I wondered if I should have used regular salt instead of sea salt when the serenity of the moment was shattered not by the poof ol’ Harry had described but by the resounding POP of my exploding semi-boiled egg. The paper plate blew off, and the inside of the microwave was splattered with shells and equal measures of egg white and yolk.
Startled by the noise, my dear Sicilian wife rushed into the kitchen and assessed the situation, then expressed to me in the loudest and clearest of terms how she regarded my intelligence level and thoughtlessness, despite my sheepish offers to clean up my mess.

After Luann ejected me from the kitchen like an umpire throws an unruly manager out of a game, my mind conjured up memories of a football team, the 1980-81 New Orleans Saints. Their record was 1-15 that year, and, during the dismal season, their loyal fans started to call them the New Orleans “‘Aints.” In fact, they were so embarrassed by the team’s performance that they mockingly wore brown paper bags over their heads as they sat in the stands so as not to be recognized while attending the game. Given the trouble, aggravation, and extra work I had caused, I thought my own humorous “bag of shame” might soften my wife’s heart the next time our paths crossed.

So I went to my office and fashioned one as best I could. About an hour later, I ventured back upstairs, bag on head, to face the music. Luann was silent, but I detected a barely perceptible smile.

“I’ll take it!” I thought, and retreated to my office, my bagged head filled with a fresh idea for a story and the self-promise that it’ll be “egg beaters” for a while … And that’s no yolk!

Charlie Sacchetti is the author of two books, “It’s All Good: Times and Events I’d Never Want to Change,” and “Knowing He’s There: True Stories of God’s Subtle Yet Unmistakable Touch.” Contact him at worthwhilewords21@gmail.com