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Anti Microwave


I do not own a microwave by choice because I do not like them. They are convenient no doubt but take that away and they are a strange way of warming and cooking. I know they are accepted as safe but I don't think they make food or our health better. I am old fashioned in some ways and desire to eat better quality simple whole food. Anyone on my side or am I destined to be a loner?

  1. They're very convenient although I could easily live without one. My uses: melting butter and chocolate, steaming fresh vegetables (in fact better than stovetop steaming in retaining vitamins), popping popcorn, and, even when not actually on, as a 'hot box'. They are more energy efficient than a gas or electric stove as well.

    I fear my cell phone more . . .

    1. I never, ever use a microwave except for heating stuff up.

      1 Reply
      1. re: redfish62

        Thanks for the laugh redfish62. :)

      2. I never saw much need for a microwave, so I never bought one. Then, a friend gave me his mother's when she died, sometime in the '90s. I use it mainly for making oatmeal and reheating pizza and lasagne. Anything that keeps its shape when I reheat it on the stove gets reheated on the stove. (I would never have bought one, so thanks Rhoda.)

        I've never felt the need for a slow cooker, either. I guess neither did Rhoda.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Jay F

          No, no, no Jay! Leftover pizza and lasagna should be eaten cold or at room temperature! Aren't there laws about this? :-)

          1. re: Jay F

            Reheating pizza is one of the few things I *don't* do in the microwave. That's why God made toaster ovens...for those times when I don't want it cold. Also, DW doesn't eat cold pizza.

            1. re: al b. darned

              Even better (and faster) than a toaster oven for reheating pizza is a skillet on the stove - heavy nonstick and cast iron both work well. Put the slices in, turn the heat medium high, slap a cover on for a couple of minutes. It really recrisps the crust better than the oven, and gets the cheese and toppings nice and hot/remelted fast.

              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                Ooh...you may have just turned me from my rule of only eating leftover pizza cold.

                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  Never thought of that! I'll have to give it a try.

                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                    I absolutely agree that skillet on the stove is the best. I used to use a toaster oven but it is slower and dries out the pizza. I think that using a microwave is the absolute worst method of heating up pizza. I am not a fan of the microwave and only use it to reheat food when I bring lunch to the office, no other alternative then. I typically steam everything as my method of re-heating and cooking. I have this big pot that sits on my stove at all times. LOL

                    1. re: G3B

                      I agree with pizza in the microwave not being a good thing. Toaster over or the oven on broil for me.

              2. I never owned a microwave until I bought a house 10 years ago that had one built in--I was 50 at the time. I tried to ignore it, I probably even railed against it. But then I started using it to reheat things. One day I used it for melting baking chocolate. Now, ten years later, I consider it a great convenience and it cuts down on dirt dishes, water used to scrub pots and pans etc. It does a wonderful job of clarifying butter, making my bedtime tea and allowing us to easily heat up leftovers for lunch that might otherwise get thrown away. I just recently found that it does an amazing job of cooking spinach for dishes where it is chopped up and also melts together ham and cheese so I can skip the grilling and have it on crispy toast--less mess, fewer calories and certainly more healthy. I consider it a wonderful addition to my kitchen.

                5 Replies
                1. re: escondido123

                  Not only does it melt butter, but you can brown butter in the microwave -- neat, easy, less chance of burning it.

                  1. re: escondido123

                    Steamed broccoli in the microwave always tastes better than steamed on the stovetop for some reason, as do brussels sprouts.

                    1. re: shanagain

                      And asparagus. Doesn't get waterlogged.

                      Barbara Kafka's "Vegetable Love" has myriad ways to prepare various vegetables in the microwave. And Jacques Pepin's "Fast Food My Way" tells his baked potato method: 5-6 minutes in the microwave, finish for 30 minutes in a 450 degree oven.

                      1. re: jmckee

                        When I haven't allowed myself enough time, I've been using that baked potato method for about 20 years.

                        1. re: jmckee

                          Interesting. I was wondering what well known chefs feel about MWs?

                    2. I love having one and have no fear of them.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: woodleyparkhound

                        Ditto. For people who have limited time, it can be a lifesaver.

                        But yes, bad for pizza reheating.

                      2. I'm on your side, CCSprings.

                        1. As with other items in the kitchen it has a place. "Baked" potato, cooking frozen veggies, reheating coffee, reheating frozen food, orn on the cob, asparagus, melting butter and chocolate, even a quick hot dog.

                          I use it as required and I have no fear of the method.

                          29 Replies
                            1. re: jfood

                              I have to disagree with the "baked" potato. I think an oven baked potato is far superior to a microwave baked potato. There's a texture issue for me. Or at least, that was the case when I worked in a stuffed potato restaurant many years ago and had frequent opportunity to eat both.

                              1. re: debbiel

                                Most definitely. A microwaved potato is like a steamed potato -- totally different texture from oven-baked where the innards can get nice and fluffy. This is why I rarely order a baked potato out -- I'm afraid that they'll nuke it.

                                To the OP -- no, I don't have a microwave and don't miss it at all. I recently purchased a hot plate for my office to reheat my food.

                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                  My "nuked" potatoes come out pretty fluffy. You absolutely have to cook them like a steak, though: cook them until just below "done" and then let them rest.

                                2. re: debbiel

                                  A trick is to nuke it until nearly done and then finish in the oven - saves lots of time. By the time my oven has heated, the potato is ready to go in.

                                  1. re: alwayscooking

                                    That's exactly what I do, alwayscooking - it's a great tip. I find that if I use a heavier than usual hand piercing the jacket, I end up with a sufficiently fluffy potato. High heat in the oven-baking portion.

                                  2. re: debbiel

                                    Absolutely agree, same as fresh coffee is better, grilled corn is better, but 20 minutes to preheat, 50 minutes to bake is not convenient all the time. sensor cook 4 is much easier and done in 5 minutes.

                                    1. re: jfood

                                      Ah, okay, I can accept the convenience argument for this one.

                                      1. re: jfood

                                        which is why you use Roast, for about 20-30 minutes. no preheat required. Why must people buy microwaves, when they can buy convection ovens. same Space, more functionality!

                                        1. re: Chowrin

                                          how's a convection oven for melting half a stick of butter, or boiling 6oz of water for tea? Microwave also softens diced onions quickly - just add a bit of oil and zip for a minute or two. Convection may be better when you want to brown something, but for just warming, judicious use of the micro is better.

                                          1. re: paulj

                                            my convection oven includes microwave feature. and i do use it for tea and butter.

                                          2. re: Chowrin

                                            I disagree that a convection oven is more functional than a microwave, but it's not an either-or proposition. I have an oven that cooks using microwaves, a convection element and fan, and halogen lights. Using these features together delivers a perfect baked potato in about 10 minutes. As you say, same space, more functionality!

                                            1. re: alanbarnes

                                              I bet it isn't the same price....

                                              1. re: Firegoat

                                                mine was under 200 bucks. I'd say pretty cheap. i hardly use the main oven anymore (and, as an apt. dweller, that's gold!)

                                            2. re: Chowrin

                                              If you are to make one cup of hot chocolate milk, the microwave is much better. There are other examples too, like microwave popcorns.. etc.

                                              Yes, you are correct that a convection ovens is more versatile, but you forgot that most people have a standard oven and/or a toaster oven. A convection oven simply does what a conventional oven does -- only faster. A microwave is orthogonal to these other ovens. It excels in what they cannot.

