Microwave mistakes


18 Dec Microwave mistakes


Burned Butter Wrapper

In the immortal words of my disaster-prone husband, “It’s okay! The fire’s out!”

Only it was my turn to bellow this comforting phrase as I doused the flaming object in running water.

Ever wonder what would happen should you soften butter in the microwave and use the foil wrapper instead of a plate? Well, wonder no longer. I’ve done the legwork for you. Within 8 seconds you’ll hear “pop” and the thin layer of fat  coating the wrapper will melt, setting the foil ablaze. By the time you can retrieve the burning object, you’ll have a 3-inch flame to contend with.

And the slab of butter that started the whole fiasco? Still hard.

I know better than to put metal in the microwave. I do. But for some reason, I didn’t equate foil butter wrappers with metal. I assure you, they are. See above for proof.

When Andrew saw me fanning away smoke and rinsing the evidence in the sink, he didn’t get mad or chastise me. He just smiled smugly and said, “This had better go on the blog.”


Here it is.

Unlike the other human in this house, some four-legged creature sensed my upset and came to help. And yes, that’s cat hair attached to the lens thanks to a reassuring head bunt seconds before I snapped this shot.


So, anyone care to share a microwave mishap? Misery loves company.

No Comments
  • AnjasFood4Thought
    Posted at 12:34h, 18 December Reply

    Love this blog post among all the Christmas recipe craziness. Thanks for sharing and making me laugh.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:09h, 23 December Reply

      Thanks for the input. I thought I was sick of the Christmas hype because of my food writing. Guess the readers have “festive fatigue” too.

  • susan c
    Posted at 13:18h, 18 December Reply

    Ha ha! I think the funniest part is that the darn butter didn’t even melt.

    And your husband must be enjoying this post so much.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:10h, 23 December Reply

      My husband didn’t say much more than that quote, but I suspect he went into the other room and punched the air with his fist in victory.

  • Amy Proulx
    Posted at 13:41h, 18 December Reply

    The cat hair on the camera lens is the piece de resistance in this whole event! Thank you for letting us revel in our fiascos!

    Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas!

  • Caleb
    Posted at 13:56h, 18 December Reply

    Hahaha, thanks for sharing the mishap. I’ve yet to accidentally put metal in the microwave. On purpose (using a CD) is another thing.

    Once my roomate used our microwave, mine to be exact as I’d grown up with it. That being the case I know little knacks like the perfect amount of time for various brands of popcorn. She decided 4:00 was an appropriate guess while I was away (2:25 would have been correct) and it took 2 months for the smell to complete pass, even after rigorous cleaning.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:13h, 23 December Reply

      Do I even want to ask about the CD?

      I once “roasted” a homemade curry spice mix in the microwave and it took months for the smell to dissipate. I can’t imagine what popcorn, with its oil, would do! Thanks for sharing your story.

  • The Diva on a Diet
    Posted at 14:33h, 18 December Reply

    In the words of someone very wise: “Real food, real live, it ain’t always pretty!” 😉

    I could not love that last picture more, Charmian! And, I’m hoping your microwave is ok. One Thanksgiving years ago, I caught my sister in law reheating the turnips with a cover of tin foil!?! Its a wonder she lived to tell, I was none too happy about it. Both she and the microwave survived, but only barely.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:14h, 23 December Reply

      Tin foil? I think I’d have caught onto that.

      My microwave survived, but only because I was standing right there. I can’t imagine the mess if I’d wandered out of the room…

  • Susan Hoffman
    Posted at 15:01h, 18 December Reply

    Somehow I can hear Andy suggesting this tale go onto the blog. I tend to forget about gold edging on older serving dishes which also starts to pop & fizzle if put into the microwave. Almost did that last night but my sister-in-law caught it in time!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:16h, 23 December Reply

      Oh, I’ve done that with inherited fine china! It’s a bit disconcerting. And makes people wonder if I’m worthy of family heirlooms.

  • Cheryl@5secondrule
    Posted at 15:19h, 18 December Reply

    I’ve never knowingly put metal in the microwave, but every now and then I put some food in there and suddenly I see, and hear, crazy little popping sparks, and I’m like, “What the hell kind of metallic ingredient is in my…???” And then I promptly lose my appetite.

