“I notice you don’t have a microwave.”
My guest was young, only 21, the son of an old friend. I am not sure why he registered the absence of a microwave. Perhaps because he hoped to reheat the large pizza I had ordered the night before precisely because I knew I would have two young guests. I said I had never owned a microwave when I was young, not on purpose, and therefore had never developed a need for one. I use the oven or a double-boiler to reheat things, which I find superior. I know tricks for thawing things quickly and safely, if necessary, but I primarily try to anticipate my thawing needs.
And what about popcorn? Well, I make it myself in lidded saucepan, following the rules that my father set down long ago: Use just enough oil to coat the pan and turn the heat to high.* Add three kernels. When they pop, add just enough corn to cover the surface and turn down the heat to medium, shaking continuously. Keep turning down the heat as the popping slows.**
I assume there is an entire generation of people now who don’t know how to make popcorn. What else is lost to the ages? What no-longer needed skills do you possess? The bottom line is that I always think of my father when I make popcorn and that makes me happy.
*I grew up in a neighborhood where all the stoves were electric, a detail that I am kicking myself for not using in THE MOST DANGEROUS THING, as it would have been vexing to one of the characters who prides herself on her cooking.
**To my father’s instructions, I have added one change — keeping the lid slightly ajar.