                                              Let's take knives for example. A Chef's knife is more versatile than a bread knife, but if you already have a few Chef's knife at home, then a bread knife is going to be more useful than another Chef's knife. Yes, a convection oven is more versatile, but if you already have a standard oven and a toaster, why not a microwave? A convection oven is not a direct competitor to a microwave oven. It is, however, compete with a toaster oven.

                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                my convection oven has a roast setting, where it uses the convection and microwave at the same time. finishes roasts in a quarter of the time.

                                                ...wait, don't most convection ovens come with a microwave, as well?

                                                I believe we're talking about different appliances, somehow...

                                              2. re: Chowrin

                                                I have 2 MVs and a double convection oven and I have never seen a potato cooked on "Roast" for 20-30 minutes to done. My oven takes 20 minutes on Pre-heat (equivilent to Roast) to get to 350 degrees (and that is the specs of the German made ovens). If you can make a baked potato in a "real" oven in 20 minutes I am extremely jealous. Life ain't fair.

                                                1. re: jfood

                                                  sorry, roast setting on my convection oven uses both microwave and convection at once.

                                                  1. re: Chowrin

                                                    Thanks C, I keep forgetting that my MV also has the convection in it. 7 years and this idiot has never used both to make a potato. (Insert palm smacking forehead). And I do not even drink.

                                                    1. re: Chowrin

                                                      How does it work? I have a microwave/convection but have never tried roasting in it. I generally don't like microwaved cooked meat because it doesn't brown but maybe the convection makes a difference?

                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                        I'm not sure about the browning (haven't done it since we got the thing, actually, not big on roasts), but it gets it rare on the inside, and nicely browned on the outside. Microwave cooks the inside while the outside gets cooked convectionally. Leaves you with a much rarer cut of beef.

                                                        1. re: Chowrin

                                                          It is a misconception that microwaves "cook inside" -- which is easily proven if you actually pay attention to how your food cooks in a microwave and see that the outside cooks much faster than the center.

                                                          This misconception is based on a misunderstanding of the fact that the heat generated by microwaves is generated inside the food, by the vibration of the molecules, rather than generated externally and transfered into the food by conduction. However, microwaves only penetrate about a quarter of an inch into your food, so although it is cooking "inside" the food, it's really only cooking just below the surface of the food; the heat generated there then disperses through the food through conduction, just as in "conventional" cooking.

                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                            Mostly its the water and fat in the food that is affected by the microwaves, so the depth of penetration will depend on their concentration. It the outer layers are dry the waves penetrate deeper.

                                                            While 1/4 - 1/2" are not the center of a large item, they much closer if the food is less than an inch thick. That's why a good microwave recipe will specify how to cut the food, and how to arrange it on the cooking dish. An observant cook will also notice where the food is hot, and where it is still cold.

                                                            Rotating the food, periodic stirring, and trapping the steam (with lid or plastic covering) are important tools when cooking in the microwave.

                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                              The question for the ages, though, is, why when you put a stick of butter in it melts in the middle first!

                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                I always had the impression that things get hottest on the bottom, including a stick of butter.

                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                  If you put a stick of butter in the microwave it will melt in the middle of the stick first (that is, the middle of the stick as opposed to the ends, not the middle as in interior). Why? Things definitely won't get hottest from the bottom, since the bottom is shielded from the microwaves.

                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                      I'm going to modify my assertion that things don't get hottest on the bottom to note that sometimes if the microwaving process produces steam, and the steam gets trapped at the bottom of vessel, then it can get quite hot.

                                            3. What is it about microwave ovens that you "do not like"? If you don't understand how they work, just read the Wikipedia article. If you're concerned because a few crackpots have made bogus claims about health risks, there are plenty of discussions here that debunk that nonsense. If you dislike them because you don't want to use anything that was invented in the last century, then you should get rid of your food processor, mixer, and gas or electric oven, too.

                                              The notion that the microwave is antithetical to "better quality simple whole food" is simply incorrect. It's an ideal tool for steaming things like fish and vegetables. It beats the heck out of the stove for melting chocolate. You consume far less energy than with other methods if you use it to boil a cup of water for tea. And, yeah, it does all these things pretty quickly, too. Nothing wrong with that.

                                              Does that mean you need to have one? Certainly not. You can prepare and cook everything you need with a sharp knife and a wood-burning stove. But why would you want to?

                                              47 Replies
                                              1. re: alanbarnes

                                                wasn't there a study a few years ago that found that steaming veggies in the microwave actually retains more nutrients than steaming them on the stove?

                                                Something to do with speed of attaining steam, plus the cooking water is right there in the bowl, so the nutrients don't stay in the pan, and then go down the drain.

                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                  The nutrient count in stovetop steaming vs. microwave varies depending on the nutrient and the vegetable, but actually stovetop steaming usually preserves more nutrients than microwaving. Beta carotene and vitamin c in particular are usually at higher levels in stovetop-steamed veggies.

                                                  1. re: guilty

                                                    Actually, it depends if the person over-does it with the microwave. If you are going to punch in a "high" setting on a microwave, yes, you will destory many things, but that is no different than someone turning the stovetop nob all the way up.

                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                      yeah, I was referring to crisp-tender, not cooked to grey death.

                                                2. re: alanbarnes

                                                  They work fantastic! Without a doubt they do certain things very well. Good point on the low energy use, that cant be overlooked. Speed is another fine trait of mw's. As a teen I ate mountains of microwaved nachos as late night snacks.

                                                  It is an aesthetic thing I suppose. I don't have the exact words. "Better quality simple whole food" is a mind set that leaves out microwaves. To me nuked popcorn tastes like packing material. I hate cleaning the pot post popped corn but I like the result better. I disagree that things cooked in a microwave taste as good as standard methods.I am also not naive, restaurants use them all the time, especially to warm pies and cakes. I will elaborate further. FYI, I don't have a TV either, but I am about to sneak the Pats Jets game on the laptop.

                                                  1. re: CCSPRINGS

                                                    Well, if that's your mindset then I won't presume to try to change it. But the fact is that food from a microwave is not inherently inferior. The aesthetics are something you can master if you want to.

                                                    I don't dispute that the microwave is the wrong tool for many jobs, in which case the results will suffer if you use it. But it's the perfect tool for other jobs, and will deliver results that are just as good if not better than cooking on the stovetop or in the oven.

                                                    Examples include things like simple steamed vegetables and fish or chicken en papillote. Now if you're saying that roasted veggies are better than steamed, that's one thing. But steamed in a pot on the stove versus steamed in the microwave? Any perceived difference is purely due to the placebo effect.

                                                    As microwave popcorn goes, it's terrible stuff. But that's because it's poor-quality kernels covered with artificial flavorings in packaging impregnated with nasty chemicals. I pop good popcorn in one of these (http://www.amazon.com/Presto-04830-Po... ) and it's fantastic. If you want to pull all the stops out, put some palm oil in the bottom before you start and it will be indistinguishable from stuff that's cooked on the stovetop - both in terms of flavor and, unfortunately, in terms of cleanup. OTOH, you also have the option of going healthier and less messy by cooking without oil. That's not an option on the stovetop.

                                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                                      Plain popcorn in a paper bag with olive oil is great in the microwave.

