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Banning Nukes

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corneygirl May 9, 2009 09:42 PM

So, about a year ago I ditched the microwave. Not a philosophical move, but practical. It lived on top of the fridge, and was hard to get at. Didn't use it much, and wanted the storage. The only time I really miss it is when a recipe calls for melted butter, and I didn't realize ahead of time and I don't want to wash another pan. Now I don't even understand why it was such a necessity. Anyone with a great love for the thing or a similar ambivalence?

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  1. The Professor RE: corneygirl May 9, 2009 10:09 PM

    It's useless for cooking food.
    The primary thing I use it for is reheating some things (just have to watch the times like a hawk, otherwise, it's dryingand toughening cremation of good food..
    For reheating, it's quick and indispensable.
    Beyond that, it's...well...totally dispensable

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    1. rworange RE: corneygirl May 10, 2009 02:17 AM

      It makes great oatmeal

      It does a better job than any other method for corn on the cob

      In fact, for many veggies it is superior to other cooking methods

      It makes flawless rice

      It does a better job of cooking hot dogs than steaming or boiling

      You don't need a popcorn machine and you can pop without any oil

      You can blow up peeps.

      I could go on and on.

      You just didn't learn how to use it.

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      1. re: rworange
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        fauchon RE: rworange May 10, 2009 06:03 AM

        I agree that corn on the cob is superior in a MW...ditto artichokes.

        Would you share your technique for making rice?

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        1. re: fauchon
          scuzzo RE: fauchon May 10, 2009 07:42 PM

          I'd like to get rid of mine too, cause my living space is small and I've got an old gigantic microwave. But I too love to cook artichokes in the microwave! Seven minutes versus and hour???

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          1. re: fauchon
            rworange RE: fauchon May 11, 2009 12:28 AM

            Three cups of water to one cup of rice.

            I hate watching stuff cook. I hate cleaning microwaves. Previously, I was nuking for a longer time, but the rice usually boiled over. By accident one day I nuked it for 5 minutes ... the time just before the rice started boiling over. I forgot about it. A few hours later when I opened the microwave, the rice had absorbed the water and was fluffy.

            Depends on the type of rice. If after about an hour of sitting there is still water, I just nuke 5 more minutes and check back after a while.

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          2. re: rworange
            Politeness RE: rworange May 10, 2009 06:21 AM

            "You can blow up peeps." Got to admit I did not see that one coming.

            A pressure cooker, with the corn on the cob or artichokes on a trivet above the water, is easily the best method of preparation of corn on the cob or artichokes, better than a microwave. I have made this declaration ex cathedra, so you are not permitted to argue.

            We make rice 300+ nights a year, and we take our rice very seriously. We would never, ever use a microwave for initial cooking of rice. For reheating single-portion servings of already cooked rice, the microwave is useful.

            I make waffles for breakfast (in a real waffle iron) about once a week, which are then eaten with syrup. The unused portion of syrup in opened bottles we keep in the refrigerator from week to week. For bringing the temperature of the syrup up to pourability level, and to the temperature of the freshly cooked waffle, the microwave is indispensable.

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            1. re: Politeness
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              fauchon RE: Politeness May 10, 2009 06:42 AM

              any rice cooking secrets?

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              1. re: fauchon
                Politeness RE: fauchon May 10, 2009 07:22 AM

                fauchon, nothing really secret, I think. The dedicated rice cookers are a godsend. For the casual buyer, they all may look the same, and there are SO many models. Here is the secret, if secret there be. As you go upward in price for any given capacity rice cooker within a maker's line, you get various buzzwords for thermostat until you reach "computer controlled," then "fuzzy logic," then "neuro fuzzy logic," then "induction heating," then "pressure induction heating." The BIG leap is the leap between ordinary logic ("computer controlled" or "micom") and "fuzzy logic." All the steps above "fuzzy logic" are minor incremental improvements, but the step between a very finely timed full-on/full-off switch ("computer controlled") and the inherent ability to turn the heat up just a little bit or down just a little bit ("fuzzy logic") is big and worthwhile.

                That microwave ovens tend to work in either full on or full off mode may account for our disdain for a microwave as a means to cook rice initially; rice really benefits from incremental tmperature adjustments over the course of the cooking cycle.

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              2. re: Politeness
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                Miss Priss RE: Politeness May 10, 2009 07:59 AM

                Using a pressure cooker for corn on the cob sounds like a great idea! How many minutes, at what pressure level?

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                1. re: Miss Priss
                  Politeness RE: Miss Priss May 10, 2009 02:57 PM

                  Miss Priss, if we know the corn is very fresh (we usually will not buy it if we do not know it is fresh), we hold the pressure at the first ring on the Kuhn-Rikon for 2½ minutes, and after turning off the burner (induction), let the pressure release the "natural" way. We add time if we are not certain that the corn is fresh.

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                  1. re: Politeness
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                    Miss Priss RE: Politeness May 10, 2009 03:58 PM

                    Thank you! I'm looking forward to trying it very soon.

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                    1. re: Politeness
                      m
                      Miss Priss RE: Politeness May 20, 2009 10:39 AM

                      Tried corn in the pressure cooker last night, and it was great! The corn came from the supermarket, so its freshness was unknown, but at least the husks were still on. I husked the ears, put them in the cooker's steamer basket over a cup of water, steamed them for 2 minutes at 15 psi (which is this particular cooker's only setting), and quick-released the pressure. They came out crisp and sweet--perfect! Thanks for introducing me to this method.

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                      1. re: Miss Priss
                        Politeness RE: Miss Priss May 20, 2009 11:24 AM

                        If the corn came out sweet, then it was fairly fresh. Sweet corn's sugars convert to starch in a fairly short time after the corn is picked.

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                        1. re: Politeness
                          The Professor RE: Politeness May 20, 2009 02:09 PM

                          But then again, most corn sold in the supermarkets these days is GM corn, modified so the sugars don't break down as quickly. There is evidently no requirement to label GM products as such.

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                          1. re: The Professor
                            Sam Fujisaka RE: The Professor May 20, 2009 02:45 PM

                            As an agricultural scientist at one of the 15 international (not for profit) agricultural research institutes, I'm fairly familiar with current research on and development of GM crops. I'm not aware of any work on changing sugar - starch conversion rates in maize. Do you any citations?

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                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                              The Professor RE: Sam Fujisaka May 20, 2009 05:55 PM

                              I think I probably still have an article clipped somewhere...I'll check on that for you. Seems I read it maybe 5 or so years ago? I assumed what I was reading was factual...perhaps it was just some sort of anti GM propaganda? I'll look for the article and report back.

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                2. re: rworange
                  The Professor RE: rworange May 10, 2009 06:45 AM

                  I learned how to use it.
                  And actually, I'll give you a +1 on the vegetables...you are correct there (although I would argue about it being the best method for corn on the cob...the best way is on the grill)
                  Re most of the other things you mention, I just find it really doesn't do any of those things better than regular methods. To each his own, I guess. It's all good.

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                  1. re: The Professor
                    kchurchill5 RE: The Professor May 25, 2009 11:36 AM

                    Corn steamed I don't like, I love it on the grill #1, secondly I soak in the husks and bake, I may micro, wrap in saran with butter, s/p. Tender but crisp, hot and perfect and 2 minutes. A pressure cooker would fit on my stove probably no less my counter. Usually grilled most of the time.

                    And to below SQHD, I do like hot dogs especially with chili.

                    And for hot dogs ... yes medium temp and slightly score the top so it doesn't curl. Always worked. But micros are all different. Here is a tip. Insert a small wooden skewer from end to end and cook. Works every time.

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                    1. re: kchurchill5
                      Scargod RE: kchurchill5 May 25, 2009 11:59 AM

                      You like soaking corn in the husks (before grilling)... so that suggests that you could soak it in salty water, seasoned water or even broth. Tried any of these?

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                      1. re: Scargod
                        kchurchill5 RE: Scargod May 25, 2009 01:23 PM

                        I tried salty once. I did see that much difference but one of my guest said it was better. I pull back and remove all silk and then put back and usually tie with some twice or tooth pick if grilling. I usually brush a little mix of olive oil and light s/p so the corn to me was too salty. I do the same in the micro Just for me or for 2 of us it is fine unless I get the grill out.. I wonder about a herbed broth, just tried the salt.

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                    2. re: The Professor
                      susancinsf RE: The Professor May 27, 2009 12:44 PM

                      I have to agree re: grilled corn on the cob...

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                    3. re: rworange
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                      SQHD RE: rworange May 11, 2009 08:59 AM

                      I lost all faith when I read the words "hot dogs."

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                      1. re: SQHD
                        rworange RE: SQHD May 11, 2009 10:21 AM

                        While grilled is better, way better than cooked in water because it makes the dog soggy. Nuking keeps all the juices and flavors in, but is one of the few microwave things that requires exact timing or they get ruined.

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                        1. re: SQHD
                          jfood RE: SQHD May 21, 2009 07:46 PM

                          MV dogs are great

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                        2. re: rworange
                          kchurchill5 RE: rworange May 25, 2009 11:30 AM

                          I maked baked and mashed potatoes in it a lot
                          Oatmeal
                          Hot dogs unless I'm grilling
                          Melting butter, heating up baby frozen peas and some other veggies
                          Heating up broth or stock, soup, leftovers.
                          Couscous
                          Heating up my baggies of fresh made tomato sauce or my leftover rice or pasta
                          How about my steak I made last week, Several pieces for a nice steak salad but needs to
                          be warm. 1 minute in micro and done, why heat up the whole oven or stove when not
                          needed.

                          I cook very little from scratch but I don't have room for lots of cookware I am maxed out as is with no counter room. I use mine all the time. Dinner tomorrow, frozen, reheated and served in the same dish in the micro in 3-4 minutes.

                          Today I did a simple poached egg in a small plastic plate. Toasted a english muffin a fresh tomato slice a little rice wine vinegar on the tomato, some pesto and breakfast in 2 minutes no dishes.

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                          1. re: kchurchill5
                            bkhuna RE: kchurchill5 May 26, 2009 07:21 AM

                            How can one make "baked potatoes" with microwaves?

                            Baking is a process that uses dry heat applied from the outside. Microwaves work by exciting water molecules from the inside.

                            Baking a potato in a microwave (unless you have a dual micro\radiant model) is scientifically impossible. You can put a kitten in a microwave, but that doesn't make it a biscuit.

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                            1. re: bkhuna
                              kchurchill5 RE: bkhuna May 26, 2009 07:27 AM

                              It works!

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                              1. re: kchurchill5
                                bkhuna RE: kchurchill5 May 26, 2009 07:40 PM

                                Sure it works, but I don't think it's proper to say "baked". That's all. Not going to argue the point. If you like 'em, that's all that matters. I for one don't care for the texture of the flesh or the tough, leathery skin that comes out of the micro.

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                                1. re: bkhuna
                                  kchurchill5 RE: bkhuna May 26, 2009 07:43 PM

                                  I understand, but they are baked in some method. And the skin not leathery at all, very tender and lightly crisp.

                                  But I can understand. But for just me or 1 or for my friend who doesn't have a oven, it works well, still fluffy which is most important.

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                                  1. re: bkhuna
                                    Scargod RE: bkhuna May 26, 2009 07:59 PM

                                    To backup K, NO leathery skin! Are you confusing MW with baking?

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                                2. re: bkhuna
                                  jfood RE: bkhuna May 26, 2009 08:17 AM

                                  jfood cooks his potatoes in the MV all the time and he still calls them baked. It is a heckof a lot easier than telling the family "we are having steak with potatoes that were first microwaved and then finished on the bread warming rack on the Weber."

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                                  1. re: bkhuna
                                    Sam Fujisaka RE: bkhuna May 26, 2009 09:42 AM

                                    Makes great baked potatoes (and no need to finish in the oven). Have you ever tried it?

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                                    1. re: bkhuna
                                      paulj RE: bkhuna May 26, 2009 10:18 AM

                                      So with baking, water molecules inside the potato get excited by contact with excited molecules near the surface, which in turn are excited by hot air molecules surrounding the potato. In other words, the inside of the potato is heated by conduction.

                                      Does it matter whether the heat that cooks the potato is generated by electromagnetic waves, or conducted from the outside? The skin will be different, but I'm not sure about the potato flesh. The oven method might end up drier, but steam will escape from the potato in either method. But some people wrap the potatoes in foil before baking, which traps that steam.

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                                      1. re: paulj
                                        David A. Goldfarb RE: paulj May 26, 2009 10:25 AM

                                        I like a crispy skin on a baked potato. The aluminum foil method for making bad baked potatoes is surely a conspiracy propagated by the aluminum industry, because there is absolutely no reason to do it that way. If I'm really in a rush and must have a baked potato, I'll cook it part way in the microwave and finish it in the oven, but I think an oven baked potato also comes out lighter than a microwaved or half-microwaved potato.

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                                        1. re: David A. Goldfarb
                                          kchurchill5 RE: David A. Goldfarb May 26, 2009 10:35 AM

                                          I agree if I have time and making it for someone other than just me. I had one for lunch on the boat. Perfect, a little butter, sc and some s/p. Perfect. Not too crispy skin, but fluffy!

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                                          1. re: David A. Goldfarb
                                            alkapal RE: David A. Goldfarb May 27, 2009 05:03 AM

                                            david, i agree that an oven-baked russet is fluffier than when done in a microwave -- although i'll use the microwave in a pinch. i think sweet potatoes have a silkier texture.

                                            i like cooking bacon in the microwave, too.

                                            i use the microwave for re-heating lots of things, and am happy to have it in my kitchen. i think it also works well for fish.

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                                          2. re: paulj
                                            applehome RE: paulj May 26, 2009 01:58 PM

                                            In cooking, there is transfer of energy by three means - convection, radiation, and conduction. All forms of cooking are using some combination of these. Conduction involves the passing of energy from one material directly to the other - a frying pan, for example right into the meat that's placed on it. Convection transfers energy through a fluid medium (gas or liquid). Radiation may appear to be the same as convection, but involves the higher energy levels of moving electrons and photons, sub-atomic particles, rather than molecules of a fluid material.

                                            Microwave energy transfer is not conduction. It is a form of radiation, where electrons are excited in klystron and magnetron tubes and then sent out as waves of energy, which transfers directly to the electrons within the object.

