Living Without a Microwave

Last night the gods of popcorn decided that I shouldn’t have a microwave anymore. (Read: popcorn caught fire in my microwave, and the microwave promptly died.)



Everyone is okay (…except the microwave, and the popcorn). But the hubs and I thought it might be a good idea to see how long we can go without instead of immediately buying a new one! I grew up without a microwave until I was about 13 or 14 (around the same time we got a VCR and cable TV…) and I survived. We used to reheat leftovers on the stove (!) like cavemen.

Benefits of being Microwave Free (Part 1)

  • Potential health benefits? Some (sort of sketchy) studies seem to show that microwave cooking can be bad for you. I haven’t found proof of this in any legit place (only on rant-y, alternative health blogs) but it’s a possibility. The list of potential problems associated with microwaved food includes but is not limited to: carcinogens in food, brain-damage, hormonal imbalances, decrease in nutritional value of the food, and stomach problems.
  • Fewer prepared foods (not really applicable). We already don’t eat many frozen meals, but I guess this microwave ban will encourage us to keep doing so.
  • Save $100+ bucks since we aren’t buying a new one (yet).
  • More storage space. Instead of having a big box on top of my fridge, now I can keep other things there! It already looks nicer.
  • Hazard – it is definitely bad to heat things up in the microwave in plastic (the plastic leaks , and we do this all the time when we heat up leftovers. Bad bad bad! I know we shouldn’t, but I am often too lazy to transfer the food to something safer.
  • Microwaved food is mushy to me. (See part 3, second bullet – “heating leftovers”.)

Drawbacks to being Microwave Free (Part 2)

  • Heating wax. I do my own waxing and i always heat it in a microwave. I will have to figure out a different option!
  • Frozen bread/bagels. I always freeze bread, bagels, etc… if I know we won’t finish them while they are fresh. I almost always reheat them in a microwave – it’s hard to cut them while they’re frozen and hard, and if you toast bread that has been frozen it doesn’t always heat all the way through (most of the time it does).
  • Hard to make popcorn. After the microwave popcorn failure I tried to make popcorn on the stove, and it was a flop. The popcorn did not pop completely so the pieces were harder than usual, and some of the kernels burned before even popping. Definitely need to find an alternative to microwave popcorn. But I don’t have it that often, so this is not a huge inconvenience. (My popcorn recipe here.)
  • Bobby can’t heat up his coffee. (I make him coffee in the morning but if it gets cold he reheats it in the microwave.)

Things you might think would matter but really don’t (Part 3)

  • Heating water. I already use my stove to heat water (usually in a tea kettle) and I actually prefer it to using the microwave. Not sure why – maybe because it’s hard to get the right temp from microwaved water?
  • Heating leftovers. I prefer my food room temperature, so I usually just take leftovers out of the fridge 15 minutes or so before I want to eat, and then dig in.

Appliances I Love Way More Than A Microwave (Part 4)

  • My rice cooker (present from my in-laws). Best present ever! (Smaller than a microwave.)
  • French press coffee maker. (Smaller than a microwave.)
  • Tea kettle. (Smaller than a microwave.)
  • Burr grinder (for coffee). (Smaller than a microwave.)

Do you have any additions to my lists? Do you have a microwave? Could you go without? What cooking appliances do you use the most?

21 Comments on Living Without a Microwave

  1. VeggieGirl
    5 May, 2011 at 9:55 am (5 years ago)

    I NEED my microwave! It’s my quick way to make oats, haha.

  2. coco
    5 May, 2011 at 10:13 am (5 years ago)

    I think I use kettle more than anything else! 🙂
    glad that you and Bobby are okay.

  3. Sylvia @ LifeIsGoodWithFood
    5 May, 2011 at 10:14 am (5 years ago)

    Awww, I remember when that happened with my friend’s microwave while I was away in college! I was making instant ramen noodles and opened the lid, then popped it into the microwave. You would think that’d be the end of it, right? Wrong. Apparently I didn’t um, add water? So the noodles that were already dried dried up even more, exploded the microwave, our suite filled up with choking smoke, all my suitemates’ rooms were filled with smoke, all our clothes and bed covers and blankets stank of smoke, and the firefighters wrestled the microwave out onto the grass outside our suite… oh, plus the fire alarm went off so everyone in our dorm community had to run out like a fire drill. There was one girl who was showering and she looked really, really upset… or pissed. So I definitely know how you feel about the mishap with the microwave!

    As for using the microwave, I really don’t use it much now that I have a cute toaster oven. It’s not worth turning on our oven to heat up a waffle or a Pop-tart (not that that would work in a microwave anyway) but the microwave I have at home is ANCIENT. Meaning, it’s huge and my brother and I have burnt batches and batches of popcorn before… It survived.