                                                      1. re: alwayscooking

                                                        Yes it is. The thing I like about the Presto is that it has a doo-hickey in the bottom that gets really hot. Since that's where the unpopped kernels tend to hang out, you get fewer "old maids."

                                                      2. re: alanbarnes

                                                        I will never dispute the effectiveness, it is just so darn unorthodox. I can't navigate around that. An argument against them labels MWs as an unnatural source of energy and their potential to alter complex molecules. If proof exist about altering chemicals, I don't know about it. They are marketed as time savers. I think we need to relax a bit more and do things Grandma's way. Nostalgic and idealistic, yep.

                                                        Pastry chefs rave about MWs ability to temper chocolate. Defrosting bread. List goes on and on.

                                                        1. re: CCSPRINGS

                                                          Relax, CC. A physicist in my department and a biologist made a thorough study of microwaves (from ovens and cell phones) ten years ago. They don't have enough energy to rip molecules apart or cause mutations any more than other types of heating. When you think of it, gas or electric ranges were an unnatural source of energy 100 years ago too. My grandma was not an exemplary cook (except for her turkey stuffing) so I am happy to use my nuke machine and other modern gadgets for the tasks they are best suited for.

                                                          1. re: DonShirer

                                                            I know your right, but I never claimed to believe the suspicious reports. My point was I simply don't like them. Great, now I'm labeled as a hippie tree hugger. Joking of course.

                                                            1. re: CCSPRINGS

                                                              My grandmother was such a wus, what with her gas stove and running water and slow as molasses, idyllic lifestyle. I say do it like great-great-Grandmother - open pits in the backyard and pray for rain. God willing and the creek don't rise we'll trade for some tamarind this year! ;)

                                                              I get what you're saying, I really do. I just also watched my Grandmother bust her a** running the family dairy farm for most of her life - were a microwave available to her to reheat "supper" from the afternoon's "dinner" (lunch) for all of the menfolk once in a while, you can bet she'd have used it!

                                                              1. re: shanagain

                                                                Well said. Our ancestors did a lot of the things the way they did because they had to, not because they chose to.

                                                              2. re: CCSPRINGS

                                                                Why would you be labeled a "true hugger" when you prefer methods that use MORE energy? Not getting that one :)

                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                  Hiding under a rock right now.

                                                            2. re: CCSPRINGS

                                                              The "argument against them" that you refer to is espoused by conspiracy theorists and other crackpots. It has no basis in reality. And there's nothing "unorthodox" about microwaves - they've been in common use for more than half a century.

                                                              I bake my own bread, grind my own hamburger, stuff my own sausages, catch most of the fish we eat, make pasta from flour and eggs, and sometimes even sauce it with tomatoes I've grown and canned myself. I've slaughtered countless chickens and a handful of ungulates. I've even made my own head cheese. And although it's not relevant here, I don't watch television either. So don't lecture me about slowing down and doing things Grandma's way.

                                                              But when there's a task that needs to be accomplished in the kitchen, I'm going to use the best tool for the job. I use a microwave, not because it saves time, but because it works as well as or better than any other device to achieve the results I'm seeking.

                                                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                  I like your style Alanbarnes. Slowing down and doing things Grandma's way is a choice of mine, not a mandate.

                                                                  Once again, my original post was about the preference of no MWs, not dubious studies extolling their evil ways. No lecture there. MWs are just not my tool of choice.

                                                                  BTW, what kind of fish are you catching?

                                                                  1. re: CCSPRINGS

                                                                    I guess my point is that the microwave isn't inconsistent with slowing down. It's just another - sometimes better, IMO - way to get to the same endpoint. Whether you get there quicker or slower doesn't matter.

                                                                    Fish-wise, salmon was my favorite until recently. They closed the season in '08 and '09, and '10 was terrible. '09 was good for albacore. Halibut have done well the last few years. Striped bass are great when you get into 'em, and we even had a surprise appearance of white sea bass last year. And it's always easy to fill the freezer with groundfish, which are fun enough on light tackle when nothing else is biting.

                                                                    Speaking of fish, here's a recipe you might want to try if you ever change your mind about the microwave:

                                                                    Take a big piece of parchment paper (twice as long as the roll is wide) fold it in half so that it's more or less square, and cut it into a heart shape.

                                                                    Open up the parchment up; in the middle of one half, lay down a cup to a cup and a half of aromatic vegetables (carrots, celery, leeks, fennel, whatever) cut into matchsticks. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a top with a small pat of butter or a little olive oil.

                                                                    Top that with an 8-ounce fish fillet. Salt and pepper again, then lay on a sliced Meyer lemon (you can also use a tangerine or a small orange). Add a little more olive oil or butter and a teaspoon or two of white wine.

                                                                    Fold the other half of the heart back over. Crimp the edges, starting with the top center. When you get to the bottom point of the heart, twist it together to form a "tail" that seals the whole thing up.

                                                                    Microwave on high for four minutes, then take the temperature of the fish fillet using a remote probe thermometer. If it's under 130F, continue cooking, but be careful and go in 10-second intervals - it's easy to overcook.

                                                                    Once the fish is done, open the parchment carefully - there'll be a fair amount of scalding steam - and enjoy an all-in-one meal that's IMO absolutely delicious. Not "delicious for having come out of the microwave." Just plain delicious.

                                                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                      you can do that same recipe in a paper bag - SO much easier than folding up parchment paper

                                                                    2. re: thew

                                                                      You missed the point I fear.

                                                                      1. re: CCSPRINGS

                                                                        the point of using a paper bag?

                                                                  2. re: CCSPRINGS


                                                                    You have made similar points in a few earlier posts. From what you have written thus far, I don't believe you understand how a microwave oven works.

                                                                    "An argument against them labels MWs as an unnatural source of energy and their potential to alter complex molecules."

                                                                    These are incorrect statements. Microwave ovens use microwave radiation for heating, while conventional ovens use infrared radiation for heating. One induces rotation, and the other induces vibration. There is nothing unnatural about microwave? Microwave existed before humans. If anything, human beings are less natural than microwave. As for the potential to alter molecules, what do you mean? The whole point of cooking is to alter molecules. Microwave photo is actually lower energy than infrared photo, so it does not do any high energy reaction.

                                                                    What's up with this "do things Grandma's way"? What if Grandma did not have a washing machine? Am I going to wash my clothes by hands? What about the modern medicine? Why do we romanticize the "good old days", when in fact the "good old days" was not all that good. People have shorter lifespans decades ago. In the 1930's, the average life expectancy was 60. In the 1950's, it was 68. Now, it is 78. People are living longer.

                                                                    Microwave technology is fast, more energy-efficient, and safer. You certainly can choose to use or not to use microwave, but to say it is unsafe and unnatural is incorrect.

                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                      The "argument" against them is not mine, I simply don't like them. "Grandma's way" is about food, not trolley cars and spinning our own flax.

                                                                      "Unnatural" in terms of MWs refers to have a MW generator in my kitchen as opposed to a cosmic source.

                                                                      This is not meant to be science post as much as a lifestyle post. I can conclude that people LOVE their MWs.

                                                                      1. re: CCSPRINGS


                                                                        It is perfectly fine to say you don’t like microwave ovens. There are many things microwave ovens do not do well, but you have suggested that they are unsafe and unnatural. You wrote: “I don't think they make food or our HEALTH better”. I am not a cat person, but if someone was to say “cats are unhealthy to live with”, then I would argue against that statement short of some allergy cases. It has nothing to do with loving cats or not.

