The Microwaveless Life

My kitchen is pretty well stocked of small appliances.  We have a toaster, a water heater, and a Magic Bullet.  We even have a mini-fridge, a left-over of dormitory living.  What we don’t have is a microwave.

When we first moved in to our new apartment about a month and a half ago, it was on our list of “Things to Get.”  As time passed, though, it slipped further and further down our to-do list.  While we wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to get one, it has slid so far down our priority list, we have no plans to get one.

I’m young enough that I’ve always had a microwave.  I’m not sure when they became ubiquitous, but it was before I was born; I don’t ever remember not having one.  (What I do remember, painfully, is one Father’s Day trying to microwave something in a saucepan– I guess no one ever told me not to put metal in the microwave.  Learned that one the hard way.)  I enjoy cooking, but now it’s a necessity to heat the stove.  Leftovers, of which I eat a lot, have to be reheated in a double boiler or in the oven.  Another hard-learned lesson:  Don’t reheat things in a dirty pan.  I didn’t bother to remove the meatloaf from its original pan, and after two or three re-heats the bits left behind had burned to a crisp.

It makes food and eating a bit of a slower process.  There’s no EasyMac option; if I’m having mac and cheese, it’s from a box.  Ovens have to preheat.  Double-boilers have to boil (and I have to make sure things don’t burn).  Sometimes, if I’m feeling particularly lazy, I eat things cold.  This is the least appetizing option.

Still, though, we’re managing.  It makes me wonder what other modern conveniences I could live without.  What do you think?

24 thoughts on “The Microwaveless Life

  1. Jean AAR

    I’m currently living without a microwave (for reasons very much as you described) and I rather enjoy it. The only problem is if I forget to defrost the meat – that’s an issue. But reheating on the stove is pretty quick, and these days I reheat on the fire anyway.

    I can do without most kitchen appliances, because I only grew up with the basic stove and oven. So I could do without a toaster. Nice, but pretty useless. Ditto rice cooker.

    But couldn’t live without water jug. Lifesaver, that one.

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  2. BethW

    I remember life without a microwave (though I was pretty young when we got one) and I am sure I could live without one if I had to. I rarely use my microwave for cooking, I pretty much just re-heat in it. It’s also good when I want to melt a small amount of butter (like to put over popcorn that I make on the stovetop), or warm up pancake syrup. Occasionally in the summer I cook something in it if I don’t want to heat up the oven.

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  3. Victoria S

    I grew up without a microwave. Anything we wanted re-heated had to be done in the oven or on the stove top. But I gotta tell you, I would readily give up my cell phone before my microwave :-).

    I mainly use microwave for re-heating, but being able to make bacon without grease popping everywhere is a luxury I am not willing to give up; neither is a 4 minute baked potato!! I find the cell phone an annoying expense. At least when I bought my microwave there were no hidden charges and fees. I just paid the guy at the counter, took it home and voila! Hot food. I am trying to get up the nerve to have a cell phonless life!

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  4. carol irvin

    There are three of us and we could not make it for one day without a microwave. One big reason for this is my husband’s elderly mother. I did not realize this but with age your sense of everything being cold drastically increases. Thus, food has to be incredibly hot for her to eat it. She is convinced normally hot food is cold. I now understand why nursing homes and rehab units have microwave units galore in their eating areas. Apart from this, the two of us use it all the time as well for everything: reheating, thawing, cooking, shortcuts, etc.,. I can guarantee if mine broke, I would be in my car immediately and buying one at Sam’s club in 20 minutes. Last time I needed one, it cost $45 and it is still going strong. Frankly, I can and do live without a tv set and a stereo much easier than I ever could a microwave. (I use my macbook for video and my iphone for audio).

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  5. Sue S

    I’m definitely NOT willing to do without the microwave. It might be different with multiple residents, but it’s just me and the dogs (and horses … and cats …).

    Now, I do like to cook occasionally — but the microwave uses less electricity, doesn’t heat up the house, is quick, and doesn’t have a problem making a single serving. I could, OTOH, pretty easily do without the OVEN! :D

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  6. LeeB.

    I’ve never had a microwave so don’t miss it. We have a couple at work but I don’t use either one.

    The other major appliance I don’t have is a tv. Since tv converted from analog to digital, I can’t use my tv, even with the converter thingie. The instructions are so difficult that I figure they made them that way so people would buy new tv’s. However I only used my tv to watch the Oscars and the rest of the year the tv went to the closet. No biggie about missing tv shows because of Hulu and Fancast and network websites. It’s great to watch tv online.

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  7. Katie Mack

    One of my strongest childhood memories is when our microwave broke and my parents didn’t buy a replacement for something like 5 years. (Don’t ask me why.)

    First I had to train myself how to cook sans-microwave, then when they got the new one, I was so used to not having one that I thought it was the most useless appliance ever. Of course, that eventually changed and I now use my combo microwave/convection oven nearly everyday. It’s the one appliance in my kitchen — other than the fridge — that really gets a workout.

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  8. Mari

    Our microwave stopped working recently and we tried to live without one. We lasted about a month and then my husband broke down and bought one. I didn’t think I cooked with the microwave, but I actually do use it a lot for cooking vegetables. My broccoli and asparagus never turned out quite the same on the stove. Also, we have a toddler and she got quite impatient waiting for us to re-heat things on the stove. I still feel like I could live without one, but it certainly is convenient sometimes.

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  9. LinnieGayl

    I do use my microwave to heat up things, probably 4-5 days a week. However, the appliance that is quickly becoming very valuable (right behind my electric tea kettle) is my toaster oven. I used to use it only for toasting English muffins and bagels. A few weeks ago a friend suggested that I use it in place of the oven in the summer so I don’t heat up my apartment. My toaster oven is pretty tiny, but it’s wonderful for cooking smaller things. I’m actually thinking of buying a larger one in the next few weeks.

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  10. xina

    We have a microwave, but I only use it for heating things up on occasion. We used to use it for popcorn, but now use an air popper (healthier), so our microwave gets very little use. I couldn’t do without my coffee maker or my coffee bean grinder. I’ve just acquired a new small appliance…a Salton Iced Tea Maker. I love it. I drink a lot of green tea and now in the summer I can make it icy cold.
    On the downside, I had a little convection oven on my counter for about a year and only used it a few times. Way too small for much of anything. It is now in the garage. Anyone want it??? :)

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