I don’t know if I am unusual in this, but in my adult life I have never owned, and almost never used, a microwave oven.
This has never bothered me, I’ve never been tempted to run out and buy one. I have never despaired because there was something that I wanted to do in my kitchen and couldn’t because of the lack of a microwave. At a “restaurant” I once worked in, we used the microwave to make scrambled egg, and to heat up beans. I can do both of these things better and almost as fast on the hob, and they did little to convince me of my need.
In fact, if anything I have felt quite happy and proud to not have a microwave. I have been smug and looked down snobbishly on people who used microwaves, and I have chuckled to myself in a superior way as I read recipes that called for microwavery.
Imagine my horror then, when recently I was forced to spend a week with no oven, no hob, no grill, no open fire. A week with no heat sources other than a microwave, and a toaster that didn’t work properly. .
To my surprise and despite all of my prejudices I have found that there are a few things that I could do with a microwave, and even one thing that it does very well.
I have managed to…
… make tea and instant coffee, because anything that generates heat will suffice to boil water.
… heat up frankfurter and bockwurst sausages.
… make scrambled eggs (overcooked and lumpy).
… cook a couple of really not bad at all risottos.
… reheat a ‘premium’ microwave meal bought from the local supermarket.
… sweat some onions with lardons of bacon to later throw in a salad.
… sweat some onions without bacon (the microwave was really really good at this!)
… melt cheese over tortilla chips.
… melt camembert
… warm up slices of pear to put in a salad
… cook microwave popcorn.
What I’ve learned
I’ve learned quite a lot actually, and none of it makes me change my mind about microwaves one little bit.
I have, for example, discovered that it takes longer to make a risotto using a microwave than it does on the hob. This seems strange to me, since the sheer speed of the thing is supposed to be one of the most compelling reasons to use one.
I also learned that premade ‘microwave meals’ taste like dog food, even if they are ‘premium’.
Most importantly I have realised that they are possibly the worst kitchen invention ever (except for serrated knives).
Quite simply, if the only cooking device you have access to is a microwave, then it is really better to make salads and sandwiches, and to go out and eat as much as possible!