    Glad you didn’t singe your eyebrows or burn your house down. Then my laughter and enthusiasm for this post would be dampened. Happily, it’s not.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:18h, 23 December Reply

      Cheryl, I save singeing my eyebrows for the barbecue. Did that a few weeks before my best friend’s wedding. Not a good look for the matron of honor.

      And Andrew’s in charge of the larger fires.

      I think we’re done with the pyrotechnics for a while. I hope.

  • Cheryl Arkison
    Posted at 16:38h, 18 December Reply

    Aside from the time my Dad thought it was a good idea to cook blood sausage in the microwave in a cast iron pan, and the roommate lit the rice cooker on fire, my favourite microwave disaster was when my Dad decided to boil an egg in the microwave. Just the egg, no water. Let’s just say we ended up with a new microwave.

    Even though I use my microwave daily (yes, I even cook in it) I think my Baba had the right idea. We bought her own so she wouldn’t fry everything to reheat and the next time we visited we found her using it as a bread box!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:20h, 23 December Reply

      My sister uses her microwave as a bread box, too! Very funny.

      Boiling an egg without water? Oh, I don’t want to think about the smell. And frankly, I’m impressed your Dad could fit the cast iron frying pan in the microwave. Ours is too small. And that fact alone might have saved us…

  • Robin Smart
    Posted at 17:02h, 18 December Reply

    Dear Charmian,
    I haven’t messed up in a micro wave (insert you own “too old” for it joke here) but I have exploded several baked potatoes in a real oven and it wasn’t pretty either. I also, very spectacularly, set my best friends oven on fire making yorkshire puddings.
    Glad all is well.
    Hope you were softening the butter for more cheese pecan short breads. They are so yummy.
    You OLD sister.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:22h, 23 December Reply

      Robin, the pecan cheesies are stored safely away in the basement freezer. I’m saving some for you.

      You might not have exploded anything in a microwave but our other sister blew the door off cooking squash. I was standing in front of the machine at the time and thought it was a bomb.

      Kudos for setting Yorkshire pudding on fire. That’s harder than you think.

  • jodi (bloomingwriter)
    Posted at 18:06h, 18 December Reply

    The best microwave story I can tell is about the time my first husband microwaved a potato–for 45 minutes. Somewhere around 30 minutes it dawned on me that the microwave had been on for a very long time and I asked him what he was making.
    “Baked potatoes,” he said.
    It didn’t blow up, strangely, so he must have pierced it. (this was nearly 25 years ago). When we rescued it from the oven, however, it was hard and dry, to say the least. Ossified, actually. We kept it as a memento, and for days afterwards it would occasionally crackle inside. He never did that again. I must remind him about that next time I talk to him. He actually went on to become an extremely good and imaginative cook.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:26h, 23 December Reply

      Ossified? A perfect word for the circumstances.

      Wonder why he tried 45 minutes? Did he think a potato took hours or did he think the microwave was a toaster oven? Great story either way.

  • Roz Cummins
    Posted at 22:28h, 18 December Reply

    I haven’t had any mishaps (yet) but I do enjoy microwaving a few peeps at Easter. They become huge and then burst. It’s messy but worth it, especially if there are small children to egg you on. Plus, I like telling the Peep, “Say your prayers, Peep!”

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:26h, 23 December Reply

      Okay, you win for the sickest use of a microwave EVER.

      Love it!

  • Turner
    Posted at 11:26h, 19 December Reply

    Love your furry little kitty friend who came to the aide of the potential fire-victim!
    I once decided to heat up a demi-tasse cup of coffee for someone at a dinner party, neglecting to note the thin gold band around the rim of the cup. Put the cup in the microwave, pushed heat and within 5 seconds, the most incredible lightning storm of blue streaks erupted inside the oven. There was a crackling sound and an odd smell as I watched the lightning, too stunned to do anything at first.
    A quick-thinking guest hopped to my aide and turned off the oven. Cup survived. My hair turned white moments later.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:29h, 23 December Reply

      Love the white hair detail. Those blue sparks are pretty but horrifying!