                                                                        ‘"Unnatural" in terms of MWs refers to have a MW generator in my kitchen as opposed to a cosmic source.’

                                                                        What makes you think having a conventional oven is natural? Microwave ovens produce microwave photons, and conventional ovens generate infrared radiation. Why would an infrared radiation machine (conventional oven) more natural than a microwave radiation machine? Yes, we human created the conventional ovens much earlier, but it does not make them more natural. We discover iron much earlier than titanium, but that does not make iron more natural than titanium.

                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                          They don't make our health any worse, either (and after 50 years, I think that's a fair statement)

                                                                          I have a busy life. Spending 5 more minutes in the kitchen putzing with something that can be done in 1 in the MW means I get 4 more minutes (400% more!) time outside the kitchen with my friends and family.

                                                                          It's like the dishwasher...is it necessary? No. It is natural? Well, no. Am I going to give it up and stand at the sink for an hour washing dishes? Hell, no. I want that time back.

                                                                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                        Why do we romanticize the "good old days", when in fact the "good old days" was not all that good.

                                                                        My theory is that these people want to go back to the "good old days" as long as they can take modern medicine and a few other modern items of their choice with them. Me? My microwave would be one of them.

                                                                        1. re: al b. darned

                                                                          there were no good old days. the myth of a golden age before the present has been around since, well, the good ol days.

                                                                      3. re: CCSPRINGS

                                                                        All cooking changes complex molecules. Changes in color of food is evidence of chemical changes. Changes in texture also point to physical and chemical changes. That includes cooking an egg. Your digestive system is a chemical factory, splitting complex molecules right and left. Even simple sucrose is split into glucose and fructose, the the liver producing further changes in the fructose.

                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                          If microwaving food is not substantially different from heating food through other methods, why are microwaves completely unsafe for warming blood for transfusion or heating stored breastmilk for babies?

                                                                          1. re: guilty

                                                                            Both blood and breast milk are candling tasks
                                                                            best done in warmed water
                                                                            and safe from an idiot who over-zaps it.

                                                                            Remove keypad terror
                                                                            and operator error
                                                                            then both tasks could be bathed in the microwave.

                                                                            1. re: guilty

                                                                              It isn't different.

                                                                              When you warm blood and milk in a water bath, you can do so in a lukewarm water bath, so you know the blood and milk will not be heated above the water bath temperature. Thus, you have better control.

                                                                              When warming blood and breatmilk using a microwave oven, it is difficult to avoid overheating. The truth is that you can overheat blood and breatmilk using conventional methods as well, but you have to be a real idiot to do so.

                                                                              "A transfusion reaction was observed with blood warmed by a microwave blood warmer. Analysis of the blood remaining in the bag excluded the possibility of incompatibility but revealed hemolysis and clot formation which was attributed to OVERHEATING by the blood warmer."


                                                                              1. re: guilty

                                                                                Because it's the wrong tool for gentle warming, not because it alters the blood or breastmilk.

                                                                            2. re: CCSPRINGS

                                                                              worry more about x-raying your teeth. which is also PERFECTLY SAFE. you get more radiation from Sunshine, dear.

                                                                              1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                I don't emit radiation...!! :D

                                                                                (and microwaves create hot spots in which the temperature on the outside is significantly higher than that on the inside...so you create the possibility for cooked blood on the outside, which would be decidedly undesirable for a transfusion....or having very hot milk in the bottle, which is quite likely to burn the tender mouth of a nursing-age baby)

                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                  no, but pineapples do! they regularly set off customs...

                                                                              2. re: CCSPRINGS

                                                                                My grandma would have been all over a microwave. She was a terrible cook and did as little of it as possible. When we visited, we subsisted on overcooked cube steaks, canned (unheated) veggies, Special K, and Shirley Temples. Grandma made a mean gin gimlet, though.

                                                                                1. re: tcamp

                                                                                  I had one grandmother was positive fascinated by the microwave. They couldn't have one in the home because of my grandfather's pacemaker (remember those days?). So when they'd come to visit, she'd find all sorts of excuses to get my grandfather out of the house to "play" with the microwave.

                                                                                  I agree many of the sentiments expressed: As I have been cooking "from scratch" more and more, I find myself using the microwave less and less, particularly with our relatively recent purchase of a countertop toaster/convection oven, but I don't think I'd ever want to be totally without it. I lived in England for a number of years in the early '90s, and we had very few "modern" conveniences. I missed having a microwave then (though I having a wall-mounted showerhead more).

                                                                                  It also finds great use in our household as a place to keep food that is resting or proofing so that the cat doesn't eat it/drink it/play wtih it/push it on the floor.

                                                                                  1. re: Mestralle

                                                                                    Interesting because my mom was the reverse. She always cooked from scratch but the microwave helped her make things like yogurt, sticky rice and bread dough so much more easily. I think it took her home cooking up a notch. Every time I came home, she'd have discovered a new way to use it.

                                                                              3. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                "...OTOH, you also have the option of going healthier and less messy by cooking without oil. That's not an option on the stovetop."

                                                                                And yet that's how I've made popcorn for 40+ years - on the stovetop with no butter or oil of any kind. You have to keep the pan moving but it works just fine.

                                                                                Still, I steam all my veggies in the microwave and I try cooking all sorts of stuff in there just to see if it's a go/no go. Seitan 'wings,' thumbs up - pizza reheating thumbs way down.

                                                                                1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                  Please don't tell me that. I occasionally make popcorn on the stovetop just so I have an excuse to use the oil!

                                                                              4. re: CCSPRINGS

                                                                                Isn't the laptop an unorthodox way of watching a game? You should be there in person, or sitting in the parlor listening to it on the wireless. :) You aren't so unorthodox as to get your news online as opposed to a print newspaper, are you?

                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                  paulj: I do prefer sports on the radio, especially baseball. "It is HIGH, it is FAR, it is... caught at the wall!"

                                                                                  My good old days approach is food without MWs - not medicine, transportation and communication.

                                                                                  Maybe I should print T-shirts that say No Mws! with a pic of a diabolical horned appliance that has yellow fangs.

                                                                                2. re: CCSPRINGS

                                                                                  TVless here, too. still like my convection oven.

                                                                                3. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                  I question the common belief that MW ovens save a lot of energy. I read recently that they use much more energy than a plain electric oven or gas stove, simply for less time. If you have to heat an oven, then a vessel, then the food, you're probably saving a bit with the microwave, but I'd like to see a comparison between heating a pint of water in my Panasonic and heating it in one of those electric quick pots.

                                                                                  I'm sure, though, that there's no cheaper way to heat up a small bowl of leftovers for lunch, and it's worth having the beast for that alone.

                                                                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                    The energy difference is minimal. They only tend to be big because of human error, like turning up an entire oven to cook a small piece of food or boiling a liter of water when a cup will do.

                                                                                    The nutritional difference between steaming and microwaving is also minimal.

                                                                                    If a microwave can cook something well, then I try to use it, if only to save room on the stove. Besides, it's usually faster. Why take 10 minutes to reheat something with fire when a microwave can do it in 2?

