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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Postic)