                                            Roasting is about convection. Air (or a fluid material) is used to transfer energy from the source to the object that is cooking. Depending on the location and type of the heat source, there is often some level of radiation that accompanies the convection.

                                            So a baked or roasted potato is cooked by 90% convection and 10% radiation, where a microwaved potato is cooked by 90% radiation and 10% convection (I'm just pulling numbers out of my ass, but the idea of the different ratios is what's important). If we can't detect the difference, good for us - let's use whatever works and makes life easier. But there is bound to actually BE a difference.

                                            Crisp skin is certainly an issue. But most people ignore the skin on a baked potato - personally, I eat it all. (Except when the restaurant obviously hasn't cleaned it or cut out the eyes/bad spots, or when they've had it in and out of the oven all night and the skin is shoe leather.)

                                            There is the possibility that what we actually like is the butter and the sour cream and chives. A potato is pretty tasteless, after all, and the actual quality of a baked potato differs tremendously from the type and freshness of the potato, and other reasons. It could just simply be that microwaving a potato doesn't actually make enough of a variance beyond what we're already used to, that it matters very little. Few people have taken the time to really analyze a microwaved potato versus a baked one, side by side.

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                                          3. re: bkhuna
                                            alanbarnes RE: bkhuna May 26, 2009 11:01 AM

                                            Yes, and "risotto" made in the microwave isn't the real thing either, since (according to some, at least) the word refers to the cooking method rather than or in addition to the end result. But if the microwaved food is indistinguishable from the traditionally-prepared version, doesn't it seem just a little pedantic to object to the use of traditional nomenclature?

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                                            1. re: alanbarnes
                                              applehome RE: alanbarnes May 26, 2009 12:51 PM

                                              Actually, I have more problems with the semantics than I do with the actual process. If it becomes ok to start using terms in any way at all, you're on a slippery slope that will end up with people never being able to understand anything succinctly. Every process will have to be explained in detail - I baked this potato, by which I mean that I mw'd it.

                                              If indeed there is no difference, the shortcut is fully acceptable to all, then why not simply state the shortcut? Why wouldn't the entry, MW'd Rissotto, be completely acceptable to all guests sitting in an expensive Tuscan restaurant?

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                                              1. re: applehome
                                                kchurchill5 RE: applehome May 26, 2009 02:03 PM

                                                Question, a bit out of context ... but I have a friend who lives up north on land where he is building his home. He lives in his trailer. Now ... he is a trained chef and loves to cook. He has a small toaster oven, his grill and his micro. All small 3 person camper. He grills primarily but when weather doesn't permit he cooks inside. Last time I was there he made:
                                                Asparagus puree under a mushroom risotto with braised lamb shanks with fennel and a great wine sauce, sauteed peaches in a chambord liquid with fresh raspberries over fresh gingered cake of some kind, this amazing whipped topping and a grilled salad. No other than the salad (romaine) and the lamb which he did in a small wood fire rather than the grill do to severe storms. The wood pit was under cover. The rest in the micro. Risotto in a micro, wine sauce in a micro, sauteed peaches in a micro and baked caked in a micro. Oh yeah the fresh caught salmon mix in some kind of baked potato crust. All done in the micro served with an Asian dipping sauce as an appetizer. NOW, is that short cuts. He has no stove and had no burner. Yet 5 star all the way. His potato microwaved was great as a crust. The salmon tender, the lamp agreed was on the wood fire, risotto and asparagus all in the micro and desert as well. All I can say is kudos.

                                                As with him. his only means is a micro and a outside grill when weather allows. So is what he cooks not good or not considered baking because of using a micro. It was wonderful and tops most I had. He is a trained chef and yes ... you can cook in a microwave. You may not get the browning of the rice or pasta or with any other foods in similarity, but, flavor is just as good.

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                                                1. re: applehome
                                                  alanbarnes RE: applehome May 26, 2009 02:35 PM

                                                  Let's go beyond semantics to semiotics. The signifier (in this case, "baked potato") refers to the signified, which should be something that both parties to the conversation recognize as the same thing (in this case, a russet potato, cooked whole in its jacket with dry heat until, ideally, the insides are fluffy and the skin is crisp).

                                                  I would submit that "baked potato" refers, not to the cooking method, but to the result. It doesn't matter if the baked potato was cooked using a coal stove, a wood fire (complete with electromagnetic radiation), a thoroughly modern self-cleaning oven, a microwave, or some combination of those. So long as the signified is substantially the same, it makes sense to use the same signifier. What could be more succinct than that?

                                                  Of course, if your position is that the "baked" in "baked potato" refers to a specific cooking method, then you're right - it would be incorrect to refer to a microwaved whole russet potato as a "baked potato." But if that's the case - if the significance of the word "baked" is to identify a cooking method - then why do we refer to waxy potatoes that have been cubed and cooked in a hot oven as "roasted potatoes"? They are, in fact, potatoes that have been baked. But calling them "baked potatoes" would cause considerable confusion.

                                                  The reason for this is simple - in order to assure clear communication, anything other than what the parties to the conversation would recognize as a "baked potato" shouldn't be called a "baked potato" - even if it's a potato that has been baked. The converse is also true - anything that has all the attributes of what the parties understand to be a "baked potato" is, in fact, a baked potato.

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                                                  1. re: alanbarnes
                                                    bkhuna RE: alanbarnes May 26, 2009 08:27 PM

                                                    So pork butt cooked in a crock pot with bottled sauce is barbecue because that's what some folks call it?

                                                    I think not.

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                                                    1. re: bkhuna
                                                      alanbarnes RE: bkhuna May 26, 2009 09:19 PM

                                                      I'm not arguing for descriptive versus prescriptive definitions. That's a whole 'nother thread. I'm saying that if two things are exactly the same, it's silly to call them by different names.

                                                      Pork butt **tastes** different when cooked in a crock pot with bottled sauce than it does when cooked low and slow over a smoky fire. They may both be called barbecue, but anybody with a palate will agree that they're fundamentally different things.

                                                      But let's assume for the moment that a potato "baked" in the microwave is absolutely indistinguishable from a potato baked in the oven. If it looks, smells, feels, sounds, and tastes exactly the same, what's wrong with calling the former a "baked potato"?

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                                                    2. re: alanbarnes
                                                      kchurchill5 RE: alanbarnes May 26, 2009 09:13 PM

                                                      Most of it is advertising and the ease of calling something different is appealing to the majority of people. I can't even begin to think of the endless foods that have been reinvented. Mashed potatoes, now smashed and roasted. Baked or nuked. To me I really don't care as long as they taste good. Is it that important as to what we call them. BBQ. Traditional on a smoker, traditional on a grill. BBQ in the oven or in the crock pot. It doesn't bother me.

                                                      I made BBQ ribs in the crock pot. Are they traditional BBQ, NO. But what would 90 percent of the people call them ... BBQ ribs which they were and they were damn good.

                                                      So traditional, NO, but that is what the majority would call them.

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                                                      1. re: kchurchill5
                                                        Scargod RE: kchurchill5 May 27, 2009 04:08 AM

                                                        Q. This is where we part company, ma'am! ;)
                                                        Example: Last night I grilled skirt steak and our guest called it BBQ! Really.

                                                        Because you put BBQ sauce on meat does not mean it instantly becomes BBQ; especially when it's basically stewed in a sauce. Then it all falls off the bone, right? It might be very good, but it would be incorrect to call it BBQ. It might slide by as "pulled pork" for some. Just 'cause something is tasty doesn't give you liberty to call it whatever you want. If you were in certain places, 90% of the people would snort and turn up their noses if you called that BBQ.
                                                        I think words matter, in many cases regarding food, or everything gets dumbed-down and you don't know what you have. We've certainly had many debates about this already.
                                                        I think baked vs nuked potatoes is splitting hairs since you can prepare and bake a potato in such a way as to have almost indistinguishable results from microwaved.

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                                                        1. re: Scargod
                                                          Soop RE: Scargod May 27, 2009 04:32 AM

                                                          Barbequeing is what you Americans refer to as "grilling", isn't it? Maybe over charcoal.

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                                                        2. re: kchurchill5
                                                          bkhuna RE: kchurchill5 May 27, 2009 04:18 AM

                                                          One detail that was never brought up in The Great Baked Potato Debate of 2009 is the type of potato used.

                                                          I've nukified many different varieties of potatos and they all do well in the microwave with one exception. While Yukons, whites, reds, etc. all come out just fine, the skin of Russett's always seem to turn into leather when nuked.

                                                          Are those who like the skin on their potatos using Russett's? If so, how do you get the skin to be crispy?

                                                          It's that one thing that prevents me from being a convert.

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                                                        3. re: alanbarnes
                                                          applehome RE: alanbarnes May 27, 2009 12:40 AM

                                                          The first time that authentic and or fine dining restaurants start putting "microwaved" as a method of cooking, because it is in fact fully acceptable to all, I will withdraw my own objections to having my food microwaved. I will, however, never accept that a restaurant microwave a normally roasted or otherwise cooked item, without telling people - if microwaving is so darned acceptable, then let it be known to one and all that this food was microwaved - stand up and be proud about it. Microwaving remains a shortcut to me - and to most people, today. Many places use it to save time, but generally not authentic or high-end dining places.

                                                          Perhaps the issue is with bad technique. People don't know how to microwave properly, and so end up with dried, shriveled, hard product. Or they are cheating and reheating something that they would not otherwise reheat and serve - the result is most often, if not always, crap on a plate.

                                                          I refuse to accept that a microwaved potato is the same as a baked potato. I fully understand that many people can't tell the difference, and of course, you will all insist that I cannot, either. But my criteria are indeed different. I love the skin partially crusty, and yet soft enough to eat. My favorite way of making baked potato is to wash/scrub/remove eyes, rub all over with kosher salt, then throw it on the indirect side of the Weber lit with hardwood charcoal. So if you guys can get that smokey, woody, crunchy/soft skin done in the ol' microwave, I'm gonna eat that old crow that keeps bothering the chickadees on my feeder.

                                                          Most steak houses produce the same type of potato, if not quite as smokey as mine. I just don't see that coming out of a microwave. Obviously, a baked potato isn't one thing - there is a broad range of final product. The thing that makes them all baked potatoes is that they are BAKED!

                                                          A microwaved potato is an ersatz baked potato. Just because you can't tell the difference between them, especially with enough butter and sour cream, doesn't mean the rest of the world can't. By all means, if you like microwaved potato, eat microwaved potato. But it's not a baked potato.

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                                                          1. re: applehome
                                                            Scargod RE: applehome May 27, 2009 03:39 AM

                                                            I'll have a "salamandered potato" and "convectioned corn". Sheesh AH.

                                                            You forgot to mention that there are many ways to prepare a potato for baking, numerous coverings that you can put around it and many devices that can truly "bake" a potato. Which one produces the real baked potato?
                                                            Edit: And, oh yea, like bkhuna mentioned, we would have to all be on the same page as to the kind of potato we were cooking...

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                                                            1. re: Scargod
                                                              Soop RE: Scargod May 27, 2009 03:51 AM

                                                              Where I'm from, we tend to call them "jacket" potatoes (i.e. they have their skin on).

                                                              I think an equally important question is, if baking and roasting are the same, what's the difference between a roast and baked potato?

                                                              Surely roasting involves fat?

                                                              And would a microwaved potato not be more 'steamed' than baked? Baking is surely a slow cook in a hot chamber.

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                                                            2. re: applehome
                                                              alanbarnes RE: applehome May 27, 2009 08:24 AM

                                                              Do you really think it's necessary to disparage others' palates just because they disagree with you? I'll happily concede for the sake of argument that you can make a better potato on your Weber than I can in my microwave. And I'll even let you call it a baked potato, although it's really grilled.

                                                              But while I admire your perfectionism, you're missing the point entirely. A baked potato does not have to be the best possible baked potato to deserve the name.

                                                              Suppose you take a diminutive russet that's got a solid layer of green under the skin and flesh that will never be anything but mealy. Don't bother washing it, just pop it in the oven for a while. Pull it out while the middle is still hard as a rock. What is it? It certainly wouldn't be something you'd want to eat, but what would you call it? It's a baked potato, of course. An abominably bad baked potato, sure, but a baked potato nevertheless.

                                                              Or, more to the point, what about a russet that's been baked in aluminum foil? It will never be as good as a potato baked in the way you describe - the foil holds in steam, resulting in flesh that is less than perfectly fluffy and skin that has a slightly leathery texture. But you can't seriously argue that it is anything other than a baked potato.

                                                              In my experience, a potato that's been properly cooked in the microwave is absolutely indistinguishable from one that's been wrapped in foil and baked in the oven. It's quite different from a potato that's been washed, dried, oiled, salted, pierced, and cooked on a rack. It will never be the best baked potato in the world. But it's a baked potato nevertheless.

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                                                              1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                Soop RE: alanbarnes May 27, 2009 08:30 AM

                                                                Let me see if I can make an anology that works...

                                                                A silver spoon, compared to a steel spoon?
                                                                They do the same job, and they look similar enough, but although one is 'silver' in colour, it is not made of silver. The steel spoon is worth inherently less.

                                                                I'd maintain that a microwaved jacket potato is kind of steamed, and it doesn't have that maillard effect (I think?) that an oven-baked jacket potato has. Even though baking in the oven essentially steams the potato as well.

                                                                Sorry to butt in.

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                                                                1. re: Soop
                                                                  jfood RE: Soop May 27, 2009 08:58 AM

                                                                  No comment on the analogy.

                                                                  But are you saying that a potato that is cooked in a MV has steam released, but one that pops into the oven does not? And if the latter does have moisture released (that is jfood's position) does it not then increase the moisture environment of the oven therefore having the same steam-convection (although at a different ratio) process in place

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                                                                  1. re: jfood
                                                                    Soop RE: jfood May 27, 2009 09:06 AM

                                                                    I'd say they both cook via steam.
                                                                    The second point... Not sure. I'd say that in an area the size of the oven, the steam released is probably not enough to have an effect.
                                                                    The main difference is that the microwave heats the food directly, whereas the oven will heat the air around the potato. This enables it to brown and crisp up on the outside (which to me is the tastiest part).

                                                                    Although they're similar, I'd contest that the maillard effect on the skin is enough to separate a microwaved jacket and an oven-baked one.

