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Just Desserts

May 20, 2014

As a kid, my grandmother instilled in me her love of cooking… creating new and exciting dishes and trying new recipes.  She taught me to be a little adventurous from time to time…

One day (possibly a weekday), way back in the early 70’s when I was a senior in high school,  inspiration struck as my best friend Jeannine and I sat in her boyfriend’s apartment watching soap operas and drinking coffee.  

Fits of giggles overtook us both.  This was indeed a spectacular idea!  

Once our giggles subsided, we set about planning the supper that we would create for Alan and his roommate, including a very special dessert, one neither of us had tasted, much less made.

We found a cookbook, leafed through it until we found what we wanted, then dashed to the grocery store to buy the necessary supplies.

Once back in the apartment, we went to work, deciding to make the Baked Alaska first since the recipe was new to both of us.  After preheating the oven, we found a baking sheet and placed the slab of Angel Food cake in the center, then heaped strawberry ice cream on top and covered the whole concoction with meringue.

One of us opened the oven door while the other slid the dessert inside.  But something was amiss…  the oven was cold!  We double-checked;  the control was set at the proper temperature…  and the knob was turned to ‘bake.’  

We realized that the oven was broken.  How would we finish our fabulous dessert, we wondered?

We paced the smallish kitchen, wracking our brains for a suitable solution…

And there it was!  Sitting proudly on a cupboard in the pantry.   It was a newfangled thing. This uncommon gadget known as a microwave oven…  that should work, we thought.  After all, it was an oven.

One of us, probably Jeanine, remembered something about not using metal cookware in this fancy new oven. “No problem,”  we thought, quickly grabbing a plate from the shelf and sliding our Baked Alaska from the baking sheet and onto the plate.  

Jeannine, more apt to read directions that I, opened the cookbook, scanning the recipe for baking time, as I put the plate inside the microwave and closed the door.  

“Four minutes at 500 degrees,”  she called out.  

The only options on the temperature knob were low, medium, and high.  I opted for high, then set the timer for four minutes.

We went back to the living room to watch another show while we waited, fairly sure that we’d hear the ding of the bell when it was done.   

We were correct.  The timer went off.  We hurried back to the kitchen, giggling again, anxious to see the browned tips of our beautiful meringue…

There were no browned tips on the meringue.  

In fact, there was no meringue…

Instead, we were greeted by a river of pink seeping under the door of the microwave, marching across the counter, cascading down the front of the white cupboard, and flowing across the tile floor.  Some of it found its way beneath the cupboard itself.

We were astonished and nearly broke our necks as our bare feet slipped and slid in the sticky pink mess.  Somehow, we managed to stay upright, although I don’t know how.

This oven was not even remotely similar to the one across the room!  Who knew?  Certainly not us!

Clean-up took the remainder of the afternoon.  We finished with mere minutes to spare before the guys came home from work.  

They cheerfully greeted us as they walked through the door.  “What have you two been doing all day?”

“Not much… we cleaned the kitchen for you.”

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