Flash Decision

It is probably a given that, except in emergencies, decisions made after some reflection are usually better than those made in a hurry.

For example, when microwave ovens first came on the market about 30 years ago and my parents praised them as a wonder of technology, I wasn’t immediately convinced that they were a good thing. I was into my “green, save the earth” phase. It didn’t seem natural to cook food with radio waves. I imagined myself eating microwaved food and then walking around like a radio transmitter. Was this stuff going to be good for me? Would I glow in the dark? Or maybe I’d be able to listen to Radio Tokyo in my head as I dozed off to sleep at night.

old microwave

My mother insisted that her microwave was a godsend. “It saves me so much time. All those hours slaving over the stove to make a meal. Now, I put it in the microwave and in minutes it’s ready.”

I wasn’t convinced. “I don’t mind cooking the old-fashioned way.”

“But it only takes a few minutes to thaw something from the freezer or a few seconds to heat up a muffin.”

“I’ve got time. I just don’t trust them.” And then sure enough I heard about some stupid people misusing them. Even now I can’t bring myself to tell about how little animals were hurt. “No,” I told my mother, “I’m not going to get one.”

I held out for another few years and then decided that I was being stupid. Everyone was getting them. My parents were getting a newer one and I could have their old one. It still worked. It was just a bit slow.

Wow! If that was slow, the newer ones must be amazing. Okay, I was convinced. Maybe a microwave was a good thing after all. At least no one could say I rushed into this decision.

When the old microwave gave out, I bought a new one. It was a good one, and lasted for years and years and years. I loved how it thawed things from the freezer in minutes and  heated up muffins in a few seconds. Husband and I even had a place built into the cabinets of our new house for the microwave. You can see now that I was never planning to be without a microwave.


Eventually that microwave had to be replaced with another of the same brand but they were making them a bit smaller now and the cabinet space was a bit large. No matter. I was happy with my microwave.

Fast forward many years to the present. I had soup in the microwave and as it thawed it smelled less like soup and more like electric wiring heating up. I shut off the microwave but everything seemed to be okay. I mentioned it to my husband and he wasn’t too concerned. “Just keep an eye on it.”

The next few time I used it, the smell was still there, but the food heated and there was no smoke, so I didn’t panic. “But we should start looking for a new microwave.”

“Yeah, we’ll see. As long as it still works, we might as well use it.”

“Fine.” I was too busy to go shopping for appliances anyway. “Suits me.”

The next day my husband stood at the microwave heating a cup of coffee when I heard a snap. “Yikes!” He jumped back. “Did you see that flash?”

“No, but I can smell it!” From the far side of the kitchen I had no trouble recognizing the smell of burning electric wires.

“Here, I’ll pull it out and you unplug it.” And that was the end of the second Panasonic Genius. But to be fair, it didn’t owe us a thing. It had to be at least 15 years old. “Tomorrow we go shopping for a new microwave!”

You might say that was a flash decision.

The Old

The Old


The New. It serves a dual purpose. Mirrors everything, even me taking its picture.

38 thoughts on “Flash Decision

  1. Anneli-
    You’ve changed your site! Wow! I’ve been down with unexpected knee surgery and end of semester work so I am just catching back up with blogging. This line is so male: “Just keep an eye on it.” I still need to catch up and purchase your books. Soon! – Renee


  2. Lucky that someone was standing there and watching that microwave when it blew. Our microwave is also starting to make that “electric wires melting” smell every now and then. Like yours, ours is also a good 14 or 15 years old. I don’t use it for cooking too much, except for my porridge almost every morning, or warming up the odd muffin or something. Maybe I’ll look for a Panasonic Genius microwave. Enjoy your new toy!


  3. Mine is now 18 years old and still in good shape (made in the U.K.). How did we manage without a microwave??? I was like you, I got it way later than my friends. I thought that we were getting “nuked.” Good luck with your new one!


    • I think we took more time and planned ahead. But I remember many times coming home from work and realizing I’d forgotten to take something out of the freezer. That was a major goof in those days. Now with the microwave for thawing, it doesn’t matter so much.


  4. Oh, how I remember the fears of the microwave when they first appeared on the market. I too held off for quite a while from buying one. Now we can’t live without one. The grandchildren love it for quick heat ups and popcorn. My granddaughter had to have one for her dorm room when she went away to college. Your new one is beautiful. Microwaves have come a long way.