                                                                    Another anology perhaps is heated bread and toast? They're both the same thing with the exception of the maillard effect I suppose. Perhaps that's not a fair example though.

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                                                                  2. re: Soop
                                                                    alanbarnes RE: Soop May 27, 2009 09:19 AM

                                                                    I agree with you completely that a potato "baked" in the microwave is fundamentally different than one baked uncovered in the oven. But many people wrap potatoes in foil before baking them in the oven. Doing so produces a potato that is, so far as I can tell, exactly the same as one cooked in the microwave.

                                                                    I think everybody will concede that the foil-wrapped potato, although inferior to a properly baked potato, is in fact a "baked potato." Assuming for the sake of argument that a microwaved potato is identical in every way to the foil-wrapped potato, why shouldn't they be called by the same name?

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                                                                    1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                      Soop RE: alanbarnes May 27, 2009 09:27 AM

                                                                      I'd conceed that a foil wrapped jacket potato is virtually identical to a microwaved potato. However, when we're dealing with the kind of monster who would perpetuate such a crime, what use are words? J/K :P

                                                                      I understood the "foil wrap" technique to be used for barbeques and bonfires (placed directly among the coals) rather than the oven though. In that (the oven) context it seems kind of pointless.

                                                                      I would put it to you that wrapping a baked potato in foil is similar to using another vessel in an oven, or perhaps "the wrong way to do it".
                                                                      I add the caveat that it may well be to some peoples tastes, in the same vein as the "you're doing it all wrong" feature on CH.

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                                                                      1. re: Soop
                                                                        Scargod RE: Soop May 27, 2009 11:45 AM

                                                                        I made the argument Alan has been making, but was sparing all the (I thought), obvious details.
                                                                        Can you not admit that some don't like/want the crisp or tough skin, or the dried out outer layer, when they put it in foil or nuke it? We're not monsters!

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                                                                2. re: applehome
                                                                  rworange RE: applehome May 27, 2009 10:56 AM

                                                                  >>> The first time that authentic and or fine dining restaurants start putting "microwaved" as a method of cooking, because it is in fact fully acceptable to all, I will withdraw my own objections to having my food microwaved.

                                                                  Does it count that Thomas Keller created a line of microwavable dinnerware?
                                                                  http://www.kaboodle.com/reviews/thoma...

                                                                  Or that he suggests a use for the microwave for his recipe for PIGS FEET WITH FRENCH GREEN LENTILS
                                                                  http://www.fbworld.com/Mag_Oct/FBI/01...

                                                                  Or what about Michael Richards cookbook, "Happy in the Kitchen"
                                                                  http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Happ...

                                                                  "... among his colleagues, Michel Richard is the chef's chef, the one others look to for inspiration. "Why didn't I think of that?" asks Thomas Keller, in his foreword to Happy in the Kitchen, about Richard's innovative technique"

                                                                  He "whips up spectacular chocolate pudding and béchamel in the microwave"

                                                                  Maybe chefs should come up with a sexy term for microwaving like sous vide something that evokes drool just by appearing on the menu like wood-fired.

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                                                                  1. re: rworange
                                                                    alanbarnes RE: rworange May 27, 2009 11:03 AM

                                                                    Pwned!!!

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                                                                    1. re: rworange
                                                                      jfood RE: rworange May 27, 2009 11:11 AM

                                                                      a l'envers

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                                                                      1. re: jfood
                                                                        rworange RE: jfood May 27, 2009 11:25 AM

                                                                        Seems like Ferran Adria is using the microwave as well ... does that make it cool enough for gastro-snobs?
                                                                        http://www.theage.com.au/news/epicure...

                                                                        "But the most radical new tool employed was the microwave whether used to set simple egg white soufflés or "bake'' a black sesame sponge cake mixture aerated by a spumas gun to make the world's lighted sponge.

                                                                        Ferran Adria said thatthe important techniques were often not the spectacular ones. "You might see the microwave in every home kitchen yet it is definitely a vanguard technology.''

                                                                        Another article mentions
                                                                        http://www.theage.com.au/executive-st...

                                                                        "On the weekend Adria, 46, held spellbound a sell-out audience of 1500 chefs and foodies at Hamer Hall, lecturing about his approach — part bowerbird, part boffin — and presenting videos of elBulli's methods and food.

                                                                        Dishes included flexible meringues that look like timber, astonishing replica fruit, leaf-like crackers, and sponge cakes prepared with a soda siphon and cooked in the microwave."

                                                                        And yet we don't know what we have in our kitchens ... we yawn at the microwave instead of being spellbound.

                                                                        Now I would have paid big bucks for that ... 1500 foodies watching AF microwave.

                                                                        Not one of his recipes but a starting point to begin exploring the brave new world of the microwave possibilities

                                                                        Beef "Cappuccino" with Parsnip Foam
                                                                        http://www.foodtv.ca/recipes/recipede...

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                                                                        1. re: rworange
                                                                          jfood RE: rworange May 27, 2009 12:41 PM

                                                                          jfood ison your side

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                                                                      2. re: rworange
                                                                        paulj RE: rworange May 27, 2009 11:22 AM

                                                                        I believe F Adria does one of his foam things in a paper cup in the micro.

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                                                                        1. re: rworange
                                                                          Sam Fujisaka RE: rworange May 27, 2009 11:27 AM

                                                                          cuit avec le rayonnement

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                                                                      3. re: alanbarnes
                                                                        alkapal RE: alanbarnes May 27, 2009 05:06 AM

                                                                        alan, i like your explanation. but...what *is* up with "roasting" vs. "baking"?

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                                                                      4. re: applehome
                                                                        jfood RE: applehome May 26, 2009 08:05 PM

                                                                        so what would you call pot roast:

                                                                        - on the stove top it becomes pot conduction or conduction roast
                                                                        - in the oven it becomes pot convection or convection roast

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                                                                        1. re: jfood
                                                                          kchurchill5 RE: jfood May 26, 2009 08:12 PM

                                                                          I've made pot roast on the stove top and on the grill and in a wood fire pit. Should I still call it pot roast. Same flavors, same seasoning, same vegetables, same flavor. Just a different method and same results. I still call it pot roast.

                                                                          Lots of ways, same results right?

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                                                                          1. re: kchurchill5
                                                                            jfood RE: kchurchill5 May 27, 2009 03:23 AM

                                                                            Absolute-a-mundo Ms K.

                                                                            Jfood needs to ask the little jfoods if there is an acronym for tongue in cheek, so for now Jfood will place TIC.

                                                                            BTW - the wet weather from FL just hitthe northeast.

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                                                                          2. re: jfood
                                                                            applehome RE: jfood May 27, 2009 12:01 AM

                                                                            Roasting and baking are generally considered synonymous, roasting is applied to meat while baking to breads, etc. But there is a more general definition of roast - in Webster, for example, they have "to cook meat, fish, or vegetables by heat". It also refers to the meat that this heat is applied to.

                                                                            A pot roast is made in a pot. The only time conduction is used is when it is being maillard browned, otherwise through braising or boiling, convection is the method of heat transfer. Whether the pot is on the stove top or in the oven, the main agent of cooking within the pot with liquid and air is convection.

                                                                            If you cooked pot roast in a glass or ceramic container in the microwave, it would be cooked with a combination of radiation and convection from the liquid and air within the container. But the result wouldn't necessarily be that different from a traditional stove-top/oven cooked pot roast. It would remain a pot roast, insofar as the term roast here has nothing to do with actual roasting.

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                                                                            1. re: applehome
                                                                              jfood RE: applehome May 27, 2009 03:31 AM

                                                                              Thanks for the obvious Appy. Jfood is really glad on this one "A pot roast is made in a pot". Whew...major mystery solved.

                                                                              So if someone takes a pot roast recipe, throws it in a bag and removes all the air and places it in the MV. Then he places the MV on low with a glass of boiling water next to it is it sous vide, radiated, convected?

                                                                              How doyou explain:

                                                                              1 - "I refuse to accept that a microwaved potato is the same as a baked potato" with
                                                                              2 - "But the result wouldn't necessarily be that different from a traditional stove-top/oven cooked pot roast. It would remain a pot roast"

                                                                              This is so confusing, maybe jfood will BBQ some dogs tonight on the Weber.

                                                                              BTW - in your last paragraph would you call it glass container roast?

                                                                              TIC

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                                                                              1. re: jfood
                                                                                applehome RE: jfood May 27, 2009 02:19 PM

                                                                                Well - I explained earlier, but let me repeat. Baking potatoes in an oven (or a grill over indirect heat, which means it's acting as an oven) is 90% convection 10% radiation. MW is 90% radiation and 10% convection. As I said, I'm making up the numbers, but the difference is obvious. Why would you expect it to come out the same, to create the same textures and flavors all over (including the skin)?

                                                                                A Pot Roast has fundamentally different properties, being cooked in liquid and air under all circumstances. So the difference between one method and another is not going to be as pronounced.

                                                                                Let me just say that I find the lack of scientific method applied here to be appalling. I tried to explain the three methods of heat transfer and how they might have different effects on foods, but few have understood the real physical differences that are occurring. I'm sorry that this is a difficult concept to understand, or that I seem to be explaining it wrong. I can only recommend that you read McGee on the subject - he is a far better explainer and writer than I. (and makes far more money at it...)

                                                                                Microwave cooking is a method of cooking - I never disputed that. That people, especially those leaning towards science and a true detailed understanding of food and the changes that happen with food when cooking, have experimented with this type of cooking, and have arrived at some wonderful new ways to use this method, is not at all surprising.

                                                                                But just like it is a huge shame to see vegetarian cooking creativity wasted on recreating meat based dishes, it is a waste to see Microwave cooking wasted solely on replicating other methods and devices. I don't believe for a second that Keller or Adria are nuking potatoes and serving them as baked potatoes. They are, instead, applying this different form of cooking to new recipes, taking advantage of what this method offers that cannot be done otherwise.

                                                                                As with sous vide (and microwaves have been around as long or even longer, in terms of modern culinary thinking), the method can only be done well by those that are taking the time to learn how to do it well. The majority of uses of Microwaves in restaurants (and in the home, most likely), are about shortcuts, not at all about creativity or quality. Once again, chowhound has become about celebrating the everyday, the mediocre. Microwaved potatoes are not GREAT. They are quick, they are edible.

                                                                                Please - call your microwaved potatoes, baked potatoes - be happy, live long. But I'll still send each one back that I get in a restaurant, and if you serve me one at your home, don't expect my good manners (?) to protect you from a rant about serving creative food, done with effort and pride, to your guests.

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                                                                                1. re: applehome
                                                                                  susancinsf RE: applehome May 27, 2009 03:55 PM

                                                                                  if you would indeed rant to me in my home about *anything* that I served you, I don't think there would be a need for the question mark, as your 'good' manners would be non-existent. But that's ok, because I wouldn't invite you back either, so you wouldn't have to be subjected to the horrors of a microwaved potato, or whatever, again, at least at my home.

                                                                                  and of course, if you really had good manners, and a bit of sense, you would know that the way to avoid getting a microwaved potato in a restaurant, where you are a customer and not a guest, would be to ask before ordering how the potatoes are prepared. (and obviously if they told you they were microwaved, you'd order something else. If they told you they were oven baked and they weren't, then by all means send them back).

                                                                                  I prefer oven baked to microwaved potatoes also, by a long shot. Which means that in summer around here I either go without or sacrifice taste for comfort (can't stand to use the oven for long periods). but I wouldn't dream of criticizing someone who was gracious enough to invite me to share their table.

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                                                                                  1. re: applehome
                                                                                    jfood RE: applehome May 27, 2009 03:59 PM

                                                                                    Okeedokee

                                                                                    Par 1-2:
                                                                                    So if there is a ~90/10 vs ~10/90 diffeential there is absolutely no comparion. Yet "A Pot Roast has fundamentally different properties, being cooked in liquid and air under all circumstances. So the difference between one method and another is not going to be as pronounced." So where does one draw the line? Is a 20/80 vs 80/20 or is it 65/35 vs 35/65. It appears your posts in and of itself are contradictory.

                                                                                    Para 3
                                                                                    Appalling? What scientific conclusions has anyone made other than you. Jfood fully understood the HS science you posted, and he understands the differnces, but has drawn a different conclusion than you. All the posters have been discussing potatoes in a MV. Thanks for the reference to McGee, looks right up Jfood's alley.

                                                                                    Para 4 -
                                                                                    Agreed

                                                                                    Para 5
                                                                                    First part - jfood does not care where the method comes from but if a vegetarian wizard can create a great meat dish, yippee to jfood. Jfood again disagrees with the remainder. Jfood thought your position was you could not recreate a baked potato in the MV. If Keller can do that, jfood would like to understand, and he would guess that you would as well. Oops, that would disprove your conclusion.

                                                                                    Para 6
                                                                                    Oh please. As one learns any craft they get better. Another stating the obvious. And jfood would suggest you open your eyes to quick does not mean crappy, it means faster. Jfood is proud of progress and how he can make a great potato in the same time frame as his chicken on the grill. Calling that potato on his plate mediocre is appalling.

                                                                                    Last para
                                                                                    Good news for both you and jfood. His company is there to learn, discuss, teach, enjoy and have fun, not preach and denigrate. And "protect you from a rant about serving creative food, done with effort and pride, to your guests"...enough said

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                                                                                    1. re: jfood
                                                                                      applehome RE: jfood May 27, 2009 04:14 PM

                                                                                      "So where does one draw the line? Is a 20/80 vs 80/20 or is it 65/35 vs 35/65. It appears your posts in and of itself are contradictory." The point, obviously, is that the extremes reflect greater differences. Where you draw the line is entirely up to you. If you can't tell the difference between fundamental cooking methods at all, you will be eating a lot of boiled foods - a fate that may await us all.

                                                                                      "jfood does not care where the method comes from but if a vegetarian wizard can create a great meat dish, yippee to jfood" I wasn't referring to the vegetarian creating a meat dish, but to creating a vegetarian dish to emulate a meat dish. I'll eat at vegetarian Indian restaurants all day long, but put a soy breakfast sausage in front of me, and there will be a gag reflex. Why waste your time and effort emulating something that can never be done to the original specifications? Similarly, if my original baked potato specification calls for a char-grilled skin, you and Keller and Adria and anyone else can work miracles in the Microwave - it would simply never get there. Of course, you can lower your standards and enjoy the simulation that comes out of the microwave. Like I said - ersatz food.

