Poached egg on a bed of sautéed spinach, photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

I tried not to read Kim Severson’s New York Times article on the one-touch buttons on appliances at the International Home and Housewares show in Chicago.  You know the buttons that say “Cookies” on your toaster oven or the “Popcorn” button on your microwave that even ConAgra, maker of microwave popcorn, says you should not use.  My microwave, my toaster oven, they have these stupid, maddening, insulting, ridiculous, harmful buttons.  I hate them, but they’re unavoidable. I didn’t want to read Kim’s story—Electrolux oven has a “perfect turkey button,” put a turkey in, press a button, perfect turkey!—because I knew it would make … mybloodBOIL!

Hey!  Idiot manufacturers!  Cut it out!  The buttons don’t work—even your partners in food crime say so!  Worse, when they don’t work, you are telling your customers that they are so stupid, not only can’t they cook, they can’t even press a button correctly!  I know you’re all in a mad rush to “distinguish” your products, just like the food processors that pump out newer and newer flavors to distinguish theirs.  How about making your products BETTER rather than hanging ridiculous bells and whistles on them that accuse us of stupidity?  How about making them more efficient, less expensive?!  Those goddamn buttons make cooking harder, not easier!  It took me a month to figure out how to use my new Black and Decker toaster oven (thanks, Mom, not your fault, you didn’t have a choice).

Please, America, cook your own food.  Heating is not cooking.  Heating heats.  Cooking transforms.  It matters. And it’s not hard.  See below (or above).  Which would you rather have? The dish here or reheated chicken nuggets?  They take about the same time to prepare.  Where’s the one-touch button for the dish below?  Touch your temple.

Poached Egg on Sauteed Spinach

2 tablespoons butter

1 shallot, sliced, chopped or minced

1/2 to 3/4 pound spinach, rinsed

a few drops of vinegar or squeeze of lemon

2 -4 eggs (one per person)

1/2 baguette or other tasty bread

garlic clove, drizzle of olive oil or a little butter for the bread (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

2 -4 glasses cold white wine (optional but recommended)

Put the shallot and butter in a large saute pan over high heat.  Fill a sauce pan with water and put it on to boil.  When the butter is melted and bubbling, give the shallots a stir, then add your spinach to the pan.  Use tongs to turn the spinach so that it cooks evenly.  Give it a three fingered pinch of salt and a few cranks of pepper.  When it’s three-quarters wilted, turn the heat to low and leave it alone.

Put your bread in the toaster oven to toast (this may be the most complicated part of the cooking if your toaster oven is like mine, so prepare in advance if necessary).

When the water boils, crack your eggs into it and turn the heat to low.  Butter your toast (rub it with the sliced side of a garlic clove first if you want), or drizzle it with tasty olive oil.  Season your spinach with drops of vinegar or a squeeze of lemon.  Make a small bed on each plate.  Remove the eggs using a slotted spoon and when the white is congealed and the yolk is still soft, hold cloth or paper towel below the spoon to let water drain, then place the egg on the spinach. Finish the eggs with more salt and pepper.  Serve with the white wine.