In my 20s, I'd use my trusty microwave to heat Chinese food leftovers or to make nachos on flimsy paper plates. By the time I hit 30, I thought I'd outgrown using this pedestrian appliance as a cooking method. It sat cold on my countertop, serving instead as a makeshift breadbox.
How Moving in with My Partner Changed My Relationship with My Microwave
Then, two years ago, I moved in with my partner, Mike. His kitchen was equipped with a small toaster oven (great for blueberry Eggos, but terrible if, say, you want to cook an entire frozen pizza), an electric stovetop, a microwave, and that's it. No oven.
At first I ignored his microwave, even though it's quite prominent in our tiny kitchen. I wasn't impressed with the dark brown specks burned into the bottom and sides. There's not even a rotating glass plate! I used it as a last resort — usually just to heat up a mug of water for tea.
But, over time, something shifted. I started to rely on the microwave for more and more of my food preparation, and I can honestly say I've come to love this kitchen appliance. Sure, it'll never compare to other methods of cooking when it comes to developing deep flavor, but that's okay — I've come to terms with that. It's become an important, useful tool all the same for everything else it can do.
Here are six reasons why I love my microwave.
1. It makes cooking side dishes a snap.
My microwave is a side-dish ninja. It can cook up Trader Joe's frozen brown rice in three minutes flat. Steamed veggies? Easy-peasy.
Bonus: Because I can steam veggies without using a bunch of pots and pans like I would on the electric stovetop, I'm preparing veggie sides more often, too.
Nuke those veggies!
2. The built-in timer is a lifesaver.
I use the built-in timer on my microwave almost every day. I'm always setting it for keeping track of cooking fish, pasta, or anything else that's finicky. Yes, I know my phone has a timer, but then I have to have my phone in my kitchen. Plus, I'm a lot more willing to touch the microwave buttons with dirty fingers than my phone.
3. It's the answer to easy eggs.
Clearly the microwave can warm leftovers quicker than an oven, and it can also soften butter with a few quick bursts of heat. But where it really shines is making eggs in a snap, with no additional cooking fat required. Omelets, scrambled, poached; however you like it, it can be done in under a minute.
Read more: Quick Meal Ideas for the Microwave
4. It's a decent defroster.
A 14-second zap defrosts bagels perfectly before toasting them. And you can defrost meats safely, too. When you're in a rush, the ability to defrost dinner quickly is downright wonderful.
Read more: 5 Ways to Safely Thaw Frozen Foods
5. It's a secret cleaning weapon.
6. It can warm up other things besides food.
When I'm feeling under the weather, I use my microwave to warm up my aromatherapy neck pillow. I also use it to warm up my eye mask before bed. You definitely can't do that with an oven!
Do you have a microwave? Do you love it as much as I've learned to love mine?