                                                                                      Of course, I was being hyperbolic with reference to being such a rude guest. Nevertheless, the point remains - do you have any pride in cooking for your guests? Do you serve them Kraft Mac'nCheese? Store-bought burritos? Microwaved baked potatoes?

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                                                                                      1. re: applehome
                                                                                        jfood RE: applehome May 27, 2009 04:38 PM

                                                                                        1 - jfood can tell the difference.
                                                                                        2 - Boiled food may await those that refuse to grow and accept, so jfood is covered.
                                                                                        3 - totally agree. stop the nonsense of that tofu stuff mascarading as a pig with lipstick.
                                                                                        4 - jfood hopes the boys can figure it out
                                                                                        5 - jfood has great pride and if jfood did happen to serve store bought burritos, the dinner would be just as fantastic as if he served perfectly prepared, true to tradition, straight from the rosetta stone cookbook meals. Serving guests is about the company, not food perfection. BTW - jfood has served baked potatoes from the MV.

                                                                                        Ciao A

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                                                                                        1. re: applehome
                                                                                          alanbarnes RE: applehome May 27, 2009 04:45 PM

                                                                                          You continue to conveniently ignore my premise that a potato wrapped in foil and baked in an oven is indistinguishable from a potato cooked in a microwave. And many cooks in homes and restaurants everywhere wrap potatoes in foil before baking them.

                                                                                          Whether they do so because of habit, ignorance, or preference for the end result, the incontrovertible fact remains that they do. You would presumably claim that such a potato has been baked using a method that's less than ideal, and I would agree with you. But only an idiot would argue that it's anything other than a baked potato. Right?

                                                                                          Now let's assume for the sake of argument that a microwaved potato is absolutely, indistinguishably, exactly identical to a potato that's been wrapped in foil and baked in the oven. Neither of them meets your "original baked potato specification," but one of them is indisputably a "baked potato."

                                                                                          If you want to redefine "baked potato" to exclude anything that's wrapped in foil (or cooked in an electric oven, or prepared before noon, or whatever other arbitrary restrictions you care to impose), that's one thing. Good luck with it, and give Sancho Panza my best. But assuming that the foil-wrapped potato is indeed a "baked potato," please explain to me why it's not okay to use the same term for the absolutely identical potato cooked in a microwave. Why on earth would we would want to use two different names for two identical potatoes?

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                                                                                          1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                            applehome RE: alanbarnes May 27, 2009 05:56 PM

                                                                                            I submit that there is a difference in the fundamental chemical and physical reaction process between radiation and convective cooking. You're point is that who cares, if you can't tell the difference. My point is that there is a difference and that someone somewhere might be able to tell the difference, or maybe if you try to use that potato in some other way (hash browns, wgon wheels, twice baked, etc.) these kinds of differences might become more detectable. I'm not saying that for sure, I'm saying maybe. I'm starting with the fundamental understanding of the science, and assuming that there is going to be some detectable difference, somewhere down the line. It's not baking, not because of the end product, but because of the very, very fundamental difference in the cooking method.

                                                                                            Absolutely identical (for eating purposes) is not absolute. The difference between radiation and convection - now, that's absolute.

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                                                                                      2. re: applehome
                                                                                        rworange RE: applehome May 28, 2009 12:16 AM

                                                                                        >>> Once again, chowhound has become about celebrating the everyday, the mediocre. Microwaved potatoes are not GREAT. They are quick, they are edible ... if you serve me one at your home, don't expect my good manners (?) to protect you from a rant about serving creative food, done with effort and pride, to your guests.

                                                                                        Chowhound is about what is delicious. Depending on the cook, the food from conventional cooking methods can be delicious or bad. You host might bake that potato in an oven in a way that is not to your personal liking.

                                                                                        Why do you equate fast with bad food?

                                                                                        Do you not use a food processor, or do you personally chop by hand, grind in food in a morter and pestle, etc, etc.

                                                                                        I tell you what was a bigger impact on the taste of food ... that silly appliance called the oven. No more chopping the wood, stoking the fire ... and the loss of flavor ... restaurants don't promote wood-fired for nothing. Damn time-saving devices.

                                                                                        You write ...

                                                                                        >>> it is a waste to see Microwave cooking wasted solely on replicating other methods and devices.

                                                                                        But they do it faster and in some cases better and not to mention more environmentally responsible. One dish can be used in the microwave, eliminating cleaning extra pots and pans. Less power is used. Depending how you feel about radiation, they are safer. You don't read about microwave burns or people catching their clothing on fire. No one is 50 miles down the road on a vacation fretting they forgot to turn the microwave off and the house might burn down.

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                                                                                        1. re: rworange
                                                                                          applehome RE: rworange May 28, 2009 12:49 AM

                                                                                          All good points, as are the ones you made previously regarding the creative and expert use of microwaves. But I stand by the fundamental difference, molecularly between radiation and convection - and this does translate to some gastronomical differences. There is a best way to use both - as there is a best way to use conduction. Certainly, there are overlaps and certain recipes will appear indistinguishable whether microwaved or baked, But others shine when done in one way, and one way only.

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                                                                                          1. re: applehome
                                                                                            Passadumkeg RE: applehome May 28, 2009 02:23 AM

                                                                                            Hey, App, I agree w/ you and prefer a good oven baked potato, but if the oven is not on for a meal and it is a week night; a nuked spud is "goodenuff".

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                                                                                        2. re: applehome
                                                                                          rworange RE: applehome May 28, 2009 12:41 AM

                                                                                          >>> Microwave cooking is a method of cooking - I never disputed that. That people, especially those leaning towards science and a true detailed understanding of food and the changes that happen with food when cooking, have experimented with this type of cooking, and have arrived at some wonderful new ways to use this method, is not at all surprising ... I don't believe for a second that Keller or Adria are nuking potatoes and serving them as baked potatoes. They are, instead, applying this different form of cooking to new recipes, taking advantage of what this method offers that cannot be done otherwise. ... the method can only be done well by those that are taking the time to learn how to do it well. The majority of uses of Microwaves in restaurants (and in the home, most likely), are about shortcuts, not at all about creativity or quality

                                                                                          Nuh-uh

                                                                                          First of all neither Keller nor Adria would make anything as boring as a baked potato ... as delicious as it might be ... and what either would call a baked potato would be done with irony ... the deconstructed, reworked baked potato ... evocotive of the original

                                                                                          Second, Michael Richards, who Keller calls the chef's chef is duplicating other cooking methods using the microwave such as pudding and bechamel ... do you consider that a wasted effort?

                                                                                          Does Richards put that on his menu if this is how he makes it in the kitchen ... probably not ... for the same reason that there is lots of tapdancing done on menus ... calling squid, calamari, for example ... the public isn't educated enough to appreciate it and menus aren't exactly littered with ordinary cooking terms.

                                                                                          If using a stove vs a microwave is superior ... I guess StoveTop stuffing must be wonderful.

                                                                                          Again, it boils down ... so to speak ... to who is using the appliance. The person heating up their frozen dinner in a microwave was probably putting frozen dinners in the oven. A person who puts out tasty food in an oven will make equally tasty food if they know how to use a microwve correctly.

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                                                                                          1. re: rworange
                                                                                            applehome RE: rworange May 28, 2009 08:59 AM

                                                                                            Michael Richards... Kramer? I know I'm being flip, but I can just see a Seinfeld episode with Kramer and the Microwave. Michel Richards, OTOH (and yes, of course Michael=Michel in French - but the chef prefers to go by the French version), has high standards - and he has figured out how best to include the microwave to meet them. I'm sure there are plenty of people who know what they're doing with the microwave. Nevertheless, I think that the science comes first. Radiation is different from convection - period, end of story. Knowing that is the first step to knowing what you're doing with a Microwave.

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                                                                                            1. re: applehome
                                                                                              Soop RE: applehome May 28, 2009 09:01 AM

                                                                                              Another anology: Painting and printing. Ostensibly the same result, different technique. Bottom line: Distinctions are important.

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                                                                                              1. re: applehome
                                                                                                alanbarnes RE: applehome May 28, 2009 09:30 AM

                                                                                                Yes, and night is different than day - period. But that doesn't mean that food is necessarily different when it's cooked after sunset.

                                                                                                First off, your distinction between radiation and convection is bogus. How do you think a broiler or an infrared grill cook things? Radiation. But a cook does not need to master the laws of thermodynamics before using the broiler. Rather, s/he just needs to understand what results a broiler will produce. Same with a microwave.

                                                                                                Second, while everybody agrees that microwaving can produce different results than other cooking methods, it's a logical fallacy to then assume that all foods turn out different when they're microwaved. When cooking a steak, oven-roasting, pan-frying, and microwaving will give you dramatically different results. But a cup of boiling water is a cup of boiling water whether it's been heated on the stove, in the oven, or in the microwave.

                                                                                                A microwave is a tool, and a versatile one at that. Yes, it can be misused to abominable effect. But your broad disparagement of microwave cookery is akin to a claim that there's something wrong with ovens because they can be used to cook TV Dinners.

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                                                                                                1. re: alanbarnes
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                                                                                                  lcool RE: alanbarnes May 28, 2009 09:34 AM

                                                                                                  Well said,bravo

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                                                                                                  1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                                    paulj RE: alanbarnes May 28, 2009 11:22 AM

                                                                                                    The key difference between radiation (as from a heat lamp or broiler) and the microwave is the wavelength of the electromagnetic radiation. One uses infrared radiation, shorter wave lengths, which does not penetrate very far into food, exciting just the surface molecules. Microwaves are longer, and penetrate further into food, exciting water and fat molecules to about a depth of one inch.

                                                                                                    I'm not particularly happy with the term 'convection cooking'. Convection refers to the way the fluid (air or water) moves heat from the heat source (pan bottom, oven heating element), to the food. In natural convection hot fluid is lighter and hence rises. In forced convection as fan blows the air past the heating element, and into the oven cavity.

                                                                                                    Heat is transfered from the fluid to the food by conduction. That is, hot (excited) air (or water) molecules share their energy with molecules in the food. Hot surface molecules in turn pass their heat energy to ones further in the food. Only if the food is porous can we say that heat is transfer into the food via convection.

                                                                                                    With all these methods, heat passes further into the food by means of conduction - regardless of whether the surface is heated by radiation or by contact with a hot fluid, or whether radiation heats subsurface molecules. Frying uses fat as the medium to transfer heat from the pan to the surface of the food.

                                                                                                    There are several key differences in the microwave. Because it is the water in the subsurface that gets heated, the surface does not get hotter than the boiling point of water, and hence does not brown, or crisp. The exception is something that is already high in fat, such as bacon. Fat molecules, in the absence of water, can get hotter. Also the interior heats faster (if the food isn't too thick), so the surface is exposed to heat for less time. With less cooking time, less steam is generated, and less moisture is lost. Hence microwaved potatoes will not be as dry.

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                                                                                                    1. re: paulj
                                                                                                      alanbarnes RE: paulj May 28, 2009 12:15 PM

                                                                                                      Your description of the physics involved is spot on. The distinction between the convective heating of the air in the oven and the conductive cooking from the outside of the potato particularly salient.

                                                                                                      And you're absolutely right that different kinds of radiation produce different results. A halogen cooker, a ceramic infrared burner, and a microwave oven each produce unique results. By the same token, though, different oven temperatures produce different results as well.

                                                                                                      Whether something is cooked using radiation, convection, or conduction is just one factor in how the final product will turn out. And it's a pretty minor factor at that. Even applehome would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between a potato baked in a convection oven and one cooked with the radiation from a halogen cooker.

                                                                                                      The real question is the maximum temperature that various parts of the food reach, how quickly they reach those temperatures, and how long they stay there. Over 212F? If there's water present, you're going to have steam. Under 350F? No Maillard reactions for you. It doesn't matter if you use microwaves, charcoal fires, or magic spells - when food reaches a certain temperature, it will undergo specific and predictable changes.

                                                                                                      Those who understand how each tool in the kitchen will affect the food it's cooking can make better judgments about which method will produce the desired results with a given dish. But even if you've got no clue about the physics involved, trial and error, a little patience, and a keen palate can give you the same information.

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                                                                                                  2. re: applehome
                                                                                                    jfood RE: applehome May 28, 2009 10:31 AM

                                                                                                    And cooking in a pot is different from cooking in a pan is different from cooking in an oven is different from cooking on the grillis different from cooking in a smoker is different from broiling is different from steaming is different from not cooking at all - double period.

                                                                                                    And knowing that radiation and convection are different are nice to haves, not must haves in learning to cook with an MV versus an oven. Little jfood learned how to use both waaaaaaaay before high school science and jfood did not sit her down and say, "now honey, let's discuss radiation versus convestion before you can learn how to cook popcorn on the stove versus in the MV."

                                                                                                    And after Kramer learned how to use the disposal in the shower, using an MV was a piece of cake.

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                                                                                                    1. re: jfood
                                                                                                      applehome RE: jfood May 28, 2009 03:01 PM

                                                                                                      Yeah - but I'm wiling to bet that she could immediately tell the difference between microwave popcorn and pan-popped popcorn - who wouldn't?

                                                                                                      So we all seem to agree that some things are better done outside of the microwave - including baked potato with a nice crunchy, brown skin. So, apparently, it's a matter of standards. If you're willing to accept popcorn that can't hold salt, or baked potato that has inedible skin, then the microwave is certainly for you. Not a universal negative, to be sure.

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                                                                                                      1. re: applehome
                                                                                                        thew RE: applehome May 28, 2009 03:06 PM

                                                                                                        this whole potato argument is a red herring.

                                                                                                        no a MW cannot make a baked potato that tastes like it was cooked in the oven. That does not mean it cannot cook a potato well, a potato that tastes good, or a potato suitable to fry or mash.

                                                                                                        If you try to sell me a car and i say that it cannot fly like a plane, it does not mean a car is useless for transportation. A MW is not a replacement for a stove. But it cooks many things well. including potatoes. but it can't fly.

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                                                                                                        1. re: thew
                                                                                                          applehome RE: thew May 28, 2009 05:45 PM

                                                                                                          As long as it's schmaltzed.

