Monday, November 15, 2010

The New Wave

It was somewhere in the Reagan era that my mother brought home our first microwave. Roughly the size of a tractor tire, it hummed ominously as it cooked our food. We were on the cusp of a culinary future!

My mother bought into the microwave craze with typical gusto. She owned several Sunset cookbooks which detailed how to make pot roast, brownies, and yes, even lobster, microwave-style. The fact that it was rubbery, gummy, and the color of a used band aid was besides the point.

True story...I was twenty five before I learned that most people did not make bacon in the microwave.

Eventually, the microwave settled into its true purpose of reheating leftovers and making carcinogenic bags of popcorn.  Like most Americans, it was a part of my kitchen landscape, along with Tupperware and Mr. Coffee.

I acquired my first microwave when I went to college. It heated up popcorn and pizza. My brother used  it next for his own college experience.

I strongly suggest that he attempted to use it as a bong. Allegedly.

I regained custody of the microwave when I moved into my first apartment, and kept it until two years ago. Sick of  its ugly white exterior and the missing popcorn sensor button, Paul and I took the leap and bought this wall-mounted wonder:

It also is a convection oven, although we have not used that feature once.

On Sunday morning, I was warming up leftover chicken burritos for breakfast, as one does. No matter how long they rotated around, they were bone cold.

Alas. The microwave was dead. It now serves as the largest kitchen timer ever.

To provide a bit of context, Paul and I are both of Lutheran Germanic/Nordic stock. This means that we are stoic, resourceful, and really, really cheap. After a quick review of the fiances, we determined that we would not repair or replace the microwave until the new year, so we would have more money for Christmas.

I am now on day one of Microwave Free Living. I did not know, until yesterday, that this is a movement. There are websites and support groups, all of which I am too lazy to link at the moment, who decry the evil of said machines. They have helpful tips and ideas, which basically boil down to....cook your food.

Yeah, it sucks as much as you can imagine.

For a minute, I played with the idea of living more purposefully, of not rushing for the sake of rushing, and for being more thoughtful about the foods I eat. This lasted until my kids wanted Easy Mac. IMMEDIATELY.

Luckily, though, I have my toaster oven to heat up leftovers.

You may notice that our toaster oven has no handle. That's okay. Paul and I figured that we could just pry it open with a spatula. After all, it's a waste of money to buy a new one when this one is perfectly functional---if you don't mind the occasional burned digit.

So, I ask you--How long do you think I am going to maintain this new lifestyle? Should I set up a PayPal account to get the microwave replaced? Or, should I just go full force and set up a fire pit in the backyard?

Perhaps I shall make fire-roasted bacon.


Cat said...

Fire pit! Dual use: it's also helpful when you need to dispose of evidence.

MiMi said...

Okay, I'm so sorry for your loss. I couldn't live without the damn microwave...or as I call it, the microbuggy. I don't know why I call it that.
Anyway. This post cracked me up in SO many different ways. Especially the Lutheran German thing. LOL

Eternal Lizdom said...

Give up on cooking and live in restaurants. No mess, no work. OK, there's that silly financial thing... but... *sigh*

Mel said...

Oh, I feel your pain. I am both frugal and addicted to my microwave. Nothing is built to last anymore it seems. I wonder how long it will take before you crack. I amazed my children last month during a power outage by refusing to give up my morning coffee. We have a gas stove, pans and matches, so, Ta Da, Fire! They were more impressed with my caffeine addiction than my resourcefulness, sadly. Anyway, condolences.

Kori said...

See, I am just the opposite; it honestly never occurs to me to USE the microwave, and ours used to be my sister's when she was first married, the FIRST time, and let's see, she is 8 years older than me and is on Marriage #3, so you know how old THAT is. Anyway. Fire Roasted Bacon? Is really good.

Anonymous said...

Becuase of your Lutheran Germanic heritage, I imagine you love Prairie Home Companion. Just as African Americans are all Democrats and love rap music, as my Native American heritage somehow makes me more in tune with nature and holisitic healing, and Leo's Irish heritage inspires his passion for potatoes.

So, of course, I now imagine your Sunday afternoons are spent listening to Garrison Keillor and eating buttermilk buscuits.

Then again, if this were true, you probably wouldn't be lamenting the loss of your microwave. Ethnic generalizations debunked yet again.

