What is “Cook Until Done” Divided by 30 Seconds?



Lots of people love quotes.  I see them in your status updates and on the signature lines of your emails.  I guess I am impressed that you are a big fan of Hemingway and Voltaire, or that you got one of those quote a day calendars for Christmas.  I like quotes too, it’s just that putting a quote at the bottom of my email and crediting it to “Billy Madison” is not quite as professional.  I am not saying that I am not well read, but my favorite thing about Dr. Seuss movies is that I can finally be one of those people who say “It wasn’t as good as the book.”  One of my favorite quotes is from a movie called Road Trip.  There are several great lines but the gem is this: “It’s supposed to be a challenge, it’s a shortcut! If it were easy it would just be the way.”

Man, I love shortcuts.  Getting off the beaten path and having a bit of an adventure, all in the name of saving 5 minutes.  I like making my gps have a seizure, and sometimes it has been a while since I have seen my wife’s eyes roll.  Taking an unannounced shortcut is sure to do both.  In a world that is so digitized and matter of fact, short cuts are one of the few treasure hunt type adventures that we can still relish in.  Is there really any greater brag as a man than to make great time because you took a shortcut?

It is true that they don’t always pan out.  I questioned my own sense of adventure (and direction) earlier this month as I lead my in-laws following in the car behind me on a short cut that ended up adding 20 minutes of drive time and included driving through a deluge of blinding rain on empty praying to find a gas station in a sea of farmland.

You have to be willing to work through the occasional setback, but finding a great shortcut and going on an adventure is totally sweet.


Thought this was Supposed to Save Time 

I have cleaned instant oatmeal out of a microwave at least a half-dozen times.  For some reason when you create an oatmeal volcano in the microwave at work, you can’t just leave it like you would do at home.  It isn’t because I can’t read or follow simple instructions but I like my instant oatmeal a little less al dente than the instructions call for.  Working with unfamiliar equipment that potentially includes industrial strength wattage (or whatever cooks stuff in a microwave), can lead to inconsistent results.

I get that the microwave is a huge time saver and everything but is anyone else out there a little intimidated?  I mean that thing has like 25 buttons on it.  There are a lot of numbers and levels but if I have anything that needs to cook longer than popcorn, I just hit the popcorn button and then the plus 30 seconds button over and over until I get to the desired time.

Speaking of, I made a frozen dinner not too long ago that told me I had to cook it for 6 minutes on medium, remove film, stir, and then put back in for another 4 minutes.  Listen, if I knew you were going to expect me to be Wolfgang Puck, I would have just made Swedish meatballs from scratch. Also, I looked and have no idea how to cook on “medium”  maybe that is just popcorn minus 30 seconds or something.

In case you were ever wondering, if someone in your office cooks fish in the microwave, you have to pop 3 bags of popcorn and throw it away just to get rid of the funk. I am grateful for technology and that I don’t have to stab a stick through it to cook my hot pocket over an open flame but microwave fails are  totally weak.

*If you read my last post you might be thinking ‘this guy writes about popcorn a lot”

(There isn’t really any joke there, I am just saying you might be thinking that.)


About Simon

I am a husband and a dad of two little girls. I am a lone Y chromosome and am already planning my escape strategy to deal with the estrogen flood that is on its way. People say there is a lot of joy to be found in the simple things and I have found they can provide a healthy dose of anti-awesome as well. I am, in general, a pretty optimistic guy and needed a bit of a creative outlet; so here it is. Thanks for stopping by. View all posts by Simon

47 responses to “What is “Cook Until Done” Divided by 30 Seconds?

  • metan

    I just don’t understand why whoever designs microwaves but can’t just put buttons on them only for what we need. Who needs a cook fish or soup or vegetables button, I just want a 1slice pizza button, or heat meat pie, or reheat chinese takeaway!

    As for the kids breakfast porridge (oatmeal) aarrgh! I’m still laughing about the vision of a gloopy volcano, my own microwave does that randomly too, just when I think I’ve got it all worked out…

  • nmaha

    Finding a shortcut that even shaves of a few minutes of travel time (especially in peak traffic) can turn a bad day into a good one. You totally hit the sweet spot with that one Simon.

  • SzaboInSlowMo

    I’ve come to despise the microwave. The popcorn was cool for a while, but once you’ve smelled the burnt stuff in your house, or office, for a day or two, you get over it real fast. I pay for a microwave just to boil a lousy cup of water. Weird, huh?

  • klrs09

    I love taking shortcuts, too! Only, I never try to take them when I’m in a hurry or on my way to the airport. My Dad does that. As a result, when we visit, we never let him pick us up or take us back. Just not worth the anxiety.

    I’m not a big lover of the microwave, barely use it. Apparently if you microwave water and then use that water to try and grow things, they’ll die. Don’t know if that’s true, a friend told me. But it seems believable.

  • Carol Wuenschell

    Another winner! We actually went to quite a lot of trouble once to get an old microwave oven repaired rather than buy a new one for my father in law. He’d never have been able to master a new one. The old one had a KNOB to turn to set the time, and an “on” button. He could handle that. Why do they always have to “improve” things?