                                                                                4. I used to jokingly call my first Amana "Radar Range" the world's most expensive coffee warmer. And with the original microwave ovens that did not have a turntable built in, it was a bother to have to constantly open them and rotate food. Then I traded up to a microwave with a built in turn table and used it for a lot more than reheating coffee. Now I have a microwave-halogen oven from GE, and I LOVE it...! I can nuke and brown, broil steaks without nuking, nuke food without browning, use a really long slow microwave process for heating things slowly. Whatever I want to do. Microwaves are no longer all zap! pow! instant done food with little to no way of taming them. Of course, if you live near a cell phone microwave relay tower, you can just put your coffee in a glass jug, tie it to the end of a very long pole, and hold it up in front of the fresh hot signal. Your arm may get tired, but you won't have to buy a microwave oven! They aren't good for cooking everything you may ever want to cook, but they DO have their place and can make life a lot more convenient than living without one. Try it, you'll like it!

                                                                                  1. One long, hot summer in Australia, minus AC, led me to cook 90% of everything we ate in the MW. This is an increible tool, if you know how to use it. Barbara Kafka's "Microwave Gourmet" was my bible. Plus, the Aussies had lots of cookware designed for MW cooking, including a "browning pan" that worked very well.

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                      >>"if you know how to use it"<<

                                                                                      Those are the magic words. People who haven't learned how to use a microwave oven often get disappointing results. As with any other tool, you have to get past the first part of the learning curve before it'll really work for you.

                                                                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                        My favorite aunt got a microwave when they first came out, and decided to follow the directions and make a single cupcake. But when she saw the instructions to cook it for a minute, she simply couldn't believe it,set the timer for ten minutes, and ended up with a single charcoal briquette.

                                                                                        She did learn to use it, though.

                                                                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                          Big Al is the proselytizing microwave man
                                                                                          it's as if he was sent from the ranks of Amana.
                                                                                          But if you look close at his pic in his icon
                                                                                          you'll see that he's wearing a hat straight from Panama.

                                                                                          My early introduction to microwave cookin'
                                                                                          was in early 70s, the era of Radar-Range.

                                                                                          I was young and be-pimpled and pretty rambuctious
                                                                                          and the results of the cooking were far down from unctuous.

                                                                                          The first thing I tried was a simple hot dog
                                                                                          that exploded like one of those movie cigars.
                                                                                          At age thirteen, I ate it
                                                                                          but I had to scrape it
                                                                                          from the oven's clean glistening walls.

                                                                                          Chastened, but learning, I figured the next was an egg.
                                                                                          Not knowing of behavior of microwaved ovum
                                                                                          I cracked two in a bowl and just shoved 'em in there.

                                                                                          This time, after explosion,
                                                                                          I made good choice and decided not to eat it
                                                                                          but I still had to scrape it from all (count 'em) six
                                                                                          of the oven's interior faces.

                                                                                          The third try was stalks of freshly trimmed broccoli.
                                                                                          No water, just stems and high power.
                                                                                          The results were a browned and spotty scorched veggie.

                                                                                          So now at three strikes
                                                                                          I swallowed teenage pride
                                                                                          and decided to consult the owner's manual.

                                                                                          These days it's smooth sailing with me and Amana.
                                                                                          I use the darn thing at least daily.
                                                                                          Thump chest, knock on wood
                                                                                          it works really good
                                                                                          and still yields good chuckles with some out-there experiments.

                                                                                          I respect it as powerful tool and strong implement
                                                                                          and remember the eggs early scraped from its sides.

                                                                                        2. re: pikawicca

                                                                                          As you implied, another reason to use a microwave is to generate less heat in your kitchen. Microwaves are much more efficient that way: they only heat the food, while a stove heats a burner that heats a pot that heats the food, and generates a lot of wasted heat in the process.

                                                                                          1. My mom won't use them, and I think it's just that she doesn't want to bother to learn to use it. She's that way about a lot of things--refuses to use cell phones, for instance. They're just too confusing for her.

                                                                                            My biggest complaint about them is how much power they draw. I live in an older home, and have to be careful I don't have the toaster on at the same time as the microwave, or I'll have to visit the breaker box. I know I could get a less powerful microwave, but eh, why replace something that isn't broken?

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: amyzan

                                                                                              Can't you just use your microwave at a lower power?

                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                Well, sure, for some things, yes.

                                                                                            2. I hear ya CCSPRINGS. I use mine to heat up leftover chinese takeout and coffee mostly. I can remember what a job that was before microwaves. I'm concerned about restaurants mis-using microwaves, for example microwaving food in unsafe containers. I ordered something at my favorite little diner that I wanted just a tiny bit warm. I asked the waitress if they could nuke it for me and she told me they didn't have a microwave. She probably thought I was crazy but I just beamed at her. Reason number fourty seven why I love the R and S Keystone in Telford, Pa.
                                                                                              Thanks for posting this, it's good to question things that are sometimes taken for granted. Can't wait to check back and see what other hounds say.

                                                                                              1. Actually using a microwave to steam veggies with very little water is a healthy way to prepare veggies. I like to do Brussels Sprouts that way, for instance. Don't forget that you are also using less power to cook as well. I also like to cook a single egg without oil in the microwave, heat milk for hot cocoa, melt butter, and yes I reheat things. I think being able to reheat food is a prime way to save energy. There isn't any other way that works nearly as well. In terms of making our food or out health better, there are many appliances that don't make things better. How does an electric stove make food better than a wood burning stove? It isn't that the food is so much better, it is that the cook has it so much easier. Whether you use a microwave is a personal decision. There isn't a law that says you have to have one, or that you can't have one.

                                                                                                    1. I'm going to add one more thing - poaching eggs. My mom used to do it on the stovetop, and it took almost ten minutes to get the pot out, fill it with water, put it on the stove, wait for it to boil, add the vinegar, carefully break the egg into the swirling water, and wait at least two minutes for it to poach.

                                                                                                      I make mine in the MW now. I bought a nifty little plastic clamshell device for about $2. I break the eggs into it, poke the yolks so they don't explode, and nuke in my tiny 700W unit for 59 seconds (found from trial and error). I can now have poached eggs on toast in the time it takes to make the toast, and if I'm feeling luxe, I add some sliced ham and a mock hollandaise, and end up with "Eggs Benedict Arnold" in about four minutes.

                                                                                                      1. We don't have a microwave either. For years, I had to talk my MIL out of buying us one as a Christmas present. We just don't have a lot of space in our kitchen, and it has not been deemed worthy of getting some of that limited space. There are not many occasions when I wish I had one, though I do use the one at work to heat up leftovers for lunch on occasion.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                          We don't have much space in our kitchen either. The microwave is in the dining room, on a cabinet that holds dishes and cutlery. That location is convenient for warming food. I did more primary cooking in it when it was in the kitchen.

                                                                                                        2. As others have said, the MW is a great tool for certain jobs - reheating stuff, steaming veggies & fish. The veggies and fish in particular come out just wonderful.

                                                                                                          1. So far, no one has mentioned re-heating very thick, starchy foods in the microwave -- it does a superb job and nothing sticks. Instead of standing over the refired beans, patiently stirring, pop them in the MW and they're perfect. Ditto for mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, creamed spinach and many more foods of the same ilk.

                                                                                                            I live in AZ and our summers are killer hot. My MW has an oven-convection feature that I use a lot. I didn't think that I would and it has taken years for me to actually believe this works, but it does. So instead of heating a large oven, I'll use the MW -- never thought I'd be a convert.