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                                                                                                        2. re: applehome
                                                                                                          alanbarnes RE: applehome May 28, 2009 05:45 PM

                                                                                                          Just because you haven't been able to cook proper popcorn in the microwave doesn't mean it can't be done. While I'll concede that nobody can get the same results microwaving a potato as cooking it in a hot oven, that is definitely not the case with popcorn.

                                                                                                          It's not a matter of standards, it's a matter of knowledge. It's certainly your prerogative to refuse to learn how to cook in a microwave. But don't assume that your ignorance extends past the doorway to your kitchen.

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                                                                                  Miss Priss RE: corneygirl May 10, 2009 06:43 AM

                                                                                  There are only two things for which I really value the microwave: quickly reheating a mug of cold coffee or tea, and making popcorn without oil (using a microwave popcorn popper). Otherwise, as far as I'm concerned, it mainly takes up space. Anything else I do with it can be done just as well, or better, by some traditional method. You have the right idea!

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                                                                                  1. re: Miss Priss
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                                                                                    chipman RE: Miss Priss May 10, 2009 07:20 AM

                                                                                    you reheat coffee?

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                                                                                      Miss Priss RE: chipman May 10, 2009 07:52 AM

                                                                                      Yup. (But I assume your question was rhetorical.)

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                                                                                      1. re: Miss Priss
                                                                                        applehome RE: Miss Priss May 17, 2009 03:59 AM

                                                                                        I can't stand a MW reheated cup of coffee - the oils are bitter, almost as if they were rancid. Tea isn't so bad, there isn't as much oil. But if my coffee or tea is getting cold, I'm obviously not drinking it as quickly as I should!

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                                                                                        1. re: applehome
                                                                                          Soop RE: applehome May 18, 2009 05:06 AM

                                                                                          I agree.

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                                                                                      2. re: chipman
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                                                                                        lcool RE: chipman May 21, 2009 01:55 PM

                                                                                        we have to ,we cold brew at double strength

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                                                                                    2. corneygirl RE: corneygirl May 10, 2009 06:58 AM

                                                                                      Outside of the peeps, which can't be blown up any other way, I guess I just don't make any of those things enough to have a seperate piece of equipment. Especially such a big thing.

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                                                                                      1. paulj RE: corneygirl May 10, 2009 09:27 AM

                                                                                        Years ago I cooked a number of things in the micro. Barbara Kafka 's 1987 book is still regarded as one of the best on microwave cooking. I still use it occasionally, but not often.

                                                                                        Now the microwave is close to the dining table, and used mainly for warming leftovers. It is good for melting butter. I also have time down for warming flour tortillas and bread (without drying). It is also good for a quick defrost.

                                                                                        We also use it to warm a 'rice snake' - a sock filled with rice that serves as a heating pad.

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                                                                                        1. Sam Fujisaka RE: corneygirl May 10, 2009 09:37 AM

                                                                                          Best way to cook fish, artichokes. Good for rice using a MW rice pot. Seamless morning oatmeal for my daughter. I make a quick cook pasta sauce for the week in the MW. I make and freeze large batches of carrot soup, beans, chili, and lentils. These are heated in covered bowls along with rice or pasta in the MW for quick, good meals. The MW is perfect for a single baked or mashed potato. The MW is best for a cup or two of boiling water. I'll also put together dishes like a whisked egg, carrot soup, rice, and sliced roasted chicken; mix up and MW for a quick good meal for my daughter. I make a lot of yogurt all the time - in the MW.

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                                                                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                            Sam Fujisaka RE: Sam Fujisaka May 10, 2009 09:39 AM

                                                                                            Oh, and we don't have peeps down here - but you can blow up chicken gizzards! One will near blow the door off.

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                                                                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                              scuzzo RE: Sam Fujisaka May 10, 2009 07:46 PM

                                                                                              Ha! I've done that! But not on purpose. They really do blow up, don't they!

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                                                                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                applehome RE: Sam Fujisaka May 17, 2009 03:49 AM

                                                                                                Not fish! Best fish (other than grilled, which I take it is a separate thing altogether) is nabemono - using a donabe on the stove top or on a gas burner on the table. Whether for making yosenabe, or just to poach fish (just line with some hakusai, throw in slivers of ginger, garlic, whatever...), it comes out delicious. I make extra fish, keep it cold in the fridge - nothing like tasty cold salmon or black cod to eat with your bowl of rice THAT WAS NOT COOKED IN THE MICROWAVE. Tell me you get okoge from the microwave. I've been playing with the Zojirirushi settings and I'm getting pretty close! OTOH - reheating rice in the MW is a most worthy activity.

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                                                                                                1. re: applehome
                                                                                                  Sam Fujisaka RE: applehome May 17, 2009 04:44 AM

                                                                                                  I cook my rice in my 100 + year old rice pot from Japan and can control it to get a nice koge. But to cook any amount of fish often (like the night before last when I prepared just a bit of salmon for Dana Zsofia and me), its the MW all the way! Eighty seconds, perfect, no problems with inside vs outside cooking.

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                                                                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                    applehome RE: Sam Fujisaka May 17, 2009 04:47 AM

                                                                                                    Good morning!

                                                                                                    OK. But I'd bet that if you got one of those table-top gas burners and a donabe, you and Dana Zsofia would have a blast cooking while eating together - not just fish, of course - shabu shabu, whatever...

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                                                                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                      Passadumkeg RE: Sam Fujisaka May 20, 2009 02:59 PM

                                                                                                      Harrumph, Sam, I use my Grandmother's 132 year old samovar from Russia for Ruskkie Chai! (On rare occasion)
                                                                                                      Want to compare photos?
                                                                                                      We are here due to the Russo- Japanese war and my draft dodging grandfathers.

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                                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                                                                        Sam Fujisaka RE: Passadumkeg May 20, 2009 04:46 PM

                                                                                                        My rice pot makes me aware of how the Japanese Navy got to be so strong. The metal of the pot is actually unknown to modern humans and probably came from visitors from outer space.

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                                                                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                          Politeness RE: Sam Fujisaka May 20, 2009 05:36 PM

                                                                                                          Sam Fujisaka: "The metal of the pot is actually unknown to modern humans and probably came from visitors from outer space."

                                                                                                          Probably came from ore mined in the former Nambu clan area of northern Honshu. They still make world-class cookware there.

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                                                                                                          1. re: Politeness
                                                                                                            Sam Fujisaka RE: Politeness May 20, 2009 06:16 PM

                                                                                                            I had a Nambu pistol - great steel. But my pot ... not really a metal I've ever seen.

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                                                                                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                              Politeness RE: Sam Fujisaka May 20, 2009 06:22 PM

                                                                                                              Any chance you could post a picture of this Krypton pot?

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                                                                                                              1. re: Politeness
                                                                                                                Sam Fujisaka RE: Politeness May 20, 2009 07:43 PM

                                                                                                                I've donme that before. Let me look for the photo.

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                                                                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                                  Politeness RE: Sam Fujisaka May 25, 2009 06:38 AM

                                                                                                                  Sam: Is this the one? http://www.chow.com/uploads/6/4/1/246...

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                                                                                                                  1. re: Politeness
                                                                                                                    Sam Fujisaka RE: Politeness May 25, 2009 06:55 AM

                                                                                                                    That's the one!

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                                                                                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                                      Scargod RE: Sam Fujisaka May 25, 2009 07:25 AM

                                                                                                                      Sam, is it really light? Lighter like aluminum? Looks like aluminum, but that doesn't mean anything. Could be unobtanium...

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                                                                                                                      1. re: Scargod
                                                                                                                        Sam Fujisaka RE: Scargod May 25, 2009 07:35 AM

                                                                                                                        About the same as aluminum, but a very dark grey.

                                                                                                                        "Unobtanium..."!!!

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                                                                                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                                          Scargod RE: Sam Fujisaka May 25, 2009 09:40 AM

                                                                                                                          The Zero (WW2) used T-7178 aluminum, a top-secret aluminum alloy developed by the Japanese. 7xxx series alloys are known for good corrosion resistance. This is an aluminum-zinc based alloy and they are known to be darker in color.
                                                                                                                          Yours, if 100+ YO, cannot be exactly that. To quote Wikipedia, "Aluminium has been produced in commercial quantities for just over 100 years." It must be cast. Is it pitted?

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                                                                                                                          1. re: Scargod
                                                                                                                            Sam Fujisaka RE: Scargod May 25, 2009 11:19 AM

                                                                                                                            More like "textured" on the inside. I handled some of the different alloys from American planes downed over Laos. Also strange stuff.

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                                                                                                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                                              Scargod RE: Sam Fujisaka May 25, 2009 11:31 AM

                                                                                                                              Like a sand casting/plaster-clay casting? And no markings/stampings??

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                                                                                                                              1. re: Scargod
                                                                                                                                Sam Fujisaka RE: Scargod May 25, 2009 12:48 PM

                                                                                                                                No, it is still smooth on the outside.Looks like the lid an rim were were lathe-milled after casting. It looks like but doesn't seem to be aluminium.

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                                                                                                                2. re: Politeness
                                                                                                                  applehome RE: Politeness May 22, 2009 11:09 AM

                                                                                                                  Just click on Sam's name, at his chow page, click on photos (the line under the main line). You will see all of Sam's uploaded images - the rice pot is the first one. Click on photo to zoom. Works for all of us. Remember, the web is forever...

                                                                                                                  Hey - they took out Passa's history lesson - and I had a legit comment about piroshki in Tokyo in there, which tied it all into food! Harrumph, indeed!

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                                                                                                                  1. re: applehome
                                                                                                                    bkhuna RE: applehome May 22, 2009 08:37 PM

                                                                                                                    They removed a reply to you about my years in Yokosuka.

                                                                                                                    Drop me a line sometime, I'd love to talk about Japan in earlier times.
                                                                                                                    bkhuna at gmail.com

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                                                                                                  2. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                    Sam Fujisaka RE: Sam Fujisaka May 20, 2009 04:44 PM

                                                                                                    Where I said above, "I make and freeze large batches of carrot soup, beans, chili, and lentils." I meant that I cook those conventionally but use the MW to combine pre-prepped foods for quick dinners.

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                                                                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                      Passadumkeg RE: Sam Fujisaka May 20, 2009 05:26 PM

                                                                                                      I just heated our black lentil lamb curry in the mike for supper.

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                                                                                                    duck833 RE: corneygirl May 10, 2009 09:45 AM

                                                                                                    I use it to steam vegi's, throw in a zip lock with a little water.

                                                                                                    Popcorn. Frozen quick Costco food. Quick food reheat.

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                                                                                                    1. flourgirl RE: corneygirl May 10, 2009 11:47 AM

                                                                                                      The main things I use my microwave for is reheating leftovers and popping popcorn (not "microwave popcorn" just plain old popcorn in a brown paper bag.) I could certainly live without it if I had to, but we use ours on an almost daily basis so I keep one.

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                                                                                                        toastnjam RE: flourgirl May 10, 2009 10:05 PM

                                                                                                        flourgirl - how do you make popcorn in a paper bag? I usually buy the microwave popcorn but I hate it because it stinks the house out.

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                                                                                                        1. re: toastnjam
                                                                                                          alanbarnes RE: toastnjam May 10, 2009 10:32 PM

                                                                                                          Get a paper bag. Put some popcorn in it. Staple it closed. Toss it in the microwave and run the thing on high until the pops get further apart.

                                                                                                          There is an improvement on this system, though:
                                                                                                          http://www.amazon.com/Presto-04830-Po...

                                                                                                          It has a little doohickey in the bottom that overheats in the microwave, so the unpopped kernels (which fall to the bottom) get exposed to more heat and tend to blow up before the popped kernels burn. Not necessary, but pretty cool.

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                                                                                                          1. re: alanbarnes
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                                                                                                            ktb615 RE: alanbarnes May 11, 2009 11:45 AM

                                                                                                            Staples in the microwave? How does that work out?

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                                                                                                            1. re: ktb615
                                                                                                              rworange RE: ktb615 May 11, 2009 11:56 AM

                                                                                                              Aside from the metal issue, if you close up the paper bag too tightly, It can burst. I just fold over the top

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                                                                                                              1. re: ktb615
                                                                                                                alanbarnes RE: ktb615 May 11, 2009 12:09 PM

                                                                                                                Works out fine. I tried the method after seeing it recommended on Good Eats. (If Alton Brown says it's okay, it must be okay, right?) I guess one or two staples don't contain enough metal to cause any problems.

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                                                                                                                1. re: alanbarnes
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                                                                                                                  toastnjam RE: alanbarnes May 14, 2009 09:57 PM

                                                                                                                  I have a friend who makes porridge in the microwave and leaves a fork in the bowl. No issues at all, although she swears that it must be a fork and not a spoon. I've watched her do it and never seen the metal arc or spark. I'd like to know the science behind that!

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                                                                                                        2. alanbarnes RE: corneygirl May 10, 2009 12:10 PM

                                                                                                          Polenta!!!

                                                                                                          The microwave is great for steaming vegetables. It may not do a better job than a stovetop steamer, but it does just as well and heats the house up less - a big plus when it's 110 degrees outside.

                                                                                                          Ditto for boiling a little water for tea or coffee.

                                                                                                          It makes great popcorn in the Presto popper (with the little superheating microwave attractor doohickey in the bottom).

                                                                                                          Not only can you melt butter, you can melt chocolate without having to worry about burning it.

                                                                                                          Steamed fish is a snap, and only takes a minute or so.

                                                                                                          But polenta - that was a revelation. Stir together a cup of cornmeal and four cups of water with a pinch of salt, nuke covered for six minutes, stir, nuke for six more minutes, stir, and let stand. Perfect polenta every time, with no need to stand over it or worry about it sticking and burning.

                                                                                                          I think I'd give up my regular oven before my microwave. (If the microwave didn't double as a convection oven I might rethink this, but it does, so I don't have to.)

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                                                                                                          1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                                            rworange RE: alanbarnes May 11, 2009 12:36 AM

                                                                                                            >>> I think I'd give up my regular oven before my microwave

                                                                                                            Yeah. I guess the thing is I hate to cook, so when I do I freeze a lot. So pretty much it is great for freezer to table without any hassle.