      Glad I’m not the only one to forget about the gold rimmed china!

  • Amy Proulx
    Posted at 12:36h, 20 December Reply

    I didn’t put in my own microwave mishap. Or victory, depends on which outcome we consider.

    Like many of the others, mine also involved a potato in the microwave. I had the frugal habit of snacking on microwaved potatoes, as a 10lb bag was the same cost as 2 minuscule bags of chips from the vending machine in my undergraduate dormitory. So I was old hat when it came to microwaving potatoes in the commissary.

    The evening of the dormitory ball, I was rather inclined to write my term paper, and eat my microwaved potatoes while the others got gussied up. 1 medium sized potato, washed, pierced, into a safe bowl, and into the microwave for 5 minutes. I’d done it hundreds of times before.

    Back to my room to quick check my email, then back to grab my snack. Yeah right! I was notorious for leaving my cold meals in the microwave for hours (or days).

    And off goes the fire alarm. Dormitory politics aside, every time a big event comes along, like the dormitory ball, Halloween, any holiday, any big night, someone would pull the alarm. So giggles and laughter, doors slamming, shouts of false alarms.

    And then I remembered my potato.

    The entire commissary was on fire. Decrepit (and now melted) old microwave still going, with a failed timer. As the firemen came running, hauling their hose up the stairs, they found me there with a 10lb fire extinguisher, fire out.

    After the fact, the students who locked themselves in their rooms said they were ****ing their pants. If they were to come out after the fire fighters had arrived, they’d risk a major fine, or risk staying in their rooms and burning (well, not quite).

    After everyone heard we would get a brand new commissary renovation, new furniture, carpets, cupboards and appliances, everyone was scheming how to set their microwaves on fire.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:32h, 23 December Reply

      I think this is the best microwave disaster story of the batch due to sheer scope of destruction. The potatoes? “Ossified” to use Jodi’s word. The microwave? Destroyed. But to initiate the replacement of furniture, carpeting and cupboards? That takes skill.

      This deserves special recognition of some kind. I need to create some sort of seal…

  • Maggie
    Posted at 18:57h, 20 December Reply

    I tried to soften peanut butter in the microwave. It didn’t matter what container I used – it kept on putting on quite the sound and light show.

    To this day, I keep the PB out of the microwave.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:34h, 23 December Reply

      Peanut butter did this all on its own? I guess the high fat content was to blame? Part of me (the dumb scientist part) wants to test this, but the smarter half says, learn from Maggie.

      I’ll take your word for it! Thanks for the heads up.

  • Scott
    Posted at 10:07h, 22 December Reply

    Years ago while sitting around the dining room table for a holiday meal. I decided I wanted to heat up my dinner. The plate seemed to be an ordinary plate to me, but no, it was my mom’s nice china with gold leaf plating around the rim. Note to all: don’t stick dishes that have any gold adornments in the microwave. I didn’t start a fire, but the gold sparked in the microwave, permanently “burning” the white china. Whoops! Sorry mom!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:35h, 23 December Reply

      You burned your Mom’s good china? You’d have been better off melting the microwave. Yikes! Thanks for the amusing story — and the warning!

      • Scott
        Posted at 11:47h, 23 December Reply

        @Charmian Christie, yeah, thanks for making me feel worse all these years later! I’m enjoying reading these comments (and your replies) as much as I did the original post.

        Happy Holidays!
        .-= Scott´s last blog ..Happy Thanksgiving! =-.

  • Melissa
    Posted at 08:55h, 24 September Reply

    When I was younger, much younger, but probably not much dumber than I am now, I also melted butter in the microwave. In a metal saucepan. There were flames and sparks and a hideous odor. My parents assumed the microwave was done for and wouldn’t even let us try to use it. I’m not sure why it sat on the counter as long as it did, giant paper weight?, but a month or so later I braved a try and it worked just fine.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 22:35h, 24 September Reply

      @Melissa, I think you and Amy are contenders for the best microwave story! Wow. A metal pot? And the microwave still worked? Amazing.

      Thanks for sharing your story. It made me feel better about the foil.

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