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Nov 28, 2007 07:07 AM

Microwave v. 'actual' cooking on/in a stove/oven that is...

Okay here's the discussion. I have discussed on other websites discussion boards the use of microwave v. use of stove/oven when it comes to the art of cooking. Some people actually defend so-called 'cooking' in a microwave. I'm sure you can tell by now which one I think should be used for 'cooking'. I'm now going to pose a question...How many celebrity chefs/cooks either on The Food Network, or other cooking shows on other channels, do you see cooking food for dishes or meals using a microwave??? Personally I've never seen it done. Just my humble contention (JMHC) is that, yes, there is a use, limited though it may be, for microwaves and it's not for cooking. 1) Microwave popcorn, if you prefer it), 2) Heating pre-cooked frozen foods such as Smart Ones, Lean Cuisines, Healthy Choice etc. etc., 3) Melting i.e.butter chocolate etc. Other than that forget it. I won't even heat left over pizza in one if just comes out too rubbery. And I won't even heat a flour tortilla in one, gotta use my flat non-sided cast iron skillet for that, oh so much better. Well I think you all know where I stand when it comes to this topic. Your thoughts?

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  1. I actually do have a couple dishes that I cook in the microwave, and I have a browning dish, that I don't use since the invention of the foreman grill, but it's there. Now before you toss me out of here, let me defend myself. I live in Houston and it gets really hot, and I don't have central AC. The kitchen turns into a steam oven very quickly and if I can use a shortcut without ending up a dripping, exhausted mess, I'm going to! I even know how to make my gravy in the micro. When it gets cooler, I retire it for the types of things you listed, but in the heat of summer (which lasts about 8 months here!) I will cook some meals in there! Plus, it saves energy cost to an extent.

    Having said that, I will admit that if I went to a restaurant, or watched a food show, and saw them cooking ONLY in the microwave, I would walk out or tune out pretty darn quick!

    2 Replies
    1. re: danhole

      The microwave is cooking.

      You may be surprised how many chains cook much of their pre-prepared (what a redundant phrase) food in an m-wave.....

      1. re: Karl S

        Sorry, if the pre-prepared food is already cooked then it is not cooking, at least in my book. It's re-heating already cooked food. I wasn't referring to whether some 'chains' may or may not use a microwave in the preparation of food. I guess I could of been more specific but this is suppose to be about what we use as home cooks.

    2. I think it's a tool like anything else. You can abuse it or use it properly. I do one dish that uses the microwave for steaming.

      I put some fish fillets in a glass dish, soy sauce, scallions and ginger, cover with plastic wrap. Rotate nuke for a few minutes and the liquid steams the fish up and there's a light sauce. Fish comes out nice and flaky as long as you don't nuke it for too long. Quick and easy meal that takes less than 20 minutes from prep to serve, including chopping up the scallions and ginger. Clean up while it's nuking.

      Very fast light tasty meal if you're in a hurry. I'd put this in the category of cooking.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jase

        Same here. Actually, the microwave has been adopted for a bunch of Asian recipesin my house. Steamed fish, crispy skin duck, chawanmushi. All taste wonderful and guests are shocked when they find out.

      2. snobbery aside, the microwave is a very useful tool, for aq lot more than popcorn. (actually popcorn comes out a bit dry in the microwave, but i digress) anything u steam u can microwave. simple veggies work great. simple fish.. also many ways to do in a microwave. REmember microwaving is essentially cooking by steam.. the steam from the water molecules in your food.

        it is not for roasting, heating pizza or anything the requires crispness. so complaining that it doesnt these things is like complaining your hammer wont play cd's.

        is it cooking? of course it is. food is more than the tools used to prepare it. Like any endeavor using the right tool for the job works. As does using the right job for the tool.

        As to celebrity chefs and food tv.. i don't really care if they use them or not. Im sure if and when they do (and im pretty sure at home they do) they use it for what it works for. Why don't they do it on TV? probably because of the pre-judgment on the method by chefs like the OP.

        1. Since they came out with those steamer bags, I admit I've been using the microwave a lot more. I've noticed that steaming my potatoes instead of boiling them for mashing come out beautifully (and half the time). As for reheating pizza, if I don't have "crisping" paper, I just use the toaster oven.

          2 Replies
          1. re: MrsT

            I use the microwave for potatoes as well. I don't use the bags and they come out great for mashing and hash browns.

            1. re: KTinNYC

              Per Jacques Pepin, I start my baked potatoes with 5-7 minutes in the microwave then finish them for half an hour in a hot oven. Very good texture and flavor.

          2. Yes it is cooking and at times much more difficult than using a saute pan and heat. Cooking is bring food to an edible state.

            Beneath this umbrella there are lots of sub-categories. Is Curing as in gravlax. cerviche. smoked meats. jfood would go so far as sashimi is cooking. It is a means to an end that bring food from an inedible state to an edible state (even sashimi).