Eight years ago, I moved an ugly, 10-year-old, red-sauce-stained radioactive death box to our new house because, well, it still worked. It should have gone to the dump but, like I said, it still worked.

The other day on the way back from dropping my daughter at a class, I remembered that I had left the house without turning off a burner. I drove back as fast as I could, hitting every red light from Congress Street to the Great Lost Bear, and when I opened the door I was greeted by the sound of the stove timer.

And … there was just a wee bit of water left in the saucepan that I had filled to cook two eggs.

For a second, I thought, maybe we should buy another microwave. And then, a second later, I thought, nah.


1. Boil water alone in a microwave-safe bowl (What is a microwave-safe bowl?) for about 3 minutes, leaving at least 1 inch clearance for the top of the eggs (How should I measure the inch – with a ruler?), which will be submerged below the water line after boiling (Do I need to know this?).


2. Submerge eggs carefully into the bowl of water (Pretty good chance I will drop one), taking care to protect your eyes (Where are my goggles?) should an egg explode (“Explode” is a strong word).

3. Cover the bowl of eggs with a plate (Does it have to be a microwave-safe plate?) to circulate heat and to contain any possible mess that may be created should the eggs explode (Another threat) under pressure (I feel the pressure), and set the microwave to cook at a low medium to medium heat setting for 8 minutes. (Is it “low or medium” or “low medium” heat?)

4. Let the eggs stand in the heated water for an additional 8-10 minutes to complete the cooking process. (Is that 8 or 10?)

5. Place eggs carefully in a bowl of water and ice. (Carefully? Not a chance.)

6. After about 20-30 minutes the eggs should be chilled enough to have set or refrigerate for future use. (That’s 3 + 8 + 8-10 + 20 to 30 minutes = 49 – 51 minutes to cook hard-boiled eggs in a microwave?)

7. Finished. (Let’s hope so.)


My friends who have microwaves keep them in sneaky places for safety reasons. Sometimes up high, but in reaching distance, or below the beltline, to protect the family jewels.

Here’s the Food and Drug Administration safety warning about microwaves:

“It is known that microwave radiation can heat body tissue the same way it heats food. Exposure to high levels of microwaves can cause a painful burn. The lens of the eye is particularly sensitive to intense heat, and exposure to high levels of microwaves can cause cataracts. Likewise, the testes are very sensitive to changes in temperature.”

The word “testes” in a product safety warning does not promote confidence.

After I chucked my 10-year-old stained microwave in the trash, I explained to my friends that I was not going to buy another one.

I went on to explain that microwaves were stupid, ugly, took up too much room and made bad-tasting food.


I continued my rant until one friend said, “Jolene, that is a righteous decision.”

We have lived microwave-free ever since.


1. Place eggs in a saucepan and fill it with water.

2. Set over high heat.

3. Bring water to a rolling boil.


4. Turn off the heat and cover the pan.

5. Set timer for the desired time: 4 minutes for soft-boiled; 10 minutes for hard-boiled.

6. Tap the cooked eggs gently.

7. Place the eggs in a bowl of ice water.

8. Peel and eat!

When I threw the horrid box out, there were some groans about not being able to warm stale coffee, dog food toppings and leftovers, but it didn’t take long before we forgot we had ever needed one.

Jolene McGowan lives and works in Portland with her husband, daughter and dog and has no plans to leave, ever. She can be contacted at:

[email protected]

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