Kristy said...

Good luck to you. Ugh, I do not know what I would do without a microwave!

LB said...

OMG! I cannot begin to imagine what life would be like without a microwave. No, I don't cook in it but then again, I don't cook! I just heat stuff up!

My dad has recently acquired this new fangled contraption called a NuWave oven. He says the concept is like that of the microwave, but acts more like a real oven/broiler/steamer. He's been cooking everything in it.

Of course, he's into leading edge culinary technology. He can't use the voice mail on his damn cell phone, but he's high tech in the kitchen.

clearness said...

I was totally thinking you need a microwave just like you need oxygen to breathe...but then you said fire roasted bacon. You should totally make a photo blog about that. I want to lick the computer screen just at the thought of it. Yummy!

StarTraci said...

Oh Lord! First, I remember the Sunset books -- my mom had those, as well.

Secondly, take my TV, take my stove, maybe even my laptop, but don't take my microwave! I honestly don't know if I could live without it. But maybe that is a bad thing. Keep me posted, friend! If you can do it, maybe I will be inspired.


Midwest Mommy said...

I have a microwave but rarely use it. I think the only thing I microwave is instant oatmeal. I just realized I have no idea why, lol

Cheryl said...

omg this was hysterical! Except for the toaster part. I could not live without my toaster oven. How would i heat chicken nuggets? Can't do that in a microwave (please don't suggest I use our REAL oven. I mean, what?).

only a movie said...

Most of my cooking is toaster oven style. The microwave is for my son to melt cheese for nachos. Although I made rice in it tonight.

Bacon: on parchment paper on shallow pan/cookie sheet in 400 degree oven until it's crispy. You'll never go back.

Good luck w/ your new lifestyle choice!

Anonymous said...

Wh-wh-what?? I'm all sorts of confused.

First, I was not aware that one could live without a microwave in the New Millennium. And what is this talk of a toaster oven being useful?? Must I re-name my husband?

All my belief systems are shattered.

Coby said...

Black Friday is coming up. Go shopping, I say!

I had to laugh about the bacon in the microwave thing! It wasn't until I married Shayne that I knew you could cook bacon (gasp!) in a pan on the stove!

I recently learned of the anti-microwave movement. It frightens me. I think we should go on a witch hunt.

Michelle Pixie said...

First, I must start off by stating I have an actual bong displayed in my kitchen...Hmmmm...maybe this is why we don't do many playdates?! Bwahahahahaha

Second, I could not...I would not live without my microwave although I fear mine will be joing that same anti-microwave movement. As it seems to be protesting its position in this house and not functioning to its fullest capability.

Sonya said...

I only use mine for reheating but Im sure popping the oven on or reheating in a pan could solve that problem just as I think it's a convience thing and who knows maybe you will get used to just not having one and work around that for good :)

Kim said...

I think my kids think that's what cooking is - put it in the microwave, press a few buttons and then lunch! I feel for you. You know you'd be considered the coolest mom ever if you had a fire pit you were cooking lunch in.

Matty said...

Microwaves are like cell phones. You don't need it, but you need it. Bite the bullet and get one. Afterwards, come back and thank me. LOL

Unknown Mami said...

I feel your pain. My microwave died a few weeks ago. For the most part I'm fine without it, but how the heck am I supposed to reheat rice without it?

Erin said...

Dude, I'd have caved already.

1. Chicken nuggets
2. My instant oatmeal, which I eat probably 5 mornings a week.
3. Reheating leftovers
4. Did I mention chicken nuggets?
5. My quickie Lean Cuisine lunches which I know are sodium-laden, but they are easy and fast in the micro. And usually I need to eat two of them in order to feel satisfied. LOL.

Daffy said...

I actually hardly ever use mine but I know if it were to die a sudden death and it was no longer accessable...its all I would want to use. I might have to cry.

Minivan Lover said...

I've heard there are all raw diets out there- although I think "raw" easy mac would be dangerous for children to eat. I love that you open your toaster oven with a spatula. Kudos to you for even having a toaster oven. If my microwave broke, I'd be screwed- I only have a toaster.

Anonymous said...

Would this be a bad time to mention I have two microwaves and I really only make instant coffee/cappuccino in them? *ducking*

The Empress said...

You need it all, you are the captain of the ship, after all.