Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Congratulations on the new microwave, moron!

I was heartily sick of winter a full month ago, and the winter storm forecast for tonight is NOT HELPING that feeling to go away. It's time for another tropical holiday! Today's vacation is courtesy of the Amana Radarange New Microwave Oven Cooking Guide (1972).

Let's get some nice colors to brighten up a dreary day:

How about some beautiful pineapple chunks with a parsley topknot? Still okay if they're in a sea of meat balls and suspiciously orange cocktail franks? If your answer is, "Winter can make anything look okay by comparison," then you're ready for Polynesian Medley.

Okay, it's a safe bet that I am not one for chicken livers, meat balls, and cocktail franks cooked in brown sugar, pineapple, and vinegar (in the microwave, no less!), but the thing that really kills me about this recipe is the series of black and white photos to go with it. I think they're meant to be helpful step-by-step instructions, but they seem vague and puzzling at best, insulting at worst.

The pictures are numbered, but there are no corresponding numbers in the recipe. Nor are there any captions to explain the pictures. They are just sharing the page with the recipe rather than integrated in any meaningful way.

What is step 1 supposed to represent? My best guess is that it's supposed to show how to move the cooked chicken livers from the baking dish to the glass casserole. Why was this step considered such a challenge that we'd need a picture to illustrate it, but not challenging enough that we would need text to describe the picture? I feel my abilities are simultaneously under- and over-estimated, but maybe I'm just weird.

What about step 2? Maybe it's supposed to illustrate how to arrange the pineapple and franks around the meat balls and chicken livers, but it's kind of hard to tell where anything is in the tiny black and white photo. It just looks like a big jumble of stuff. If this is supposed to clarify, the color picture on the opposing page (the one I put at the top) does a much better job.

I suppose the last picture shows to cook the sauce in the baking dish while everything else is in the glass casserole, but this has the same shortcomings as picture 1. Why do the writers assume I need to have the concept of using two dishes illustrated? If I'm that recipe challenged, might I need a photo to illustrate how to pour the sauce onto the assembled food, and/or how to put a dish into/ take a dish out of the microwave?

After staring at the pictures for a while, I can't help feeling that they're a passive-aggressive message that Amana thinks that people who own their microwaves are idiots.

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