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                                                                                                          2. m
                                                                                                            mojoeater RE: corneygirl May 10, 2009 12:21 PM

                                                                                                            We would have a hard time eating without our microwave. We cook on weekends and reheat leftovers throughout the week. Reheating lasagna or a portion of casserole in the oven results in crispy outer layers and cold insides. And how else do you reheat soups or chilis? The microwave gets everything nice and hot!

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                                                                                                            1. alwayscooking RE: corneygirl May 10, 2009 01:06 PM

                                                                                                              It's such a large box for making such few things but I wouldn't give it up:

                                                                                                              - brown bag popcorn (or in a dish)
                                                                                                              - melting butter and chocolate
                                                                                                              - defrosting soups
                                                                                                              - reheating SOME foods
                                                                                                              - heating milk for coffee
                                                                                                              - heating syrup
                                                                                                              - making brown sugar soft
                                                                                                              - the occational defrost
                                                                                                              - and foremost for steaming vegetables

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                                                                                                                adamshoe RE: corneygirl May 10, 2009 01:56 PM

                                                                                                                Steamers!! Either clams or mussels come out great in the MW.
                                                                                                                Risotto!! Three stirs vs. three thousand.
                                                                                                                Melting chocolate or butter
                                                                                                                Warming milk for breadmaking.
                                                                                                                Mine gets used several times a day. adam

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                                                                                                                1. re: adamshoe
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                                                                                                                  Cinnamon RE: adamshoe May 11, 2009 09:13 PM

                                                                                                                  Clams? After the earlier posts on this thread, I was thinking this had to be the chief reason for UFO sightings.

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                                                                                                                  1. re: Cinnamon
                                                                                                                    rworange RE: Cinnamon May 12, 2009 09:49 AM

                                                                                                                    Yeah, I never considered clams and I rarely make them at home because I hate steaming them. But there are recipes out there for microwave muscles and clams. Can't wait to try it now
                                                                                                                    http://homecooking.about.com/od/seafo...

                                                                                                                    This guy says "Very simple, but I don't think I have ever had better tasting clams in my life. The microwave is probably the best clam cooking device around" Never considered freezing live clams in-shell before either.
                                                                                                                    http://www.beaufortusa.com/recipes4.htm

                                                                                                                    That started me thinking about other shelffish. Here's to SF Chronicle articles which say "In the first tasting, the microwave version won, hands down. The crabmeat, like that of the microwaved lobster, had a silky finish and tasted intensely of crab -- no watered-down flavor here."
                                                                                                                    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...
                                                                                                                    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

                                                                                                                    Corn, lobster, clams ... microwave clambake

                                                                                                                    On the risotto comment, an ancient NY Times article by Barbara Kafka. Funny to look at the comments in the early days of nuking
                                                                                                                    http://www.nytimes.com/1993/05/12/gar...

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                                                                                                                    1. re: rworange
                                                                                                                      KaimukiMan RE: rworange May 13, 2009 11:42 AM

                                                                                                                      93 is hardly the 'early days' of nuking, mom finally decided she wanted one in the mid 70's, and they were quite popular by then.

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                                                                                                                      1. re: KaimukiMan
                                                                                                                        David A. Goldfarb RE: KaimukiMan May 13, 2009 11:56 AM

                                                                                                                        The Amana Radarage was introduced in 1967. The first microwave ovens for commercial use were made as early as the late 1940s.

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                                                                                                                2. Soop RE: corneygirl May 11, 2009 03:21 AM

                                                                                                                  We have a microwave and it's broken. I don't miss it day to day, but there comes a time when theres a job that really needs it, and then it's sorely missed.

                                                                                                                  Last time was cooking xmas pudding. 3 minutes in the microwave, or a full hour on the hob :'(

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                                                                                                                    Maximilien RE: corneygirl May 11, 2009 04:02 AM

                                                                                                                    I never owned an MW; used to have one at home before I moved out (long time ago), and I only miss it to re-heat left-over or making pop-corn.

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                                                                                                                    1. al b. darned RE: corneygirl May 11, 2009 06:49 AM

                                                                                                                      IMO, anyone who says something like it's "useless for cooking" hasn't explored all the ways it can be used successfully or taken the time to learn their's.

                                                                                                                      No, it won't do everything, but neither will the crock pot, the pressure cooker or the toaster oven. And yes, there is a small learning curve when you get a new one to know how yours cooks. (Just as regular ovens vary, so do nukers.)

                                                                                                                      Could I live without mine? Of course, but I wouldn't want to. The nuker is an essential part of my kitchen. Like others here I use it for fish, warming leftovers, heating frozen home made chill or soup, melting chocolate, softening or melting nutter, warming tortillas, etc.

                                                                                                                      Most veggies cook in about a minute and a half with no added water. DW was not much of a veggie eater when we got married, but now even asks for seconds at times.

                                                                                                                      Warming milk for homemade yogurt is faster and it's easier to control the temperature in the MW.

                                                                                                                      I cube about 2 lbs of potatoes, toss with garlic and black pepper, nuke for 8 min. (No added water.) Remove from mw, throw in some butter and half and half-and-half and mash. Fresh mashed potatoes in less than 10 min.

                                                                                                                      Sandwiches on my Griddler come out better if I warm the roast beef or whatever in the MW for 30 sec before putting it in the sandwich.

                                                                                                                      Even grilled hot dogs turn out better. I nuke two dogs for about 45 sec before putting them in the very hot grill pan. That way the outside gets properly crisped and brown. Cold hot dogs would burn on the outside before the inside is even warm.

                                                                                                                      If you stuff your turkey, they now recommend you warm up the stuffing in the MW before putting it in the bird to ensure it is past the "danger zone."

                                                                                                                      There are lots of things you can "par cook" in the MW before finishing in the oven or on the stove top.

                                                                                                                      The list goes on and on. Time saving, energy saving, and it can actually turn out good food.

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                                                                                                                      1. re: al b. darned
                                                                                                                        Soop RE: al b. darned May 11, 2009 07:00 AM

                                                                                                                        Tell you what, I don't even like freezing things if I can avoid it. Not at the moment anyway.

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                                                                                                                        1. re: al b. darned
                                                                                                                          rworange RE: al b. darned May 11, 2009 08:43 AM

                                                                                                                          >>> IMO, anyone who says something like it's "useless for cooking" hasn't explored all the ways it can be used successfully or taken the time to learn their's.

                                                                                                                          Exactly.

                                                                                                                          I'm almost thinking it is an affectation to thumbs down a microwave. If more serious cooks played with it and opened up further possibilites, I'll bet some amazing things would be found. But there the whole snob thing about microwaves.

                                                                                                                          I almost blame Kaufmann's book. That was one boring book. No one else took up the mantle to explore the microwave further. Not that it wasn't useful for its time, but some of the methods in there are just not good and I wouldn't nuke that way.

                                                                                                                          One thing about them ... they hold the essence of what you are dealing with. There's no water to leach out flavor, no necessary butter or oil to mask the thing food being prepared.

                                                                                                                          There are some things it doesn't do well that I can see such as meat like a chicken breasts, chops or a steak, but there are things it excels at.

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                                                                                                                          1. re: rworange
                                                                                                                            Soop RE: rworange May 11, 2009 09:02 AM

                                                                                                                            I think the blame is probably due to the fact that
                                                                                                                            a) They were promoted as a must-have 20th century wonder-device that could replace a regular oven. Then people get them, and use them in the same way they would use a gas oven and it just don't work! Baked potatoes, if not finished in an oven are HORRIBLE.
                                                                                                                            b) "Microwave" meals. They're processed nastiness, and they're aimed at convinience above taste. Pop it in, press a button and come back in 5.

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                                                                                                                          jzerocsk RE: corneygirl May 11, 2009 07:50 AM

                                                                                                                          Can't beat it for baked potatoes....do them most of the way in the microwave then finish them in the oven to crisp the skin.

                                                                                                                          I could probably do without a microwave in the same way I could do without a stand mixer...which is to say when I need it, I'm really glad I have it :-)

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                                                                                                                          1. David A. Goldfarb RE: corneygirl May 11, 2009 08:55 AM

                                                                                                                            I could live without it.

                                                                                                                            I used to steam vegetables in the microwave, and it was really easy, but they really taste better steamed in a pot for reasons I don't completely understand. I used to use it for rewarming coffee, but in recent years I've taken to making coffee almost exclusively with the espresso machine, so I don't have leftover coffee anymore. It's handy for melting butter, but that's easy enough to do on the stovetop. It is handy for quick defrosting, so I keep it for that. I have a small microwave that's also a toaster, and I have the ice cream maker stacked on top of it, so they both fit in the same footprint.

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                                                                                                                            1. re: David A. Goldfarb
                                                                                                                              alwayscooking RE: David A. Goldfarb May 11, 2009 09:03 AM

                                                                                                                              Vegetables are easily overcooked in a microwave - the dead giveaway is the desiccant shrivel sometimes seen in less than great restaurants.

                                                                                                                              As for the taste, vegetables retain some the volatile chemicals that would normally be released during steaming giving them a strong and slightly different flavor.

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                                                                                                                              1. re: alwayscooking
                                                                                                                                David A. Goldfarb RE: alwayscooking May 11, 2009 09:06 AM

                                                                                                                                Overcooking was never the problem when I was doing vegetables in the microwave, but I think there's something about normal cooking from the outside in that just produces a better texture or enhances the flavor in some way when steaming in a pot rather than in the microwave.

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                                                                                                                                1. re: David A. Goldfarb
                                                                                                                                  rworange RE: David A. Goldfarb May 11, 2009 10:24 AM

                                                                                                                                  If you are using Kauffman's technique of adding water to nuke veggies, that could be the problem. Water leaches out the flavor and is unnecessary. Only wash and don't dry before nuking.

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                                                                                                                                  1. re: rworange
                                                                                                                                    David A. Goldfarb RE: rworange May 11, 2009 10:26 AM

                                                                                                                                    Yes, that's what I've done (rinse and nuke), and even though, in principle, it seems like it should work better than steaming, I don't find that it does.

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                                                                                                                                    1. re: David A. Goldfarb
                                                                                                                                      Sam Fujisaka RE: David A. Goldfarb May 11, 2009 12:01 PM

                                                                                                                                      I quickly blanch asparagus; but for artichokes, the MW is the only way to go.

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                                                                                                                            2. bkhuna RE: corneygirl May 11, 2009 05:22 PM

                                                                                                                              I'd get rid of mine too, but then where would I store bread, tortillas and sacks of potatoes?

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                                                                                                                              1. re: bkhuna
                                                                                                                                corneygirl RE: bkhuna May 11, 2009 05:24 PM

                                                                                                                                There is an out of sight out of mind problem at my house :)

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                                                                                                                                1. re: bkhuna
                                                                                                                                  al b. darned RE: bkhuna May 11, 2009 10:53 PM

                                                                                                                                  In the oven like I do. Just kidding...there's no room in the oven with all the dirty dishes and pots. : > )

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                                                                                                                                  1. re: al b. darned
                                                                                                                                    rworange RE: al b. darned May 12, 2009 10:16 AM

                                                                                                                                    My type of cooking.

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                                                                                                                                  dmd_kc RE: corneygirl May 11, 2009 09:45 PM

                                                                                                                                  The microwave is simply a steamer that works from the inside out. As many others have pointed out below, it has no peer for the right jobs. Things that have high liquid content that you want to cook or heat without dry heat are what it does best. Let me add to these lists lobster, crab and other crustaceans in the shell. It cooks or reheats them from the inside out, far more gently than boiling or steaming, with the added benefit of never waterlogging them.

                                                                                                                                  Polenta, risotto, farro, many other cereals best steamed instead of simmered -- you don't scorch them, you barely have to stir, and the oven doesn't heat up your house.

                                                                                                                                  Now, the kind of abuse many others put it up to, like reheating pizza or, good lord, making brownies? Well, that's just wrong.

                                                                                                                                  But don't knock it in a blanket manner. Every tool has its purpose, and I couldn't live without my microwave.

                                                                                                                                  A tip: In my last house, I had it mounted below the countertop, and I'll never have it on top or, worse, above the stove again. I don't like the idea of wasting counter space, and I shudder at the idea of taking 212-degree food out of a box at face height.

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                                                                                                                                  1. re: dmd_kc
                                                                                                                                    Scargod RE: dmd_kc May 20, 2009 07:20 PM

                                                                                                                                    This is exactly what I was going to say. It is a tool and has its place. There is no do-all cooking appliance or perfect fire sticks.
                                                                                                                                    I have even learned how to cook an egg in a microwave and not have it explode. Warming coffee...cooking veggies. There are so many things they do well, as people have mentioned. Learning to use the power level is very important. It CAN be your friend...
                                                                                                                                    I think there should be a thread about what you can explode or have exploded in a microwave.
                                                                                                                                    Lots of chicken parts like to explode. Chicken gizzards, hearts, liver, eggs and beans together! Fourth of July!

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                                                                                                                                    emerilcantcook RE: corneygirl May 11, 2009 09:45 PM

                                                                                                                                    I got rid of my micro three years ago on a health craze after reading some possibly bogus research linking it to cancers. Never missed it once, until I moved to an apartment that came with one. I don't want it, but I can't get rid of it. It takes up so much space (almost one full cabinet space, where I could have had a "drawer of inappropriate starches" instead), and it seems like the only function I use it is the kitchen timer. I also use it to melt chocolate once in a blue moon; but I'd rather slave in front of some bain marie than have that giant fugly thing in my kitchen.

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                                                                                                                                    1. chilindrina RE: corneygirl May 12, 2009 05:47 AM

                                                                                                                                      I haven't had a microwave in four years. When, as a college student living abroad, "microwave" was not exactly a part of my budget, I realized that I actually didn't miss it. Never looked back. I really never liked to heat up coffee or water for tea in the microwave-- always tasted weird to me, for some reason. For other things, like defrosting, it's a matter of remembering to pull things out of the freezer in advance, and for other things, like heating up leftovers, it's just one more pan to clean. But I feel like in my kitchen at least, there's always one more pan to clean, anyway. I'm sure if I were a busier person this would be more important to me...

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                                                                                                                                      1. Passadumkeg RE: corneygirl May 20, 2009 03:03 PM

                                                                                                                                        In the early 70's we refused to own a mico. We felt sooo cool and superior cooking on our wood cook stove at our cabin in the mountains in New Mexico. Now, 5 kids and 35 years later, defrost bread, bagels, meats; cook pop corn, veggies and the occasional hot doggie , if rushed for time.

