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Keith Tse


  • Writer's pictureKeith Tse

Kitchen mishap: microwave disaster

I have just had a disaster in my kitchen! Hardly surprising, since cooking is not my forte at all, and I tend to purchase microwave-able food to save myself time and effort. Often I simply shove the food package into the microwave and let it handle itself. As we all know, it is customary to perforate the cover of the food container so that hot steam can escape while the food content within is being heated. On this occasion, I was not able to find my fork, and in my haste (and ravenous hunger as I had not eaten anything for almost 24 hours), I unsealed the package and put it into the microwave. During the process, I could hear loud bursts from the microwave chamber which got me alarmed, and once the heating was done, I was shocked to discover that some of the food content had spilled out of the food container due to the fact that the container had been unsealed. This was hardly desirable since a fair portion of the food was in effect lost and wasted, and it got me thinking as to why and how this had happened. Clearly, I made a mistake in unsealing the food package when I should have pierced holes onto the surface covering as instructed, which if I had (as I should have), the perforated cover would have kept the container sealed while allowing steam to escape via the holes. There would have been no spillage and hot steam would still have been let out, which would have resulted in a much more elegant and complete piece of meal. I never realised that there was a level of artistry in microwaving food. As mentioned above, I use microwave as a shortcut for making food while avoiding all the cumbersome and difficult culinary procedures, and while I recognised the importance of letting out steam, I did not give much forethought to how to do so without spoiling the food. There is a reason why the seal of the food container should be kept in place, since this keeps the food content secure within, and the perforation is only for letting out steam without letting loose of the whole package. Unsealing the package, on the other hand, is dangerous, since without the seal in place the food content might just spill over due to the intense heat of microwaving, which is clearly not what we want. This could be a nice metaphor for sociopolitical structures, which, as discussed in a previous blog, are quite similar to microwaved food in that one should strike a balance by keeping the top-down hierarchy in place in order to maintain civic and societal order while finding appropriate mechanisms for letting off steam so that the bottom-up forces can be properly vented without disrupting the whole society, the outcome of which would clearly be disastrous, much like my ruined meal. Something to take note of in light of current turmoils throughout the world.

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