                                                                                                            You write "I am old fashioned in some ways and desire to eat better quality simple whole food."
                                                                                                            What is it about a MW that you believe makes food of a lower quality or less-than-simple whole food? I honestly do not understand.

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Sherri

                                                                                                              +1 on the hot climate factor. I pay so dearly to cool my home, that I plan my summer menus to exclude anything that requires prolonged oven time. MW provides many options, along with my outdoor grills.

                                                                                                              1. re: Sherri

                                                                                                                Replying to myself because I forgot to mention softening ice cream -- in my MW, 30 seconds on Power Level 1 produces two servings of ready-to-eat goodness instead of the rock hard IC I get from my minus 5 degree F freezer.

                                                                                                              2. I like to cook fish on the defrost setting - you get a barely-cooked silky texture that I love.

                                                                                                                1. I use my microwave to reheat my quality simple whole food.

                                                                                                                  1. As others have said, veggies in the mwave are the best. Many vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, or corn don't even need any additional water. Fish done in the microwave is the best.

                                                                                                                    Here's another advantage: water conservation. Instead of boiling a big pot of water to boil potatoes for potato salad or smashed potatoes, I cut them up and nuke them. Two lbs of potatoes (enough for up to 4 people) takes 8 min for salad and 10 for smashed. (Again, less time than just to boil the water.) Another advantage: you get to cut the potatoes up cold.

                                                                                                                    Properly warmed sake in 20 sec.

                                                                                                                    But I NEVER reheat coffee in the microwave. BLAH!!

                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: al b. darned

                                                                                                                      Tell me more. For mashed potatoes, do you put them in a bowl with some water or how? This sounds like a great thing to me.

                                                                                                                      1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                                        I use red skinned potatoes. I cut them into cubes (unpeeled) and put them in a large microwavable bowl, cover and nuke. (I use Rubbermaid Premier.) No extra water needed. Eight min for salad and 10 for smashed. I even smash them in the same bowl.

                                                                                                                        You might have to experiment with the times if you use a different variety. Cook them until a toothpick goes in and out easily. Again, Advantage: microwave. easy to put them in for a it longer if they aren't done enough.

                                                                                                                        1. re: al b. darned

                                                                                                                          Yukons are my mashed potato favorite--will have to try this so I can avoid the dreaded soggy potatoes. Thanks

                                                                                                                    2. Isn't there some way to make MWs quieter?

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                                        Same as when my car engine starts making funny sounds, just turn the music up.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                          Hehheh. (Actual laugh I made was more like Snnnrrgggghhh, somewhere under the back of my nose.) There's still a 16-year-old deep inside every one of us, isn't there? :)

                                                                                                                          There's often so much noise in my kitchen, with dehydrator, auto-sprouter, micro, convection oven, water running, 3 computers in the adjoining living room... it's actually shocking when the power goes off 2-3 times/yr.

                                                                                                                      2. You're not alone! I don't have a microwave. Not terribly fond of them either. I've had microwaves in the past and have used them; but I've not found a need to buy a new one. I've a teeny tiny kitchen, and a microwave would take up far to much space in it. Plus aside from steaming some veggies, or reheating food, i don't really need one.

                                                                                                                        I know their perfectly safe, and I know how they work, but the curmudgeon in me thinks it's a new fangled gadget that's unnecessary. And while I'm at it, get off my lawn! ;)

                                                                                                                        Besides there's something I like about watching my food cook, steam, etc.

                                                                                                                        As for microwave popcorn, I despise it. I hope to never smell it again. Between a college roomie who couldn't cook anything else, and an office full of people who burned it twice a week (my cube was next to the kitchen), I hate the smell.

                                                                                                                        1. i don't have one and haven't missed it since i left parents' home. of course, when i'm at my parents', i will sometimes heat up mashed potatoes in it, because heating in the pan it was made usually scorches and makes it stick, no matter how low. just about everything else i can and do heat in a pan.

                                                                                                                          i don't have much room in my kitchen, and i LOVE my toaster oven on my counter, which i use all the time.

                                                                                                                          1. Don't have one due to space constraints, also don't own a toaster or toaster oven. When you don't have space, you give certain things up. I've learned to live without one and have done quite well. Just takes me a little longer and having to give up microwave popcorn at home. Just have it at the office instead.

                                                                                                                            12 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: bdachow

                                                                                                                              Popping your own fresh corn in a pot tastes 10,000 times better than any MW popcorn, plus it doesn't stink up the house as much. Use coconut oil for best, tasty, and non-greasy results.

                                                                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                Have you tried popping your own fresh corn in the microwave? I admit that MW popcorn is nasty stuff, but IMO the problem is with the product, not the cooking method.

                                                                                                                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                  Nope. Is all the info needed in your previous post?

                                                                                                                                  I find it pretty easy to do in a pot, but .... hey, I'm always open for new suggestions!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                    Easiest way - mix together a third of a cup of popcorn, a tablespoon of oil, and a couple of healthy shakes of salt. Dump the whole mess into a lunch-bag-sized paper bag. Crimp the top shut (you can staple it if you want) and nuke on high until the popping slows way down (3 minutes, give or take).

                                                                                                                                    Low-fat version - skip the oil. You can use smaller amounts of spray oil to get salt to stick. High-fat version - drizzle with several tablespoons of melted butter after popping. (My favorite.) Other possible additions include smoked paprika, Parmesan cheese, black pepper, garlic powder, garam masala, you name it.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                        Truffle salt. Or lime powder. But not both at the same time.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                          wouldn't the staples spark up a storm in the microwave? I've had the tiniest piece of metal make it's way in there (like a sliver from a can) and it does that.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                            I don't know why, but they don't.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                              If you placed a bunch of staples by themselves in a microwave, they might spark, but covering much of their surface, particularly the tips, by stapling them through a paper bag will substantially reduce this tendency. Also, you have to keep in mind that the microwave and the metal aren't creating electricity. They can only work with the available electrons on the surface of the metal objects. Staples are, typically, composed of a very small amount of metal, so they don't have enough available electric potential to cause much of a risk.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: gadfly

                                                                                                                                                heh. that reminds me of the time I tried to soften a jar of peanut butter in the MW, not realizing that there was a tiny little strip of foil still clinging to the rim of the jar.

                                                                                                                                                Cool fireworks...too bad it killed my MW.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                              This is Alton Brown's method, isn't it? Did he get it from you, or you from him?

                                                                                                                                              I've never tried it, but I've always wanted to.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                I think we both got it from Barbara Kafka. Seems like it was in "Microwave Gourmet."

                                                                                                                                    1. Huh. I don't much cook "from scratch" in the microwave but use it extensively for thawing and warming. In a 15 minute stretch this morning I used the microwave to: thaw a dozen pancakes (homemade and frozen for weekday breakfasts) for kid breakfasts; warm up two flour tortillas and previously cooked beans and rice to make lunch burritos for kids lunches; warm up previously cooked oatmeal for my breakfast; and reheat the final cup of coffee from the french press. Could never have done that w/o microwave and get everyone out the door by 7:45.


                                                                                                                                      1. I love all my kitchen tools, including the microwave. Sometimes it's the right tool for the job, which can include, but is not limited to, reheating my "better quality simple whole food."