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                                                                                                                                        1. Chuckles the Clone RE: corneygirl May 20, 2009 09:15 PM

                                                                                                                                          A complete accounting of the entire use of my huge and
                                                                                                                                          powerful microwave appliance over the past two years:

                                                                                                                                          Defrosting steas: Freezer -> 1.5 min in uwave -> Grill.

                                                                                                                                          Hot chocolate.

                                                                                                                                          Popcorn (paper bag method, not gdawful pre-pack horror).

                                                                                                                                          Melting chocolate for whatever.

                                                                                                                                          Hard-frozen icecream can be made scoopable with 15 seconds of nucular activity.

                                                                                                                                          Oatmeal

                                                                                                                                          Reheating everything that wants to be reheated.

                                                                                                                                          Softening stale-ish bread.

                                                                                                                                          Fresh bread with lots of butter for 10 seconds.

                                                                                                                                          It has a timer, so 90% of the time I'm just using it as a timer.

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                                                                                                                                          1. Sam Fujisaka RE: corneygirl May 21, 2009 08:32 AM

                                                                                                                                            I'm puzzled. Why are many people posting here proud that they basically don't know how to use a microwave? The MW is a kitchen tool / appliance that makes a lot of sense if one knows how to use it, but would be a space waster if one doesn't.

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                                                                                                                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                                                              rworange RE: Sam Fujisaka May 21, 2009 09:11 AM

                                                                                                                                              Amen

                                                                                                                                              It's the attitude that "Real cooks don't use microwaves" when in fact it is "Real cooks know HOW to use microwaves"

                                                                                                                                              I hope at least the OP has some second thoughts about the usefulness I know I learned a lot and I love my microwave. I'm even considering a portable microwae ... hey, there's an idea for people who don't want to take up counter space.
                                                                                                                                              http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-9...

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                                                                                                                                              1. re: rworange
                                                                                                                                                corneygirl RE: rworange May 22, 2009 10:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                I don't think that real cooks don't use microwaves, I just found I don't miss mine. It has been interesting to find all of the things that people do with them that I didn't know about, but many of them are things that I just don't eat that often. I am, however no interested in a rice cooker. Just to restate... I wasn't trying to insult anyone, I was just curious what others thought. Enjoy yours!

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                                                                                                                                              2. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                                                                Chuckles the Clone RE: Sam Fujisaka May 21, 2009 10:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                I'm not sure I'm proud to not know how to use it. Just that I hardly have any actual use for it given what I cook. For every single thing on my list, the microwave is the best tool I have. And although the list is sortof short, it's long enough that I'd get another one when this one gives up.

                                                                                                                                                The "no nukes" posts here have been pretty useful -- they've goaded out a bunch of interesting replies. Corn on the cob! Never would have thought of that. Husks on or off?

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                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chuckles the Clone
                                                                                                                                                  f
                                                                                                                                                  fauchon RE: Chuckles the Clone May 21, 2009 10:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Husks on....corn stay hot much longer when nuked

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                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chuckles the Clone
                                                                                                                                                    Scargod RE: Chuckles the Clone May 22, 2009 04:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                    Either way, but I believe it has a different aroma, if not flavor, when the husks are left on.
                                                                                                                                                    Do not microwave corn on the cob without something around it! It needs to steam itself and you don't want it dried out. I use Saran wrap if I take it out of the husk. I sometimes season the corn before wrapping.

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                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Scargod
                                                                                                                                                      rworange RE: Scargod May 22, 2009 09:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                      I just microwave in the husk. If I add some seasoning I pull down the husk, add seasoning and then re-wrap.

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                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rworange
                                                                                                                                                        Scargod RE: rworange May 22, 2009 10:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                        Drat! Haven't tried that! What do you think about me thinking it tastes different (husk vs. no husk)?
                                                                                                                                                        I have some in the fridge. Time to 'speriment!

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                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Scargod
                                                                                                                                                        Passadumkeg RE: Scargod May 22, 2009 02:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                        Don't use Saran wrap or other plastics; it will turn into a bushite.

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                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Scargod
                                                                                                                                                          m
                                                                                                                                                          Miss Priss RE: Scargod May 22, 2009 02:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                          I've gotten good results in the microwave by removing the rough outermost layer of the husk, but leaving the rest of the husk on, and covering the corn with a paper towel (to help keep in the moisture). When the ears cool down a little, the husks and the silk come off very easily. However, thanks to Politeness, I'm now completely sold on the pressure-cooker method. Tried it again, this time with some not-so-fresh corn, and it turned out surprisingly well.

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                                                                                                                                                    2. Peg RE: corneygirl May 21, 2009 11:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                      I cook fish on the defrost setting - it takes a while (no quicker than any other cooking method) - but the result is silky just-cooked fish. I can think of no other way of achieving this texture.
                                                                                                                                                      Ditto scrambled eggs - cooked on a low low setting - simply divine.

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                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Peg
                                                                                                                                                        Passadumkeg RE: Peg May 21, 2009 05:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                        We do poached eggs.

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                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                                                                                                                          rworange RE: Passadumkeg May 21, 2009 07:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                          How?

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                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rworange
                                                                                                                                                            Scargod RE: rworange May 22, 2009 06:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                            Place egg(s) in a small, but flat bowl with a couple of tablespoons of water. Prick the yolk(s) with a toothpick, or, if you are more adventurous and/or careful, you can not puncture them. Season and add butter, if you like. Cover with plastic wrap. Cook on about half power or less (approximately 2 minutes) and let it sit so the hot water cooks it for another minute or so. YMMV! I find this is faster than cooking them on the stove and you can eat them in the dish you cook them in. I have been able to do this (pricked and unpricked), and had runny middles! If you don't disturb the eggs, once pricked, the yolk stays put.
                                                                                                                                                            I have had great success doing this.

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                                                                                                                                                        lcool RE: corneygirl May 21, 2009 02:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                        mine is very small,however peerless for the short list of tasks we expect of it
                                                                                                                                                        various reheats,blanches and steaming with minimal cleanup and TURNS OFF AT THE APPOINTED TIME I can put in milk and WALK AWAY

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                                                                                                                                                        1. jfood RE: corneygirl May 21, 2009 07:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                          jfood loves the MV.

                                                                                                                                                          - reheat coffee
                                                                                                                                                          - cook hot dogs
                                                                                                                                                          - reheat the food from the basement freezer in the bag sucker bags
                                                                                                                                                          -popcorn
                                                                                                                                                          - corn
                                                                                                                                                          - asparagus
                                                                                                                                                          - potatoes
                                                                                                                                                          - bacon
                                                                                                                                                          - water to the correct temperature fot the yeast
                                                                                                                                                          -chocolate for dipping strawberries
                                                                                                                                                          -rice pilaf
                                                                                                                                                          -oatmeal
                                                                                                                                                          -defrost bagels

                                                                                                                                                          Seems pretty versatile for certain items

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                                                                                                                                                          1. applehome RE: corneygirl May 22, 2009 10:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                            BTW, I've posted about this before, but for people who haven't seen these, they are the best thing in the world for nice, hot, steamy, soft tortillas - far better than any of the plastic or even ceramic solid containers. You can also use them as just warmers - take the tortillas off the comal and into the glove, no nuking. But nuking straight out of the package - 5 at a time for 40 seconds makes them perfect for a little butter, salt, and chopped up pickled gardineira - roll up and mmm... instant snack. I'm pretty much a corn tortilla guy, but they say it works as well with flour.

                                                                                                                                                            http://www.latortillaoven.com/

                                                                                                                                                            or at:

                                                                                                                                                            http://www.mexgrocer.com/brand-la-tor...

                                                                                                                                                            It's ALMOST worth having a nuker for. All in all, I think that there are just so many things that it's ALMOST worth having one for, that you end up having one. You don't have to have one, we all got along fine withoug it. But it's just nice to have.

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                                                                                                                                                            1. b
                                                                                                                                                              bnemes3343 RE: corneygirl May 22, 2009 10:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                              First, there is nothing 'nuclear' about a microwave (although I know we all use that term). I don'tthink I could live without my microwave. Not really for cooking (I do use it to melt chocolate - it's great for that), but just reheating leftovers. I don't miss the old days of trying to heat something up in a pot. So convenient in the MW.

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                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bnemes3343
                                                                                                                                                                Scargod RE: bnemes3343 May 22, 2009 11:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                                NO? Nothing nucular? I guess this means I can stop donning my lead suit? That was my only reason for using it as little as I did.... that and the food contamination.

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                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Scargod
                                                                                                                                                                  Politeness RE: Scargod May 22, 2009 02:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  Well, as long as you are not overly concerned about the ocular degeneration thing. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6206...

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                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Politeness
                                                                                                                                                                    Sam Fujisaka RE: Politeness May 22, 2009 02:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    Microwave radiation can cause damage. Two people in Finland went blind in one eye each - the one next to the ear they each used for their respective cellphones. Exposure to large amounts of microwave radiation - usually in industrial conditions - can be hazardous. Modern MW ovens leak very little to no radiation - not enough to be worried about.

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                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                                                                                      applehome RE: Sam Fujisaka May 22, 2009 04:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      I put up and maintained microwave and tropo shots for the USAF all over the world - the tubes used (klystrons and magnetrons) and the frequencies are pretty much the same as in nukers. We used to have a joke about not needing vasectomies - just go stand in front of a feed-horn for a few minutes. Nobody ever did that, but there was some real medical concern - us, and radar folks, used to have to get tested regularly.

                                                                                                                                                                      When I installed a microwave shot for my corporate client a few years ago, we used a 26th floor office, and shot out the window (which had to be replaced with unleaded glass). All the people working around were very concerned, until I took a broadband RF power meter with a localized antenna (which we used to detect hot spots/leakage from waveguides) and walked around the backlobe of the shot. There was more RF leaking out of their microwaves than around the back of the antenna. Nothing was of levels to be concerned about - a store bought microwave leakage detector registered nothing (that's the one we showed the folks). I'm just glad nobody decided to put their Thanksgiving turkey in front of the antenna.

                                                                                                                                                                      No - nothing's nuclear. But radiation is radiation. Talk about making beef safe by irradiating - wonderful idea, but what if eating yu kwe makes you sterile? (Silly, of course - there's no radiation left in the beef. But at this point, who cares! I'd eat the yu kwe!)

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                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: applehome
                                                                                                                                                                        Sam Fujisaka RE: applehome May 22, 2009 05:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        Indeed. Politeness' concern should be (correctly) for you techs, not for home oven users.

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                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                                                                                        Politeness RE: Sam Fujisaka May 22, 2009 05:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        The Canadian health standard for exposure to microwave radiation is 1mW/cm^2 averaged over one minute. The United States consumer product standard for leakage of microwave ovens sold for home use is 5mW/cm^2 at a distance of 2 inches from the oven surface. http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/consumer/micr...

                                                                                                                                                                        The United States government in 1976 formally protested (then) Soviet microwave irradiation of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow at levels below the leakage allowed from home microwave ovens.
                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.time.com/time/magazine/art...

                                                                                                                                                                        No suggestion is made here that there is a sinister conspiracy; but, personally, when the microwave is in operation, I move five or six feet away from it, and I NEVER put my eyes near the microwave while it is doing its thing.

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                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Politeness
                                                                                                                                                                          Sam Fujisaka RE: Politeness May 22, 2009 06:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          OK! I'll not be looking from close range at stuff in the MW any longer. You have a still user of a MW converted to not watching the food.

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                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                                                                                            paulj RE: Sam Fujisaka May 22, 2009 10:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            I recently saw a non-lethal weapons program on a cable channel. They demonstrated a truck mounted microwave 'crowd-control' device. They choose a wavelength that penetrated the skin just a short distance, enough to give a distinct sensation of heating, but not enough to be harmful. Home ovens produce waves that penetrate about an inch, but only within the oven cavity.

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                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                                                              Politeness RE: paulj May 23, 2009 05:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              pauli, you are focusing on the thermal effects of microwaves, the effects that the microwaves are designed for. It is the effects of leakage outside the oven cavity OTHER than heating -- particularly the effects on the the tissues inside the eyes -- that most concern me and the health authorities. At "nonthermal intensities" microwaves can act as a trigger and set off changes in the living tissues (e.g. Ca++ efflux). Some cataract-causing agents (alloxan and galactose) act synergistically with microwaves. Microwaves also accelerate formation of cataracts due to diabetes. The corneal endothelium can be damaged by microwaves alone or in combination with some drugs. Microwave degeneration of retinal nerve endings and a small increase in retinal permeability were also found in animals.

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                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Politeness
                                                                                                                                                                                Sam Fujisaka RE: Politeness May 23, 2009 05:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                Again, however, the studes are relevant to MW technicians like applehome who worked on industrial / military applications, not to home oven users.

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                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                                                                                                  Politeness RE: Sam Fujisaka May 23, 2009 05:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Not if the home oven users bring their eyeballs with them into the kitchen. It appears the United States standard for maximum allowable leakage from consumer microwave ovens is five times higher than the Canadian limit for industrial microwave exposure.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Politeness
                                                                                                                                                                                    Sam Fujisaka RE: Politeness May 23, 2009 06:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    I imagine that I wouldn't be staring into one of those early MWs that were the size of a dump truck, but modern ovens from Japan and Korea are manufactured to the same specs whether sold in trhe US or Canada - and leak essentially no radiation.

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                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: Politeness
                                                                                                                                                                        Scargod RE: Politeness May 23, 2009 06:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        Because "shit happens" and microwave ovens have a slight potential for some level of leakage, I do not watch the process through the window and I move away by at least three feet while I'm microwaving. Call me silly...

                                                                                                                                                                        When in business, I saw an Occupational Health and Safety Specialist regarding my exposure to isocyanates in urethanes. I learned the terms "avoidance" and "dilution". If you can't avoid it you reduce the exposure to a safe level. For me, it meant developing good ventilation systems or staying away from materials containing isocyanates.
                                                                                                                                                                        Common sense and staying informed can go a long way towards staying healthy. IMHO, many of the exposure and ingestion issues we worry about in the kitchen, pale in comparison to our diet. I was struck by this statement on the Harvard Medical site: https://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/up...
                                                                                                                                                                        "Healthy Eating: A guide to the new nutrition"
                                                                                                                                                                        "Forget your old ideas about healthy eating. Research done since the 1990s shows beyond all doubt that you can lower your risk for the most serious diseases of our time by following a healthy diet. Healthy eating, based on this new science, can ward off 25% of all cancers and, combined with exercising regularly and not smoking, can prevent possibly 90% of cases of type 2 diabetes."

