To nuke or not to nuke…that is the question.
Does a Microwave Belong in a Traditional Food Kitchen?
According to recent statistics, it is estimated that 90 to 95% of American households own and use a microwave oven on a regular basis. The reason most people give for using one is that it’s “almost impossible” to feed your family without one. Whaaaaat?
I was completely blown away by that statement. That is a staggering number of people who have no idea how to cook. And have no idea what a microwave oven does not only to their food, but to them and their families.
I have read so much about what exactly microwave ovens do to food and to the human body that I actually got rid of mine several years ago. There are several articles online about it if you want to check it out.
This one from Natural Society talks about the dangers of electromagnetic radiation (which is what microwaves are) on the human body. It also addresses the depletion of nutrition and formation of carcinogens in microwaved foods.
And this article by Dr. Mercola delves deeply into the science behind the damage that microwaves cause to people while microwaving their food, and by eating food that has been microwaved.
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I think that ditching the microwave is one of the most important changes you can make transitioning to real foods for several reasons other than the inherent dangers. One of which is that it makes you be more deliberate in your food choices.
I am not a stranger to a non-microwave household. When my dad brought the first one home I was a junior in high school. (I know, you can’t believe that I’m that old, right?!?) As an adult I always had one in my kitchen. While I never actually cooked things in it like casseroles or cakes or anything, I used it to reheat leftovers. And I used it to thaw things at the last minute. Since we all know that happens.
I also used it to bake potatoes, and to melt butter. My kids used it more than I did for things like instant oatmeal, nachos, and lots and lots of microwaved popcorn.
We live in such an instant society that after years of “instant” meals there was more of a transition period than I expected. I really didn’t think I used it as much as I did. And since I don’t really keep snack-type foods in the house, there were days when I was at a loss at lunch time. Cuz you can only eat so many sandwiches, ya know?
After a while, though, it really wasn’t that big of a thing. I haven’t bought instant oatmeal in years. I prefer to soak it overnight now – and it’s almost as fast to cook as the instant. And after fixing nachos the “old-fashioned” way for my son under the broiler, he much prefers that to the microwaved kind.
Leftovers go into the oven to reheat, or are made into something else (because they’re planned overs, not leftovers), or go into the soup pot. Butter is melted on the stove in this cool little cast iron pot I found.
And I’ve come up with some great real food recipes that can be prepared straight from the freezer, like this Crockpot Venison Goulash, for those days that are too full. So that covers pretty much everything except the popcorn.
Hopefully, soon I will figure out how to make non-soggy stove top popcorn. If you know how to do that will you please share your method with me? Pretty please? With unrefined, non-GMO sweetener on top?
What would be your biggest challenge in giving up your microwave?
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Heather Barney says
Great points. Just wondering, we eat a lot of rice, so what is a good way to reheat it without a microwave?
Hi Heather! That’s a great question. We eat a lot of rice, too, and here’s what works for us.
Because rice always tends to dry out a bit in the refrigerator, it always benefits from adding some moisture when reheating. I put the rice in a small saucepan and add about 2 tablespoons of liquid for every cup of rice. Cover it and heat on medium until it’s warmed through. Make sure to stir the rice occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
The liquid I use depends on what I’m going to do with the rice. If I used broth when I made the rice, I’ll use broth to reheat it. If I used water when I made it, I can use anything to reheat it with. Sometimes I reheat the rice for breakfast and I will use milk or cream. In that case, I use more than 2 Tbsp so that it is a porridge like consistency.
And, lastly, if I’m going to be adding it to something else I just make sure there’s enough liquid so that the rice isn’t dry.
Hope that helps!
Love the article, thanks for sharing. 🙂 I think I will try microwave-less from now on.
I found a good method for stovetop popcorn a while back. I heat oil in a pot on high (making sure it doesn’t smoke) and then put two kernels in and cover. I use olive oil because I like the taste but I’m not sure if that’s the best because of smoke point.. you could use butter or rapeseed oil. Once both kernels pop you know you’re good to go, so then you can take out the two kernels and add in the rest of the kernels. Then I take the pot off the heat and as the kernels are popping open the lid slightly once or twice. It should be fully popped in about a minute or 2. Best popcorn ever imo 🙂
Oh yay!! Thank you for sharing that, Lauren. I will definitely be giving that a try!