Monday, September 20, 2010

How Twitter saved my bacon

Cooking isn’t easy without a cooker. This lightbulb moment struck when we moved into our new house this week and found a 90cm gap in the kitchen. So a new Smeg it is, but as the Smeg elves don’t deliver till 2014 or something, we still have a giant hole and no cooker. I did think of building a small fire in the centre of the kitchen but P intervened, suggesting that fires around small children might not be safe, I pointed out that I wasn’t a small child anymore but a teenager.

After an appeal on Twitter for solutions, a friend saw the Tweet and replied, saying she could call round pronto with a mobile hot plate. How fantastic is Twitter, I might generally discuss my current needs and wants online and wait for people to answer the call -

@campbellsuz - shoes in bits, need a pair of studded Lamboutin pumps

@campbellsuz - knackered, holiday in Peter Mantle's new place in the Bahamas please

@campbellsuz - and a new set of pots to go with my fancy cooker

It comes down to this; if you don’t ask you don’t get, and a big network of people are much better placed to help you out in such life threatening occasions as having to eat from a microwave for several weeks. So the Tweet Plea saved our bacon, or rather, cooked it. The mobile hot plate is not the prettiest item in the world– made by Prima circa 1987. It’s a flat square thing and comes with its own induction heat base saucepan and frying pan. When you switch it on it roars with the intensity of a space shuttle warming up, which frightened myself and the dog quite a bit, but overall it's working quite a treat.

I could have just used the microwave for a couple of weeks and left the good people on Twitter alone. But I have a fear of microwaves and especially with the baby’s food I go to great lengths to avoid using it. I’m certain that it’s only a matter of time before some really frightening research bursts out of Berkeley or someplace on what microwaves are doing to our health and how we’ve been nuking our food for decades now in complete ignorance (I know the truth is out there somewhere and you will find it Michael Pollan).

Plenty of people cook all their evening meals in a microwave, and no doubt they are great tools of convenience. I remember the arrival of a giant fawn-coloured Bosch microwave into our house in the eighties. It was the size of a small car, and the object of general fear and awe. It hummed and vibrated with a golden spread of light from the interior in the manner of the Ark of the Covenant in Indiana Jones before it explodes and melts all the Nazi’s faces – a special effect that had to be borrowed from a microwave’s own effect on cheese.

Until we find out the possible murky truth about their effect on our health, I still don't like the effect they have on food - everything is roasted on the outside and ice cold in the middle. For the moment I'm sticking with the hot plate. It's not glamorous, it's not sexy, it's not Smeg. But it sure beats the microwave. Thank you Twitter.

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