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Start with a good sized baking potato. It should be firm, with no mushy spots. Get rid of any sprouting eyes, and wash the potato thoroughly. If you eat the skin (which is the healthiest part anyway) you might scrub the potato with a sponge and a little dish detergent. Rinse thoroughly.

Pierce the potato with a fork in several places, trying to get about an inch into the flesh. This lets steam escape. Do NOT skip this step!

Put the clean, pierced potato on a microwave-safe plate (paper plates work fine) and center it in the microwave. Cook it on HIGH 5-7 minutes; turn; cook 5-7 minutes more. (Cooking times will vary according to the size of the spud and the power output of the microwave.) Let stand for a minute. Check it for doneness -- it should be softer, and the skin might have wrinkled a little.

Don't overcook the potato! It's better to cook for a couple of minutes at a time and check, rather than just leave the potato in for fifteen minutes.

Take the potato out with gloves or potholders and slice it open. Sprinkle with salt, add butter and cheese... or whatever you like on your potato. Cook about a minute more after adding toppings to melt butter/cheese, if desired, and enjoy!