  • Julie

    This is perfect timing! My husband tried out a new shortcut this weekend–it added an HOUR to the trip. On the plus side, the scenery was much like the picture you posted. You are on a roll, Simon. :C )

  • Sonne

    I can totally relate to your spaz about fish cooked in office microwave. Not only it makes all other meals taste like fish it also miraculously spreads the nosiated stench throughout the entire building. There is no escape!

  • squirrel circus

    The most frustrating “homemade” shortcuts are those where you think, “Okay, that’s Prince Street — it goes right where we’re headed. No. Wait, It heads in that general direction until you come to a random building, park, or school, where it STOPS and picks up on the OTHER side. The famous ‘you can’t get there from here’ !!”

  • Paige Sitwell

    Your posts always make me smile!

  • themiddlegeneration

    Your quote about shortcuts is so true. My husband once took me and 3 other adults on a shortcut on a Caribbean island. instead of driving all the way around to get to the snorkelling spot, he decided to take some back roads over the top. Needless to say it was quite an adventure, when at one point all the passengers bailed out while he tried to gun it up the steep dirt road. Shortcuts are the things that make great stories, if not great memories.

  • Saskatchewan Rose

    Seriously? I laughed at my desk.. received a couple looks from coworkers. This made my day lol
    I love “shortcuts” but I think mine need to be rephrased to “a longer more scenic adventurous route” because they are NEVER shorter. Ever.
    Take for example, I went on a bike ride last night & instead of sticking on the nice paved paths we took a detour & ended up in a field and had to backtrack to get back across the river & back into the city. It was fun & I got some great pictures but the first bike ride of the year turned out to be a little more strenuous than anticipated! There was a lot of me pushing my bike up a hill, looking down into the river thinking “My god if I slip I may or may not fall to my death, or get my phone wet” <- either or it would be catastrophe!
    Yet again, great post! Keep on truckin down those "shortcuts"!

    • Simon

      Wow, thanks so much for the great comment. Glad you got a laugh and are with me on the adventure that shortcuts (or long cuts) can provide. Cheers!

  • dpbowman

    Popcorn is the spice of life…no wait.

  • Carol

    It’s okay, really. We all have our “things”. If yours happens to be a popcorn fetish, that’s really okay. As long as you don’t feel a need to fill your bathtub with it and then climb in, you’ll be just fine. Really. I would not lie to you. (Hey, guys, he’s over this way. . . .)

  • Don Scrooby

    In my days of serious cooking ignorance I decided to “cook” an egg in our microwave. There was the mother of all egg explosions. You can’t believe what it did. Have you ever tried cleaning egg out of a Microwave? For the next week we had bits of egg with most of our meals. One helluva mess.

  • Jp

    Some times, after I read the instructions in those tv dinners, I feel it would be easier just to cook my own meal…

  • skippingstones

    My mom recently got a new microwave and I swear I could not figure out how to work that thing. “I just want to set this for one minute, what the heck?” Okay, I didn’t say heck.

    I refuse to make instant oatmeal in the microwave ever again! I boil the water in the microwave (about 2 & a half minutes) and then pour the oatmeal into the hot water. That works perfectly.

  • Julie

    Thanks for the laugh. I love your quote. I talk a lot about popcorn because it’s one of my only from-scratch specialties, so talk away.

  • tracylaneisnotavirgin

    hahaha! so funny and so true.

  • becca3416

    ““medium” maybe that is just popcorn minus 30 seconds or something”… YES. I have yet to see a “medium” setting on any microwave I’ve encountered. Either it’s a sick joke, or packaging companies need to get with the times.

  • nukemm33

    Yeah…I cooked a tv dinner once that told me to cook it for 4 minutes, do some origami-like stuff to the box and contents and then cook for another 9 minutes. Once my microwave meals start getting in the double digits I tend to not want to cook them. I mean, if I wanted to cook something I would have made it on my stove at home. You know what we need, a robot that interprets microwave cooking instructions and just does the work for you.*Patent Pending*

  • La La

    You write about popcorn a lot. 😉

    I love to watch men get excited about successful shortcuts. However, I am still trying to figure out how to comfort when the shortcut goes awry. Suggestions?

    Also, thanks for the the popcorn tip for the microwave smell. I work with a number of people who love themselves some microwaved seafood for lunch.

  • lauriebest

    About the unscheduled ‘shortcuts’…my mother was the Queen of ‘it’s a lovely day for a drive in the country’. This worked well, at least for her, until she got Alzheimer’s (we didn’t know at the time).Her one-hour trip that took five hours and involved a family search party was our first clue. So enjoy your shortcuts and be grateful for GPS…it could save you some embarrassment in the long run! Happy trails.

  • lauriebest

    You’re just the guy I need…I am selling two, not one but two, microwaves this weekend in a garage sale. Can’t wait to get rid of them…care to make a deal? They seem to be an integral (and funny) part of your life. Cook on, friend!

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