                                                                                                                                        1. Surprised no one has mentioned the joy of corn-on-the-cob in a microwave. Wrapping a single cob in plastic wrap and four-minutes later makes amazingly bright and crisp corn that is not water-logged! As a single person, I love that I don't have to boil a whole pot of water for a single ear of corn. Best way to fix it!

                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: CarrieWas218


                                                                                                                                            Please make sure the plastic wrap you are using is MV approved or else you're getting a few little extra nasties with that corn.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: CarrieWas218

                                                                                                                                              +1 for MV corn on the cob. Try it without the plastic wrap and just leave it in the husk - some people moisten the husk by putting the corn under running water, but I don't think it's necessary. Also, the silk is much easier to remove after it's been nuked.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

                                                                                                                                                That's what I do, leave it in the husk.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                                  +1 Peel the husk back, pull out the silk, pull the husk back up (doesn't have to be tight). Delicious!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                    I leave the silk and husk intact when microwaving corn on the cob. You have to wait a minute or two after it's done to remove them, so the steam can go down, but as Bryan Pepperseed says, the silk strips off cleanly when it's cooked, without the need to brush a single strand away from the kernels usually.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: CarrieWas218

                                                                                                                                                We just leave the corn cob unhusked, then microwave it.
                                                                                                                                                It's the best way to cook corn like this.

                                                                                                                                              3. It sounds like you're happy w/ no microwave and don't want to be convinced otherwise so I assume you're just looking for others to show solidarity? As many others, I also have a desire to eat better quality simple whole foods but that doesn't mean I can't use my stand mixer, oven, stove, slow cooker, microwave to help me get the fastest, most efficient, better results. If we went back to old ways, we'd be cooking over fire which also produces carcinogens.

                                                                                                                                                Here's a question on how useful they are--how many posters have used the microwave consistently well and then opted to get rid of it, or not replace a broken one? I haven't had a toaster oven in years but I'd get a new microwave pretty quickly if mine broke.

                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                  Didn't replace my toaster oven when it died (many years ago).

                                                                                                                                                  But our microwave died last year and we promptly replaced it. It was a microwave/convection that had served as our oven when living in a residence with limited cooking facilities (2 burners, bar fridge). In the apt we are in now, we really wanted something much smaller and we no longer used the convection feature, but couldn't justify replacing it until it died (I really hate buying things that I already have, even if the one I have isn't optimal). So when it died we were kind of happy that we could now buy the smaller microwave we wanted.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                                                                                                    I rarely cook anything big enough that it needs the "real oven" and the convection is so much cheaper to operate.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                    Nicely put, Chowser. Newer technologies are not always bad. There are many more accidents involving conventional ovens than microwave ovens.

                                                                                                                                                    A microwave oven is not a must-to-have. Obviously the human race has survived for ~2 millions years without one, but neither is a car or a washing machine. I won't put microwave as important as my stove range or refrigerator, but I will put it more important than my toaster oven and mixer.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                      Oh yeah, that's the other thing that gets to me: people are "afraid" of the "dangers" of their microwaves, when that big infrared radiation producing device that causes many thousands of injuries every year is considered to be much safer.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                      I'm not anti-microwave; I just don't have one. I lived with one and used it for 5 or 6 years in college and grad school and never felt the need to get my own when I moved into a place without one. The toaster oven? That I've replaced.

                                                                                                                                                    3. Biggest bonus to Microwave: Fewer Dishes. I don't have a dishwasher. I cook once every two weeks. If I had to dirty a pot for every meal... bah!

                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                                        That's a big bonus to me. Unless I'm making a pot of soup to begin with, reheating a single serving in the same bowl I plan to drink it out of just makes sense. I live alone, and still love to cook, so when I make multi-serving items, I freeze some, so the micro is great for that for me.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                                          A couple of times recently we've come home at the end of a long day. I can gently thaw some beans in the microwave, then actually heat up in a saucepan. With tortillas, some meat, cheese etc. we can have a REAL meal where we wind up going 'wow, that was really good.'

                                                                                                                                                      2. i don;t understand - you say "I don't think they make food or our health better" - what do you mean? how does cooking on a stove make your health better as opposed to the microwave? i am not trying to be difficult, i'm really not getting your point. as to making food better - well different techniques work better or worse for different applications -

                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                          Thew, I asked the same question [see below] a couple of days ago and have no answer from the OP.

                                                                                                                                                          You write "I am old fashioned in some ways and desire to eat better quality simple whole food."
                                                                                                                                                          What is it about a MW that you believe makes food of a lower quality or less-than-simple whole food? I honestly do not understand.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Sherri

                                                                                                                                                            That's what I was wondering, too. Unless the OP is currently eating the food directly out of the ground, she's not eating simple whole foods, it's just the medium to cook it that's different.

                                                                                                                                                        2. I definitely disagree with the notion that microwave ovens don't make our food or our health better. Better food = better health. Same concept goes for the fresh vs. frozen argument. Frozen is often much "fresher" than fresh. (Did that make sense???)

                                                                                                                                                          I believe microwaving can result in a "healthier" product. A couple of examples are corn on the cob and artichokes. Less loss of vitamins. There are probably many more. I'm interested in hearing other posters ideas.

                                                                                                                                                          That said, my microwave is an indispensable part of my "back to the old days" 1940's kitchen. Maybe not quite as important as my old gas range or my vintage 3-C Kitchenaid mixer but right up there nonetheless.


                                                                                                                                                          26 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: I used to know how to cook...

                                                                                                                                                            LOL! I have a back in the '30s kitchen with a vintage gas range and a vintage Sunbeam mixmaster ... and a microwave.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                              Hi Ruth!

                                                                                                                                                              My house was built in 1929. Fortunately the kitchen was "brought up to date" in the early '40s. Kenmore enameled steel sink base with cabinets and a Roper range. Don't think I'd be real happy with a wood stove and wooden sink base...

                                                                                                                                                              One splurge for me was a few years ago I had a real-deal Armstrong linoleum floor put in. It went over the OMG pea soup green vinyl someone had put in in the '80s.

                                                                                                                                                              Love that mixer! Lots better than the big Kitchenaid I used to have.


                                                                                                                                                              1. re: I used to know how to cook...

                                                                                                                                                                Your screen name cracks me up--it's mom's tag line. She (b. 1928) cooked with gas since I (b. 1964) can remember. She loves her microwave for tea\coffee, fish in parchment, real popcorn (not the smelly microwave kind). I love it to melt butter, chocolate, etc. But now that we live in an electric stove home, we have forgotten how to actually cook.

                                                                                                                                                                Good God, we need a gas line in this neighborhood. Then we'd be cooking with gas!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks, Gaffk!

                                                                                                                                                                  I came up with the name because, although I was professionally trained in French cuisine, I haven't cooked for a living in more than twenty years.

                                                                                                                                                                  How on earth do you survive with no gas for cooking??? Oh, I bet I know the answer... You use your microwave!!

                                                                                                                                                                  Any hope you could bring in propane? Actually, one CAN eventually get used to cooking on electric but it sure ain't fun!


                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                        I prefer not induce with voltaic electricity
                                                                                                                                                                        when I can calibrate candle
                                                                                                                                                                        with my old geezered eyeball
                                                                                                                                                                        and add to the chorus "I'm cookin' with gas!"

