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07 May 2010

Microwave Cooking For One

SF Weekly did a follow-up to their review of Microwave Cooking for One. On April 5, 2010, SFoodie (San Francisco Restaurants and Dining) featured the cookbook cover as the Pic of the Day:
lady with food pic
"Let's make one thing clear: there's nothing wrong with eating alone. We do it all the time, not just out of necessity but because sometimes it's nice to enjoy a meal in solitude. As for microwave cooking, well, sometimes you're in a hurry...

But we wouldn't go so far as Marie T. Smith and cook what might be steak in a microwave. And while we're sure Marie is probably actually a very happy lady, we're going to have to blame the photographer for producing such a pained portrait. Is there someone standing off to the side with a gun, demanding that Marie hover over that microwave produced buffet of pastel-colored food?"

SFoodie's caption for this image seemed apt, "The Saddest Cookbook Ever: Microwaving For One".

It was even more poignant when Marie T. Smith's daughter, Theresa, responded half-way through the 47-count SFoodie reader comment thread, describing her mother at the time of the book's publication in 1984. Marie Smith knew how it could be living alone, and felt that a single, divorced or widowed person deserved to eat as well as someone with a family. She had noticed the increasing numbers of single-person households in the early 1980's, according to her daughter. Marie addressed these concerns by offering free cooking classes for women who were trying to acclimate to such changes. Marie held many cooking classes in her own home.

Marie T. Smith passed away in 1987. However, her daughter thanked the publishers of SFoodie, and the commenters too, for the publicity. Apparently the Microwave Cooking for One cookbook remains in print, with its own website, still generating revenue 24 years later! There is a nice assortment of Pyrex antique cookware on the site, and a lot more of interest.

There are some amazing videos of Marie demonstrating how to cook a sunny-side up egg, cheeseburgers and more, in a microwave oven. Theresa uploaded them. All are segments from a Lakeland, FL network-news affiliate. Most were on-air in 1986. Instead of embedding here, I recommend a visit to YouTube, to the microwave cooking channel, to watch Marie T. Smith cook.

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