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                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Scargod
                                                                                                                                                                          t
                                                                                                                                                                          topdawg RE: Scargod May 28, 2009 03:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          Microwave ovens are not a healthy method of heating food. We threw ours out a while ago and I'm proud that we valued intuitive common sense over convenience. In fact, cooking food conventionally destroys much of its nutritional value, I could only imagine the mess that a microwave makes of it - and then we ingest it into our bodies (imagine!)
                                                                                                                                                                          Friends, do yourself a favor and through your microwave out. I have no proof - I just know in my bones that it's bad.>

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                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: topdawg
                                                                                                                                                                            Soop RE: topdawg May 28, 2009 04:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            I don't really think that's good enough for most of us. That's as much use as the safety aticle posted by ... AlanBarnes? a few posts below. And he posted it sarcastically

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                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: topdawg
                                                                                                                                                                              thew RE: topdawg May 28, 2009 05:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              and people just knew in their bones that the sun goes around the earth, that tomatoes were poisonous, that blacks were inferior, and that if you didn't offer the gods a freshly killed still beating heart the universe would end. What you can imagine, and what you just know in your bones has little to do with the reality of the situation.

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                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: topdawg
                                                                                                                                                                                alanbarnes RE: topdawg May 28, 2009 09:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                You're not the only one who relies on your "intuitive common sense" and that knowledge "in your bones." Try reading "Instinctive Eating: The Lost Knowledge of Optimum Nutrition" by Zephyr (yeah, that's really his name). It's a book that has actually inspired the founding of communities of like-minded individuals.

                                                                                                                                                                                Of course, staph infections, anemia, and other health problems are rampant in those communities. But hey, they're following their instincts. That must be a good thing.

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                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Scargod
                                                                                                                                                                            Passadumkeg RE: Scargod May 22, 2009 02:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            Just wrap yourself in Saran and post photos!

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                                                                                                                                                                        2. stricken RE: corneygirl May 23, 2009 12:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          I haven't used a microwave since 2001. I can count the times that I've missed it on one hand. I have to devote a few hours per week to preparing meals ,but that's ok. I never did like or understand the concept of how they work.

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                                                                                                                                                                          1. Soop RE: corneygirl May 26, 2009 04:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            Well ours hasn't worked in ages, and so I moved it about a week ago. It's really nice to have that space. I wouldn't choose to get another, useful though they can be.

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                                                                                                                                                                            1. alanbarnes RE: corneygirl May 26, 2009 10:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              Betcha didn't know...

                                                                                                                                                                              "All most people know about the operation of a microwave is that after pushing a few buttons, food heats up quickly and easily. Yet just how the oven heats that food is a violent, destructive process. Electromagnetic energy bombards the food, creating intense molecular vibration due to the natural polarity of water molecules in the food. Those vibrations cause friction, which in turn generates heat and heats the food. At the same time, however, those very molecules responsible for heating the food are ripped apart -- a chemical change that can be dangerous. "

                                                                                                                                                                              http://safety.lovetoknow.com/Dangers_...

                                                                                                                                                                              If it's published on the internet, it must be true!

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                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                                                                                                                paulj RE: alanbarnes May 26, 2009 11:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                "Because microwaved food is chemically altered as it is heated" -

                                                                                                                                                                                Well, duh! I thought all food was chemically altered when heated. That's why cooked eggs are firm, not liquid, and cooked meat is no longer pink. You can produce chemical changes just by mixing food ingredients. Even your toaster produces chemical changes.

                                                                                                                                                                                Authors of sites like that couldn't tell the difference between a chemical reaction and physical one, even if it burned them.

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                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                                                                                                                  jfood RE: alanbarnes May 26, 2009 12:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  not falling for an Alanbarnes veribiage again.

                                                                                                                                                                                  That is one silly web site. Jfood loves the"Other Dangers."Burns, Poor Taste and Weight Gain." Good thing thermonuclear war lost in the last edit.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jfood
                                                                                                                                                                                    paulj RE: jfood May 26, 2009 12:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    I also love how they worry about 'they also lose many vital nutrients and minerals.' because the food looses water when heated.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                                                                      jfood RE: paulj May 26, 2009 12:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      yup, jfood take a two 100mg pill of hydrogen and one 100mg pill of oxygen immediately therafter to replenish the loss of those two nutrients.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jfood
                                                                                                                                                                                        Sam Fujisaka RE: jfood May 26, 2009 01:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        The atomic weights of hydrogen and of oxygen are not the same.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                                                                                                          paulj RE: Sam Fujisaka May 26, 2009 05:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          He should have used the Mexican unit of measure, the mole.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                                                                                                            jfood RE: Sam Fujisaka May 26, 2009 08:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            Jfood exhales the excess.

                                                                                                                                                                                            BTW - which weighs more, a ton of lead or a ton of feathers?

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                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jfood
                                                                                                                                                                                              Sam Fujisaka RE: jfood May 26, 2009 08:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              Which weighs more, an atom of hydrogen or an atom of oxygen?

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                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                                                                                                                jfood RE: Sam Fujisaka May 26, 2009 08:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                OK Jfood will bite from his HS Chemistry in 1972. Isn't Hydrogen number 1 on the Atomic weight table?

                                                                                                                                                                                                So jfood will say Oxygen weighs more...final answer.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jfood
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sam Fujisaka RE: jfood May 26, 2009 08:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  All I was saying (is give peace a chance) is that "two 100mg pill of hydrogen and one 100mg pill of oxygen" does not give you H2O because the elemental weights differ.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                                                                                                                    jfood RE: Sam Fujisaka May 27, 2009 05:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Jfood saw the tongue in cheek sammy. not to worry.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: jfood
                                                                                                                                                                                                Veggo RE: jfood May 26, 2009 08:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                A judge will give more weight to evidence implicating a scoundrel guilty of incorrect disposal of heavy metals like lead, and will show leniency to a chicken thief trying to feed his children. So in our judicial system, the answer is lead.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Passadumkeg RE: Veggo May 26, 2009 11:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Good 'un, but not if it's white corporate lead.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Kajikit RE: corneygirl May 27, 2009 05:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      Sorry... I don't cook much from scratch in the microwave but it's still an indespensible part of my kitchen. Especially since there are only two of us and I eat a lot of leftovers! The microwave is great for making a one-bowl cake or brownies. Melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave and then just mix everything else into it.
                                                                                                                                                                                      I love microwaved corn on the cob... and potatoes and sweet potatoes nuke really well as long as they're whole with the skins on. I can make potato 'skins' in ten minutes with the microwave - nuke the potato, then slice it and put it on a plate and top, then put it under the broiler for just long enough to melt the cheese (or if you're really in a hurry, back into the microwave!)
                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't make oatmeal in the microwave - the milk always boils over and makes a mess... but it's great for cooking frozen vegetables a serving at a time.
                                                                                                                                                                                      And of course there's always microwaved popcorn, thawing frozen meat and bread, reheating leftover dinners etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
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                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Kajikit
                                                                                                                                                                                        Scargod RE: Kajikit May 27, 2009 05:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        There are many things, like oatmeal, where the power level settings are indispensable! I find cooking cereals requires occasional stirring, just like on a stovetop.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Scargod
                                                                                                                                                                                          alkapal RE: Scargod May 27, 2009 06:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          i like the control over the cooking level, like with my microwave garlicky tomatoes: http://www.chow.com/recipes/13591

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                                                                                                                                                                                      2. thew RE: corneygirl May 27, 2009 09:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        it is great for anything you would steam or poach. I poach chicken thighs in the MW. great for fish. great for veggies of all sorts. sometimes i cook potatoes for mashed potatoes in there. bacon works great. it is far from "useless for cooking food"

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                                                                                                                                                                                        1. alkapal RE: corneygirl May 27, 2009 12:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          i must tell you all that the three ears of fresh corn i nuked this afternoon were amazingly juicy and sweet! (covered with damp paper towel, 2 minutes, turn, 2 minutes).

                                                                                                                                                                                          i credit fresh, fresh florida white corn from our local grocer. i put the kernels of one cob into my crab sauce with fettuccine this afternoon. i gnawed on the other cob, and the third bunch of kernels is in my crabcakes for tomorrow.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                            bkhuna RE: alkapal May 27, 2009 06:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            It's great that we're back in corn season down here. This weekend we're doing carne asada for a crowd and I'll be serving grilled corn with mayonnaise, cotija cheese and chili powder. Another variation omits the mayonnaise and uses chili powder, salt and lime juice.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bkhuna
                                                                                                                                                                                              alkapal RE: bkhuna May 28, 2009 03:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                              mayonnaise, cotija cheese and chili powder

                                                                                                                                                                                              bkhuna, that sounds good (i think). i've never had cotija cheese -- isn't it a mexican white cheese? sort of crumbly? i guess the mayo holds it on the cob?

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                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                bkhuna RE: alkapal May 28, 2009 05:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                Cotija is a very crumbly, salty, white cheese. You may find it if you have an area where there is a population of Mexicans. In our area, where there are orange and grapefruit groves, it's fairly easy to find. There's a little town nearby that is predominately Mexican grove workers. Every year they have a big festival where they sell traditional foods and the corn is a big draw.

                                                                                                                                                                                                If you can't find cotija, squeeze some fresh lime over grilled corn and then sprinkle with chili powder and salt. Very, very yummy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                When I lived in Japan, I fell in love with grilled corn that is basted in soy sauce while it's cooking. It too is delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm happy about fresh corn season.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: bkhuna
                                                                                                                                                                                                  alkapal RE: bkhuna May 28, 2009 06:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  in northern virginia, we have mexicans, salvadorans, bolivians, hondurans, in great numbers. there are latin markets all over -- and the closest shoppers food warehouse stores carry huge selections of latin foods.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  are you in central florida, then, bkhuna? iirc....

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                    bkhuna RE: alkapal May 28, 2009 09:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Merritt Island.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Passadumkeg RE: corneygirl May 27, 2009 03:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            "Parboil" (Please don't skewer me on the verbage like the use of "bake") broccoli and cauliflower before stir frying. After exposure to Agent Orange in Nam and working underground in a uranium mine for 3 years, I have a hard time taking radiation leakage or anything else, for that matter, seriously.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Simplify, simplify, simplify.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Henry David Dumkeg

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                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                                                                                                                                                              Veggo RE: Passadumkeg May 27, 2009 04:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              I Thoreauly agree.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                                                                                                                Passadumkeg RE: Veggo May 27, 2009 04:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh yes, and exposure to mercury as a child. :}

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                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sam Fujisaka RE: Passadumkeg May 27, 2009 04:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Well now that explains a lot ...

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Passadumkeg RE: Sam Fujisaka May 27, 2009 04:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    After what I've observed of sanity and normality, gimme more merc.!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Passadumkeg
                                                                                                                                                                                                    alwayscooking RE: Passadumkeg May 27, 2009 04:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    And as a child, I personally loved playing with the x-ray machine at the Buster Brown shoe store. How that was meant to fit shoes is beyond me - and I still have all 10 toes (I think).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alwayscooking
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sam Fujisaka RE: alwayscooking May 27, 2009 05:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I had the feeling that we had met before!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Passadumkeg
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Veggo RE: Passadumkeg May 27, 2009 04:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'll never know if my youthful stash of quicksilver permanently fried my eggs, but most of my wardrobe is Hermes....

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Passadumkeg RE: Veggo May 27, 2009 05:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I had a whole liter. I quick silvered 4 kids. My wardrobe is stylish hand-me-downs from dad, bro and my kids.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        I wonder what Bob Dylan would post about microwaves?
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Nuking veggies? "Gimme a string bean, shot gun fired and away I ran."
                                                                                                                                                                                                        About "baked potatoes", "Ask me why I'm drunk all the time? Eases the pain and levels my mind."
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Radiation leakage? "The answer my friend is blowing in the wind."
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Stuck inside a micro with the convection oven blues again.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Happy, 68th, Bob.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Soop RE: Passadumkeg May 28, 2009 01:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          My friend was telling me yesterday about his old microwave. I used to face away from the TV behind the kitchen livingroom wall. Well, anyway, when his mum would use the microwave, the TV would get a load of static, and he'd have to wait for it to stop to watch the TV again. When they eventually moved the microwave, it transpired that part of the back had rusted through, and that he'd been sitting right in the way!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          He said he has no idea whether it was a contributing factor, but he had brain surgery a year ago to remove a cancerous tumor. He's ok at the moment, but it makes you think.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Soop
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Passadumkeg RE: Soop May 28, 2009 02:26 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Think? "if I'm absolutely sure of anything, I've forgotten what it was.", song writer and singer, Tom Paxton.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Soop
                                                                                                                                                                                                              thew RE: Soop May 28, 2009 05:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              it makes me think that using broken MWs is a bad thing. It makes me think i'm happy they make them so much better now.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: thew
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Soop RE: thew May 28, 2009 05:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Well god knows how much they leak radiation any of them leak, it's not like most people measure it now and again. And the old ones? My mum got a microwave when I was about 5, so that's a while of being "exposed".

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: thew
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Politeness RE: thew May 28, 2009 12:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  thew: "i'm happy they make them so much better now."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "They" DO make them better now, but if the seals around the door get dirty so that the seals have lost their integrity, the leakage from the new ones is like the leakage from the old ones.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. alkapal RE: corneygirl May 28, 2009 06:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      hey, if y'all would listen to coast to coast radio show overnight, you'd all realize that the microwaves are mind-control/torture weapons. wearing a tin-foil hat and sleeping in a faraday cage will help. http://www.flickr.com/photos/66532281...
                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://freespace.virgin.net/michael.t...

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. The Chowhound Team RE: corneygirl May 28, 2009 05:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hi:

                                                                                                                                                                                                        We're locking this thread as it seems as if those who want to have a say have had their say several times at this point, and we've had to remove a number of personal and antagonistic posts.

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