Our Microwave Broke: And I Don't Think We're Going Back

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Just before Christmas — or was it just after? —our microwave broke. Actually, I'm not sure it was broken, but it made a big spark and that was enough for me. We paid around $60 for it nearly nine years ago, so we've gotten our money's worth. We never had a microwave before we moved to this house, and we managed just fine, but I sure have gotten used to the convenience. So I've had to make a few changes since the death of the microwave.

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I used my microwave for convenience. It thaws things and reheats things quickly and I don't have to use a spare container to do it, which means less dish washing. With a little planning, almost anything can be thawed in the fridge (if there is a risk of spoiling) or on the counter (if it's bread or pastry). But I don't always plan ahead.

  1. Frozen bread: Remember those bagels I ordered for Christmas? I froze most of them. (Hey, the shipping was so expensive, I had to make it worth it by stockpiling!) I had forgotten how we did things when I was a child. Heating frozen bread, wrapped in tinfoil, in a 350° oven, is the thawing method most likely to make bread taste fresh-baked, and one bagel only takes about ten minutes, enough time for my coffee to brew and for me to grab a quick shower. My fancy bagels taste almost just like they did when I bought them at the bakery, right out of the oven.
  2. Coffee: I'm one of those gross people who reheats coffee in the microwave, then heats it again when I forget about it and find it in the microwave, cold, hours later. You know what? Pouring it into a pot on the stove works just as well. I am considering getting one of those mug warming plates to eliminate the need for re-heating.
  3. Tea: I also developed the lazy habit of making hot tea in the microwave. Seriously? It takes about the same amount of time to heat water on the stove.
  4. Melting things like butter and chocolate: Melting things is easy on the stove. I don't even have a double boiler. I just put the butter in a Pyrex measuring cup and sit it in a pot of boiling water.
  5. Frozen meat: The biggest inconvenience has been thawing meat. If I were only more organized, I would pull the meat from the freezer the night before and let it thaw in the fridge. But that takes forever, and I am not organized. I prefer my mother's method; she put it in the sink with water, changing the water as it got cold if she was in a particular hurry. I even found some weight and time guidelines on amazingribs.com.
Thaw Meat Safely: The Best Way to Quickly and Safely Thaw Frozen Meat

I can't think of a reason we have to have a microwave. It's been a month and we're doing just fine. Also, in a kitchen without much storage space, I'm thrilled to have that extra shelf. So far, it only holds my fancy plastic wrap and a piece of artwork by my youngest son.

Please share any tips you have for living without a microwave. I've forgotten what it was like without one!

(Image credits: Anne Wolfe Postic)