Is life as we know it possible without a microwave oven?

The microwave is possibly the most important appliance in my kitchen.

I have just survived nearly a week without a microwave oven. I know—shocking! They don’t build ’em to last. Twice in recent years our microwave oven has died and created a major disruption in our lives. I know, it’s a first-world problem, but it’s still a problem. The first time it happened the technician informed us the repairs would be upwards of $400.00 as it was a critical electronic something-or-other part that had crapped out. Yikes!

Much as I hate to relegate what seems to me to be a perfectly good appliance to landfill, we had no choice the first time it happened but to replace the ailing appliance with a newer model. Now it has happened again. We seem to have bad luck with microwaves. Even though we treat them lovingly, clean them regularly, never subject them to metal, and generally take care of them, the gods have deemed us bad appliance parents.

I wrote about our problems with various appliances earlier in Our Entire Home is Under Attack by an Appliance Virus, if you care to check it out.

When the microwave is broken, so is life as I know it.

Have you ever tried to operate your household without your microwave oven? It’s not easy. Because there are only two people in our family, our meal portions are small and require efficiency. There is no justifying putting one potato in the big oven to bake at 400 degrees for over an hour. A small chicken pot pie or mac n’ cheese can more efficiently be reheated for a couple of minutes in the microwave on a dinner plate rather than firing up the electric oven for forty minutes.

One of my husband’s most important household tasks is to make the tea every morning. He gets up much earlier than I do so he boils the water, makes the tea, and has his breakfast. When I finally appear, I nuke my mug of tea for a minute and it’s piping hot. To the horror of true tea aficionado practices, I do this several times throughout the day whenever I need a new cuppa. I expect coffee drinkers do the same thing.

One of my favourites . . . and imported! Classy.

Soup is an easy lunchtime meal solution. Most often it’s homemade and kept in individual portions in the freezer, but it is frequently the canned version. Progresso soups are particularly good and not available in Canada so I load up when I’m in the U.S. Pop a serving of soup into a soup bowl, two minutes and ten seconds in the microwave, and presto, lunch is ready without dirtying a single saucepan.

I’m a big proponent of microwaving frozen vegetables as accompaniments to whatever I’m serving for dinner. I can dish out the exact portions needed for the two of us with no waste, no cleaning and trimming, and again, no saucepan required.

For health reasons, I no longer buy microwavable popcorn or other convenience foods, but my life has been dramatically altered by not having a working microwave. Every time I go to prepare something I have to rethink my approach. We are as dependent on our modern appliances as our forebearers were on their campfires or wood stoves. We need them to cook, eat, and survive.

The truth is I could probably survive without my huge stove and oven but I cannot survive without my microwave. Imagine college dorm rooms, office, and workplace lunch rooms, or any modern kitchen without a microwave. It’s a grim prospect, scary to even contemplate. Even the dog complained and turned up her nose as she was used to having her evening meal warmed for ten seconds.

Anyway, the nice appliance repairman (is it still P.C. to say repairman?) came to my house and installed new door latches that were worn and shorting out the breaker. Life has returned to normal. Thankfully, my microwave did not have to go to landfill and I’m back in the business of heating my food with carcinogenic, deadly radiation guaranteed to destroy my general health and my fertility. I’m happy again.


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