                                                                                                                                                                        Induce me, reduce me, and even seduce me
                                                                                                                                                                        but once you've had gas
                                                                                                                                                                        there's no going back.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                                                          But, my friend, after cooking with induction for a year I'd never "go back" to gas. We did two house exchanges over Christmas/New Years. Both houses had high end gas ranges. I HATED using them. Couldn't wait to get back home.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                            I guess I'm just geared to visible combustion.
                                                                                                                                                                            It has a soft hiss
                                                                                                                                                                            that is lacked with induction
                                                                                                                                                                            and is closer to the atavistic campfire.

                                                                                                                                                                            Perhaps it's a search for the ember and flame and the roar of the coal of the soul.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                                                              And without the gas flame
                                                                                                                                                                              roasting marshmallows is lame

                                                                                                                                                                              For the yong'uns it's poor
                                                                                                                                                                              to have no s'mores.

                                                                                                                                                                              Oh well, build the fire in the fireplace.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                And add to that sweetness of fresh-charred tortillas
                                                                                                                                                                                and poblanos fresh roasted on flame.

                                                                                                                                                                                It is fun to be close to release of your carbon.

                                                                                                                                                                                I'm there with the blue of the flame of the methane,
                                                                                                                                                                                Bring on the CH3.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                                                                  And why are we all so flattered
                                                                                                                                                                                  when FoofFuser makes us matter?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                    Isn't it wonderful how people be proteins
                                                                                                                                                                                    with potential to range from Kevlar to silk

                                                                                                                                                                                    Both strong..


                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                                                            Everybody I know who's switched from gas to induction feels the same way.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                              Know where I can get my antique stove retrofitted?

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: I used to know how to cook...

                                                                                                                                                                        I'm actually getting used to it. I even did the whole Christmas spread; but as you said, it ain't fun. I'm told there's gas "in the area," and if I can wait I can get it in 5 years or so . . .

                                                                                                                                                                        God I miss the city.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                          Bizarrely, I've lived in just one house in my entire life that had a gas stove, not counting living on a boat that had a pressurized alcohol stove (which is a challenge unto itself). Didn't plan it that way, it's just the way it happened.

                                                                                                                                                                          Not sure I could cook on gas now if I had to!

                                                                                                                                                                          FWIW, I now have a flat-top cooktop and absolutely love it. It's way more responsive than those stupid old coils. (and ease of cleanup isn't even a discussion. No more fishing out god-knows-what out from under the top of the stove)

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: I used to know how to cook...

                                                                                                                                                                      My house was built in 1887, and when I took ownership the kitchen was a 1940s mess that had started to decompose. We gutted it and made a few structural changes, but I didn't want to put a modern kitchen in my otherwise all-original Victorian house, so I decided to go with a "vintage" look: a 1930's Magic Chef, painted cabinets, tile counters, etc. And since I didn't like my housemate's KitchenAid, I went looking for a Mixmaster like the one my mom had (wedding present circa 1955) and ended up with an even older model that's solid metal (with the milk glass bowls) and still going strong. And my microwave is from the time I was renovating the kitchen -- it's 22 years old and still going strong, too!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                        I absolutely agree with not putting a kitchen in that wouldn't go well with the rest of the house.

                                                                                                                                                                        Which is why I did the Armstrong linoleum floor. Wonderful product. It's perfect.

                                                                                                                                                                        Can you imagine what our kitchens would look like with (yawn...) granite/stainless/big tile? I can... Beyond stooopid...


                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: I used to know how to cook...

                                                                                                                                                                          My kitchen is scheduled for demo in April. I don't like the granite trend, so corian countertops. The rest of the house is hardwood, so I found ceramic tile that looks like wood (but won't buckle under water). But yes, stainless appliances.

                                                                                                                                                                          I still so wish I could get gas for cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                            Now that we've completely derailed the thread into kitchen remodeling, maybe it's time for a poll...

                                                                                                                                                                            The OP originally asked: "Anyone on my side or am I destined to be a loner?"

                                                                                                                                                                            My vote is: Destined to be a loner.


                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: I used to know how to cook...

                                                                                                                                                                              Ditto . . .the loner. I love my microwave.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                I have one follower, thank you.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: CCSPRINGS

                                                                                                                                                                                  One follower on Facebook or Twitter?

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                          I manage a property that still has the Mullins Youngstown cabinets. We had to replace the hardware a few years ago, but I still have it as a project to clean and restore when I get some "free" time. Gotta love those cabinets--so well made and functional, still holding up. Do you know about this site, Ruth? http://www.oldhouseweb.com/

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Stick the point of a paring knife in an acorn squash and microwave it for 3 minutes while meanwhile you are heating the (normal) oven to 425*. Two things then become possible: 1) You can cut the squash in half with ease and don't need chainsaw. Scrape out the seeds, put some butter in each half, and put the halves in in the hot oven where 2) They will bake in 30 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                    And am I the only person who microwaves a mug of water for tea?

                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                      Nope. Since I normally use tea bags, I put it in the cup along with the cold water, and nuke both together.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. Harold McGee, probably the pre-eminent name in food science in America, explains that microwaving vegetables is more nutritious than steaming or boiling: http://consults.blogs.nytimes.com/200...
                                                                                                                                                                      So yes, microwaves do indeed make our food and our health better. And fresher-tasting. And faster to prepare. And requiring less power consumption and water usage for cleaning extra cookware. When my previous one died, I went shopping the next day, on icy roads in the dead of winter, to replace it.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. It is safe to say I chose the words of the original post rather poorly. Please disregard and permit me to start over.

                                                                                                                                                                        I do not own a microwave by choice because I do not like them. What I am really trying to say is I am being a stubborn purist on this matter. ( saw those words elsewhere on CH, love them! )
                                                                                                                                                                        Anyone else share my feelings? Just curious as to the sentiment on this matter. Minimize the science please.

                                                                                                                                                                        Any better folks?

                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: CCSPRINGS

                                                                                                                                                                          How is refusing to use any tool being a purist? Am I a "purer" carpenter when I make cove cuts on my table saw instead of using a router? Am I a "purer" gardener if I refuse to use pruning shears?

                                                                                                                                                                          You've made it clear that you don't believe any of the hoo-hah about the dangers of microwaves. That's good - it keeps the discussion out of the territory of pseudoscience and conspiracy theories. But you haven't given any reason for your dislike of the devices, and in the absence of such a reason, all we have is an arbitrary opinion.

                                                                                                                                                                          Not that there's anything wrong with arbitrariness. If each of us had to come up with a sound rational basis for every decision we made, the world would be a boring place. But to lead off a discussion by voicing an arbitrary opinion that you know is a little unusual is to invite others to give the **reasons** their opinions are different than yours. The fact that people here have done exactly that should come as no surprise.

                                                                                                                                                                          And there are a couple of people who feel the same way you do. You folks are very much in the minority, but hey - vive la difference, right?

                                                                                                                                                                        2. One of the best cooks that I know doesn't have one and doesn't miss it. Those of us who have them are addicted to quick reheating, but he's taught me how simply and quickly things can be heated up without microwaving. A little water added to a covered pot and the food to be reheated does the trick very quickly over a low flame. He heats up bread by placing it on top of his woodburning stove and inverting a bowl over it. I would gladly live without one, but my husband likes to reheat food in it when I abandon him for my weekly dose of contra dancing.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. It seems like everything there is to be said on this subject has already been said, and now the conversation is just going in circles, and growing increasingly unfriendly. We're going to lock it now.