Life without a microwave

by Karen on September 16, 2008

Yesterday, Kelly at Almost Frugal Food wrote a post about heating and reheating food without a microwave. Like Kelly, I don’t have a microwave, and I don’t want one. So I thought I’d throw in my two cents and tips on the topic.

Cutting the microwave out of your life is a great way to improve your diet. My husband used to live predominantly on microwaveable food in college. Generally, the stuff is pretty bad for you.

Cooking without a microwave is also better for your budget. Convenience foods, which come complete with high-tech packaging designed to make them taste less like microwaved food, are also a drain on the budget. Cooking with whole foods from scratch is much more economical than packaged convenience foods designed for microwave cooking.

I’ve also just never been completely comfortable with the idea of microwaves, to be honest. The idea of toxins and carcinogens being released by heating plastic in the microwave is more than a little disconcerting. Am I being paranoid? Probably. But I can live with that.

The bigger issue is that I hate the way food tastes when it’s heated or reheated in a microwave. It always comes out with a chewy, dry consistency. For the longest time I thought I hated leftover pizza. Turns out I just hated the way it tasted when it was reheated in a microwave.

Many people react with shock and horror when I tell them I don’t have a microwave. “How do you reheat anything?!” It’s like the entire fabric of their universe is crashing down on them.

I’ve never understood why people are so horrified by the idea of life without a microwave. The truth is, there’s nothing a microwave can do that a stove top or conventional oven can’t do better. It takes a little more time, but the tastier results are worthwhile.

Soups and pastas can be reheated simply by throwing them into a pot or skillet over medium-low heat on the stove top. Pizza, casseroles, and lasagna can be reheated for 10-20 minutes in a 300-350 degree oven.

Need to defrost meat? Refer to your menu plan before you go to bed, and place the meat you’ll need for tomorrow’s dinner into the refrigerator to thaw for 24 hours. Forgot to take your chicken breast out of the freezer last night? It happens. Just put it in a bowl in the sink with slow, steady stream of cool water trickling into the bowl. It’ll thaw in about 20 minutes.

The only thing we can’t make is microwave popcorn. No big deal. We buy stove top Jiffy Pop. It’s more fun anyway. :)


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