    • That’s funny. I never had success with popcorn in the microwave but in one of my old, old, copper-bottomed pots, I can make perfect popcorn. We even call it the popcorn pot although it’s meant to do vegetables or whatever. But I know a lot of people use the microwave for popcorn. Maybe I’ll get the hang of it yet.


    • I’d love to have a double wall oven. I used to think it was excessive, but I’m always looking for a place to warm the plates or to do dessert while the roast is in the oven. It’s on my wish list. For now I’m happy to have my microwave replaced. I was without it for less than 24 hours and really missed it.


  5. We just bought a new one a few months ago. I was shocked at how expensive they were. Do you like your new one yet? I’m not crazy about mine, it has too many buttons to figure out. I still don’t know what they all do. Cute story though. Thank God nothing caught fire. Yikes!


    • I feel the same about new gadgets. I hate having to re-learn all the buttons. But I’m getting the basics figured out. It seems to work very well. And you’re so right about fire. I was worried about it and was almost glad when it died a quick death the other day.


  6. I have never thought twice about using a microwave but I only use it really to warm things up. I do remember though, when I was pregnant, I would never stand directly in front of a microwave when it was on – I’m sure it was perfectly safe, but in my ‘pregnancy’ mind I wasn’t taking any chances.


    • I had to chuckle over your comment about not standing in front of a microwave. I’ve never been pregnant but in all the years we’ve had microwaves, I’ve never stood in front of one for the same reason. In the early days they used to give away a small fluorescent tube to test for leaks in the microwave doors. That in itself was unnerving!


  7. I use mine for popcorn, Anneli. That is I used it for popcorn unntil I read about the terribly unhealthy fats used in microwave-popcorn. So now I don’t use it, I use my stove. But your new one looks very nice.


    • That’s very interesting, Bente. I only tried it once and didn’t like it. I can walk along the grocery store shelves and smell the margarine or whatever kind of cheap oil they use when I’m a couple of meters away from the microwave popcorn. That’s why I always make mine on the stove, too. I use grapeseed oil in my copper-bottomed pot and it works perfectly. But I use the microwave for lots of other things.


  8. Our microwave oven Panasonic was bought in 1987 and it works yet great, but we could not take it to our new home, because it was too big. Last December we bought again Panasonic and we are pleased to it.


  9. Nice! Funny….I would never use the microwave (we had a giant huge one when they first came out!) to zap my children’s bottles or food. Just in case. What was I thinking….okay for us? Not ok for them? IDK?


    • I don’t think we were meant to impose logic on our gut reactions to new technology. And maybe it’s not so crazy. A lot of things can harm a developing child that wouldn’t hurt an adult (as much). I can think of several vices that are okay for adults but not so for children. Maybe microwaves would be a bad thing. Only time would tell. In the meantime you followed your gut.


  10. That’s the only problem with microwaves, they usually do up and die in a flash. Good thing they are much easier to pick up than a new stove so you can make those ‘flash decisions’!


    • That’s so true. I held back and waited for my husband to say let’s buy another one. He surprised me by wanting to buy it right away. He usually ponders this kind of thing a long time and checks everything out, but we knew exactly what we wanted and he obviously has realized how much we would miss this little gadget. In this case the flash decision was good. The new microwave is so much faster than the old one. Everything takes less cooking time. Have to get used to dialing back a bit.


  11. I:m a dino, Istill don’t have a microwave, 🙂 but i just loved your article, I was smiling all the way, Anneli. 🙂
    In Florida I once was served delicious warm popcorn, coming straight from the microwave, yummy. My host showed my all the different yummy stuff they had, all especially made for the microwave, I was really impressed! Now I have to look for your book, Julia’s Violinist – I’m very curious! Have a great Sunday, Anneli, take care.
    Greetings to you from Norway,


    • Thanks for your comments, Dina, especially that I made you smile. I’m so pleased that you would look for my book (Julia’s Violinist). I think if you are in Norway, you might be able to get it either from the British or the German amazon site. amazon.co.uk or amazon.de
      Thank you for your interest. I hope you enjoy it.
      Greetings back from Western Canada.


  12. I’ve never taken to microwaves, myself. I possess one simply for my son. He can take it whenever he leaves home & I will be fine!


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