    The microwave, I mean. Not the popcorn. That went straight into the trash from the microwave. 🙁

    • Maggie
      5 May, 2011 at 5:30 pm (5 years ago)

      @Sylvia: OMG that’s terrible!

      P.S. I think I really want a toaster oven now.

  4. Lisa @ I'm an Okie
    5 May, 2011 at 11:15 am (5 years ago)

    I’d have a hard time with no microwave because of the leftover factor. I constantly eat leftovers.

    • Maggie
      5 May, 2011 at 5:29 pm (5 years ago)

      @Lisa: The way I did it before when I had no microwave growing up was putting the leftovers in a pan and kind of sprinkling a little bit water over them, then covering them and heating on medium. It works pretty well!

  5. Yin
    5 May, 2011 at 11:25 am (5 years ago)

    To be honest, I never use my microwave at home anymore, but I have to at work if I want to not spend ten dollars a day on food.

    • Maggie
      5 May, 2011 at 5:28 pm (5 years ago)

      @Yin: I (usually) bring my lunch but I don’t microwave it… I guess I am lucky that I don’t like to warm it up 😉

  6. janetha @ meals & moves
    5 May, 2011 at 12:42 pm (5 years ago)

    I am interested in seeing how you do! My husband hates it when I use the microwave and I know he would like it if ours broke. I try to use it sparingly. I would rather just have a toaster oven to heat leftovers.. but I suppose I could stop being a lazy butt and use the actual oven.

    • Maggie
      5 May, 2011 at 5:27 pm (5 years ago)

      @janetha: I do kind of want a toaster oven! they are very convenient and i’ve never had one.

  7. tea-bag
    5 May, 2011 at 3:25 pm (5 years ago)

    i have to say, i do love my microwave. i don’t use it for everything but i do use it everyday. i love 3-minute protein cakes & egg white puffs. it’s just so damn convenient! plus i pop popcorn every other day … but now i’m nervous of fires! 🙁

    • Maggie
      5 May, 2011 at 5:26 pm (5 years ago)

      @tea-bag: I still haven’t made a protein cake! I wouldn’t be too nervous of fires… I’m pretty sure the microwave was about to die anyway and it did something funny to start it 😛

  8. Christina (Dinner at Christina's)
    5 May, 2011 at 5:17 pm (5 years ago)

    I do the same with bread. I just take it out of the freezer and put it in the fridge the night before and it’s ok by morning. Or, try leaving it on the counter a few minutes before toasting it. That works too.

    I just made popcorn on the stove for the first time and it was successful! Iused a heavy bottom pot, a couple tablespoons of oil, about 1/3 cup of kernals and a wire splatter cover over the top. This helped keep heat in, but steam out, which helps it pop.

    • Maggie
      5 May, 2011 at 5:19 pm (5 years ago)

      @Christina: Oo awesome thank you! I will try your way 🙂

  9. Mimi (Gingersnaps)
    5 May, 2011 at 9:45 pm (5 years ago)

    I’ve wanted to try this, actually. Leftovers taste way better when warmed in the oven anyway.

    I don’t buy into the “microwaves are evil” argument. The only thing I ever heard that had some decent backup was the B content got degraded some. But for other things, because you use much less water, the good stuff stays in the food.

    But it’s bad not having a microwave if you have frozen veggies that you don’t want to boil the nutrition out of. Hmm…

    Let me know how your experiment goes!

    • Maggie
      17 May, 2011 at 3:42 pm (5 years ago)

      @Mimi: I haven’t tried warming them in the oven yet! It seems like a waste to turn it on for just 1 plate. Wish I had a toaster oven 🙂

  10. Kath (My Funny Little Life)
    6 May, 2011 at 9:55 am (5 years ago)

    Interesting post! I grew up without a microwave (my mom didn’t want one because of potential harms for your health), and I never had one later. I just bought a little toaster oven and rice cooker and they serve me very well. 🙂

  11. Sarah L.
    7 May, 2011 at 11:33 am (5 years ago)

    My roommate and I gave up our roommmate after it started shooting scary sparks at our food all time. We are very happy with the decision. I haven’t had that problem with frozen toast but I just slice my bagels before freezing and that has worked for me.

  12. Arlene @ Adventures in Weight Loss
    7 May, 2011 at 4:15 pm (5 years ago)

    I still have nightmares of living without a microwave. When I first graduated from college and got my own apartment, I didn’t have a microwave to put in it. I didn’t realize just how often I used that thing until I had to do without it.

    I hated having to heat leftovers in a pan, thus dirtying two dishes instead of one.

    As a side note, my family didn’t get its first microwave until I was in middle school (about 1983). It was one of those behemoth-sized Sharp Carousel microwaves and it was still working when they died 20 years later, in 2003.

    • Maggie
      17 May, 2011 at 3:42 pm (5 years ago)

      @Arlene: LOL we didn’t get one until I was in middle school either, but that was much later! (circa 1999-2000).

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