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Feb 26, 2013 06:39 AM

Life without a microwave?

I'm pretty much over it. I'd really like to just chuck our microwave and have that much more counter space. I only really use it for reheating things and making baked potatoes. SO uses it for Hot Pockets (shudder) and popcorn.

Obviously, I can do my potatoes in the oven and things can be reheated on the stove/in the oven. He stop buying microwave popcorn and make it in the wok instead. And he shouldn't even be eating Hot Pockets at all, so there's that.

I am wondering if any of you folks don't have a microwave and how it impacts your kitchen life. Do you find yourself wishing for one, or do you not notice it's missing?

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  1. We have a microwave but I don't really think of ourselves as relying upon it a lot as I do not use it for "cooking" and we are not much on convenience foods. However, when I visit my mother, who does not have one, I realize the convenient functions that the mw serves that I would miss:

    Defrosting bread & rolls - We keep most of our bread products (bagels, tortillas, burger rolls, etc.) in the freezer and defrost them as needed. Of course, I could do this (a) on the counter, at room temperature, with sufficient forethought, or (b) in the oven, but the convenience (and energy savings, compared to a full-size oven) of the MW are nice.

    Melting Butter - You can melt butter in a small sauce pan on a stove-top burner but for easy cleanup & convenience, can't beat the mw.

    Defrosting other items, for immediate cooking - I also like the convenience of the MW to defrost items that I keep on hand for "pantry" type last-minute meal planning. These are items that, once defrosted, are incorporated into a dish that is being cooked, like raw shrimp, peas, smoked sausage, or a ham steak.

    Speeding up potato cooking -- Although a mw obviously is not essential to cooking potatoes, there are a number of dishes, typically prepared midweek when I'm trying to get food on the table within 45 minutes, where I start the potatoes in the mw -- e.g., baked potatoes, which I typically nuke for 10 minutes in the 'wave before finishing them in the oven, and chunked red potatoes on the grill, which I typically start in the 'wave.

    Taking the chill off items stored in the refrigerator: Using the Defrost setting for about 10-30 seconds,I typically nuke various items to bring them up to room temperature, including lemons & limes; butter; leftover red wine for drinking (not to serve to others but if I want a glass). Similarly, it's how I typically liquefy vinaigrette that's separated and congealed.

    1 Reply
    1. re: masha

      I recently spent 2 years living without a microwave, and for the most part I didn't really miss it. I think the biggest thing it affects is how much frozen food you can easily cook/consume.

      I mostly use a microwave now for things masha mentions: defrosting bread/rolls, melting butter, speeding up potato cooking. It's also good for heating up leftover food if I'm eating that at home (though I often do this at work anyway, where we have a microwave).

      But if you're the type of person who buys mostly fresh food, and you don't eat too many leftovers at home, you probably don't really need a microwave. I have one now, and I probably only use it about 3 times per month.

    2. I can't even tell you the last time I used my microwave, it's been years. It's out of the way in it's own space so I just let it sit there but if it was taking up counter space I would chuck it. Even when I did use it, it was for mostly just popcorn but I get much better popcorn by buying the type in the jar and popping it in a regular pot. I could never go back to microwave popcorn.

      1. I've moved into a flat by myself and while I had most of my kitchen items already, I didn't have a microwave. I thought I'd get one after the post-move budget had recovered, but so far I haven't really missed it. I mainly used the one in my last house for re-heating leftovers, something that can be achieved in the oven or on the hob for most dishes - finally discoved how good pizza is after warming in a frying pan instead of soggy from the microwave! It's more important to me for heating up food fast at work than it is having one at home.

        1. I've never had or used a microwave oven and never felt the need. That said, I've seen it used on some cooking shows that aren't dumbed down - and Jacques Pepin - and see that there some things other than reheating and such. Even so, I'm not tempted.

          What I use that counter space for is a big toaster oven by Krups. Use it every day instead of the big gas oven and wouldn't be without it. When it Krups out, and after six years it's still going strong, I'll replace it with a Breville, not a microwave.

          1 Reply
          1. re: John Francis

            What John said - I have never owned a microwave and I love a good toaster oven.

          2. I use the MW is to reheat thick, starchy foods like mashed potatoes, refried beans etc. I would miss this handy feature.