Before leaving for my week at the clinic I found myself focusing on the subject of food which takes the spotlight in this week’s posts
As I was staring morosely at my meager meal of chewy bits of cow and a cup of rice, broiling on the stove in front of me, I glanced up to my decorative ceramic kettle that looks like a deformed version of Disney’s teacups. If I were to rub such a lamp, I said to myself, and should a genie emerge I would immediately know what my first wish would be. I would wish for a microwave.
So often when we think of ‘cheap’ food our minds go to things like instant ramen, craft mac&cheese, and hot pockets. Left overs from previous meals are even more economical. These are all things that become a quick hunger satisfier with the press of a few buttons, on a machine many of us take for granted. Microwaves are not always a luxury in the developing world especially given the fact that they require electricity. What this means for a lot of folks is that if it isn’t eaten when it’s cooked, it may never be hot again.
Gas heating systems run everything here from showers to ovens. It is normal in countries where this is the case to see a motorbike speed by with gas canisters strapped to it. I have begun to notice the lack of constant snacking due to the opportunity cost and I am realizing what part patience plays in eating on low-income foods. I could be chowing on crackers and candies all day, but the cheap and healthy foods like meats and vegetables are the ones that will allow me to make it through the month, and they take longer to prepare. A microwave would help me to make healthy foods into quick foods as well, but for now I have to deal with the issues of a stove. It’s like arriving home after a ten hour day with little to no breaks and having to wait twenty minutes for a potato to boil, only to discover you’re out of gas. Imagine having to go out and replace the canister on your grill just to have a hot pocket.
Despite the fact that one out to be grateful to have food in the first place, regardless of its condition, a magical box that uses invisible waves to jostle the molecules in our food and make it steaming hot is a marvel of technology. Especially to those who are being driven mad with hunger and the extra wait. As soon as the genie granted me my first wish I would probably grab him by the tail and slam him in the microwave. When you’re hungry, anything might taste good.