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06 May 2010

Microwave Cooking For One

Here's a follow-up to's SFoodie story feature "Microwave Cooking for One". In early April, 2010 Pic of the Day - San Francisco Restaurants and Dining, SFoodie wrote
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 throught the 47-count 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. Some were recent widows, others were homemakers entering the workforce after divorce, others were transitioning out of shelters to life on their own. Marie held many such cooking classes in her own home, and free-of-charge.

Marie T. Smith passed away in 1987. However, her daughter thanked the
publishers of SFoodie, and the commenters too, for the publicity. Apparently "Microwave Cooking for One" cookbook remains in print, generating revenue 24 years later! Sales picked up after the SFoodie article, said Theresa.

There are some amazing videos of Marie demonstrating how to cook a sunny-side up egg, cheeseburgers and more, in a microwave oven. microwavecooking on YouTube has four videos. All are segments from a Lakeland, FL network-news affiliate, most were on-air in 1986,

After my disasterous video embedding attempt of at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) video, topic was Social Network Dataflows, I'm a bit gunshy about posting them. My apologies for that: I have no idea why the audio volume was up at 100%, nor why a PARC research presentation had an all-musical soundtrack....?

Instead, I recommend a visit to YouTube, to the microwavecooking channel, where many microwave cooking demo's featuring Marie T. Smith are still available.
See sfweekly for entire twitter thread.

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