So Long Microwave

My microwave oven was on it's last legs, but still hanging on by that proverbial thread, or wire, as the case may be. Fearful of killing it, we were cutting back on our usage, yet still trying to squeeze every drop of energy out of it before it went up in a puff of smoke (or a blaze of glory).

Then we noticed a strange thing happening. Certain jars that we store on a shelf above the microwave began popping... gently exploding. Semi-solids, like lard and peanut butter, were melting within their containers. It didn't take a genius to figure out that the five year old, lower end model, kitchen appliance was the culprit. I don't think it was ever meant to live this long, and as it lay on it's deathbed, it had begun belching radiation with every use. Not good. If it was causing damage to the food stored within its vicinity, then what might it be doing to our bodies when we are in its vicinity? So, in December, just days before Christmas, we tossed it out with the trash. I also decided that we were not going to replace it (not that we could have afforded to anyway).

Getting rid of your microwave is a lifestyle change, for sure. Just in the same way it was a lifestyle change when you first got that microwave. I'll bet you microwaved everything. The biggest benefit was the time you were saving by not "slaving over a hot stove". Working Moms could still serve a full sized home cooked meal. Holiday dinners were far less stressful. You could throw a casserole or a roast into the belly of the beast, and then go take a bath! Hot leftovers in two minutes flat. I'll bet you were even microwaving popcorn before microwave popcorn was even a thing (using the brown paper lunch bag method)! 

And then came a new generation of microwavable foods. Even foods that weren't microwavable suddenly had new microwavable instructions! We find ourselves no longer cooking, but really just heating things up. Two minutes for this, five minutes for that, and then you find yourself tapping your foot or drumming your fingers while waiting for the beep. "Come on, Man, I don't have all minute!" What happened to the glory of time saved? I just don't know.

Here's what I do know: the microwave uses much less energy than the oven. I mean, the oven has to preheat for fifteen to twenty minutes before it even reaches cooking temperature. But here's what I've learned: we are less apt to cook and eat frivolous foods when we have to prepare it, and cook it the old fashioned way. So in turn, the oven is being used far less than the microwave ever was. Which also means we're eating much healthier! Let's face it, most of those prepackaged, over processed microwavable things aren't really food. They're just microwavable things. Also keep in mind that you can buy all the fresh organic food in the world, but once you nuke it, you're reducing the nutritional value to that of a microwavable thing.

The worst part of this new lifestyle, for me, is that I have to plan our dinners one or even two days in advance so that I can thaw the appropriate meat, in the proper way (in the fridge, overnight). When I forget, then I thaw the meat in the second best way (in a dish of temperate water). And I have to consider the number of pots, pans, and stove top burners that I'll be using. Obviously I can't just throw the broccoli into a glass bowl and nuke it when all four burners are already in use.

But I also find that I'm actually starting to enjoy cooking again. When you actually cook, you become a chemist, a chef, an artist... not just a long fingered button pusher.

Here are some links to get you started on your microwave education and will hopefully result in your own anti-microwave revolution.

The Hidden Hazards of Microwave Cooking: (Health This is an extensive, in depth article citing experiments and  case studies. Long and sometimes complicated, but well worth the read.

Hidden Hazards of Microwave Cooking : ( Another extensive article citing case studies.

Microwaves Are Bad For You : ( Here's a brief top five list of the reasons to avoid microwave ovens.

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