I was reminded tonight of a conversation that I had on skype a few months back with some girlfriends in Australia. They were having a girls weekend away and our skype date was my way of joining in on the fun. We were talking a million miles an hour, laughing and catching up as only good friends can. As much as I hate to say it most of the time I was the one doing the talking (nothing new right!); talking about my life here, differences, funny moments, answering questions from my girlfriends and the like.
I don’t remember how we got onto the topic of the microwave, but I do remember one of my girlfriends remark. I was explaining how here within the extended family (as this is the extent to with which I can base my experiences on) that most people have a microwave but they don’t use it for reheating, heating, cooking or defrosting. Instead any food that is leftover from lunch, which is the main meal of the day, is stored in the the microwave. Not in the oven, not in the fridge but in the microwave. One of my girlfriend who has a wonderfully quick wit said “Oh it’s just like a halfway house”.
We had all of Atef’s family to our house for the meal to break our fast tonight. About an hour after they left I went to heat up some milk for Alia and there were the left overs – dutifully sitting in the microwave. I had to laugh. My microwave had become the halfway house.
After all my girlfriends and I had shared a laugh about the halfway house I then tried to explain why this practice is done as anyone who is wanting something more substantial for dinner other than breakfast dinner (see my post here about breakfast dinner) can eat the leftovers which are eaten at room temperature or occasionally reheated. The leftovers aren’t stored in the fridge where they would be too cold.
What amuses me is that if the person wants the leftovers hot then the leftovers are not reheated in the microwave where they are being stored, but instead transferred to a saucepan to be reheated on the stove top. From what I have observed eating leftovers the next day is not really the done thing here. One of the reasons is that generally with such large families that there isn’t actually any or much left over from lunch and certainly not enough to feed everyone again the next day so it is necessary to cook a new meal each day. Me I love leftovers for numerous reasons – not having to cook, the flavours are so much more intense the next day, it’s easy, don’t have to think about what groceries I need Atef to buy and the list goes on.
The times that I’ve wanted to heat up a bottle for Alia at Atef’s parents place I have to first take the leftovers out of the halfway house, sorry microwave, and then plug in the power cord before I can heat up the bottle. It’s never even plugged in!
One of the more funny conversations I’ve had here about microwaves was with one of Atef’s extended family members after she had seen me heat up a bottle for Alia. Apparently I should never heat food and most definitely never heat anything for Alia in the microwave as the food will get a virus. Well I was aware of the Y2K bug, but I didn’t know that my microwave was waiting to attack my food!
I really do scratch my head at why they all have microwaves when they aren’t used for their intended purpose. Expensive storage unit!