Living Without a Microwave Oven

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This is a guest post from my friend Jodi over at JodiMichelle.com. They’ve been living without a microwave since last summer, so I jumped at the chance to have her share her story here. {By the way, she’s promised to post video of herself dancing routine from a popular song. Jodi…..we’re waiting. 🙂 }

The journey to getting rid of our microwave started about 4 years ago when we went to Virginia to visit friends over Christmas.  I have such great respect for these friends, they’re near and dear to me and so much farther ahead in living responsibility and taking care of our earth but when I noticed they didn’t have a microwave sitting on their counter I was very literally shocked.

SHOCKED!

I had no idea that it was “acceptable” to live without a microwave.  I mean, how did they make their oatmeal?  Or cook their chicken?

Oh yes.  I grew up with a mother who would bake things in the oven and if it wasn’t done to her satisfaction she’d whip it in the microwave before serving it to us.

I was dumbfounded to watch our friends warm up their left overs on the stove, in a pot or pan or whatever it took.  Quickly heating up a casserole under the broiler for a few minutes.  What was even more amazing to me was that it worked.

Living without a microwave

Oh, I wish I was kidding you, but this was a whole new idea to me – one that I was sure had failure written all over it, I actually had the conversation with my husband that we should (wait for it) buy them a microwave before we left as our thank you gift to hosting us for the holidays.

So that was my first clue to living without a microwave and when we came home I quickly turned to my husband and said, I’m throwing it out!  We can live without one!  But I was vetoed.  He wasn’t ready for it so we kept it on our counter and used it once in a while, still making instant oatmeal and reheating the leftovers when needed.

It started to blow the breaker every time we’d use it though.  Which spells trouble to me when I’m putting my food into a box that has the potential of blowing my house up … yeah.  Not so good.

Fast forward to when my niece came for a visit from Arizona this past summer – they also don’t use a microwave and she was so against eating something from a microwave (or wearing sunscreen) that she ate dinner cold at our house one night.  Not sure why I didn’t just pop it in the oven for her, but she sat there happy as a clam to eat cold lasagna unaltered from the waves of our death box on the counter.

Which is when I finally decided to cut it out already.  The microwave had to go.  My husband still had feelings for it though so instead of using it – it sat there on the counter for a couple months while he got used to the idea of letting it go.  But then it broke and I threw it out.  He rescued it and it now sits on the floor in our mudroom – and he does use it every once in a while, but it’s a complete pain to prepare whatever it is he wants and then to go out in the cold mudroom, get on the ground and push those buttons.  He has a bad back, too, so this won’t last long.  (I’m only sorta happy about that in a very sinister way.)

It’s amazing how living with the microwave has changed how we prepare food.  I just don’t make HUGE batches of anything anymore because really when I thought I was making extra food for additional meals later (left overs) I was taking up valuable real estate in my fridge with rotting food, because we never ate the left overs – and I’d keep preparing large portion meals for more left overs through out the week.

The microwave was like a permission slip to gluttony that we just never cashed in … but in the end it cost us hundreds of dollars every year in groceries I’d throw out and packaged food I would buy that didn’t fill our tummies or nourish us in any way.

We eat oatmeal, but it’s stoneground and soaked now and the leftovers we do have become ingredients in other meals or soups … or we just reheat on the stove.  I’ve been more intentional about preparing food now because there is no lazy way out.

I haven’t done much in-depth research on why a microwave is bad for you but I’ve heard and read enough to agree with that statement and we’re now a happy, hippy family!

Thanks Jodi!

And to my readers that haven’t yet met Jodi, she’s fabulous at oversharing on her blog. Her writing is simply fantastic.

15 Comments

  1. Kate

    Yeah, we live without one too! It does get easier with time, huh? I got lucky in that once we decided to get rid of it, my husband was truly adamant about wanting it gone. Heating in the oven or on the stove is fine, although I do wish I had a toaster oven…someday.

  2. Kelly the Kitchen Kop

    Ours is still there, but I literally use it maybe 3 times a year or so. Eventually I think we’ll get one of those combo microwave/convection ovens, and then never use the microwave part, but it will be nice just having it installed above the stove like normal instead of my toaster oven that takes up so much counter space. The convection bake feature is the main thing I use on my toaster oven anyway.

    One tip I have for making it easy to avoid the microwave is having a hot water tap. You can quickly thaw things or make tea or coffee or whatever, I love it!

  3. Heather

    I KNOW all the reasons for getting rid of the microwave, but I am still having a hard time pulling the plug…perhaps it’s because it’s what I have known all my life, or probably more correctly, it’s the fact that I would have to do MORE work in the kitchen 😉

  4. Sarah Bauer

    We haven’t had a microwave for 2 years and really don’t notice it gone anymore. We do have a convection toaster oven that we use quite frequently and that is nice for reheating things. It does take a bit more prep time (like remembering to get meat out the night before), but overall, there’s not a huge difference in not having one. I went through a phase in childhood where ours went out and we didn’t have money to get another one at the time, so we went without a microwave for a while, so I was prepared for what it would take to go without one. Some times it’s frustrating, but mostly….I’m just glad we chose the option where we know what’s happening to our food as we cook it. 🙂

  5. jodi

    Thanks for the love Donielle 🙂 the video of some crazy dance is coming this spring. Costumes. You know, hard work.

    • donielle

      @jodi, Oh man – you’re going all out aren’t you?!

  6. Marillyn @ just-making-noise

    We’ve been living without a microwave for over 3 years and going strong! We don’t miss it one bit! I am so glad we got rid of it and now I can taste the difference between food warmed up in the microwave or on the stove top. There’s just this off taste with food that comes out of the microwave. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen often and most of our friends know better than to use the “nuke-wave” around us 🙂 LOL!!!!!!!!!!

    • donielle

      @Marillyn @ just-making-noise, I agree, the flavor or texture is way off. My problem right now is trying to keep enough pans clean to reheat things in!

  7. annie

    We only used ours for reheating food, then only for cooking baked potatoes, and then nothing at all. And then it broke some years ago and I love how much extra counter space we have. Some people think it’s weird (along with our lack of a TV) but it’s not that big a deal to heat things on the stove or in the oven. And, I discovered I prefer things reheated in the oven better b/c they stay crispy or crunchy or whatever texture they were supposed to be. True, I have to be somewhat more intentional about our food, but we are on a life long journey to become ever more intentional about our lives so this fits right in. And, since we only use glass to store food (and mostly canning jars at that) if worst comes to worst, I can always put the container straight in the oven rather than waiting for the food to thaw out so I can get it out of its container. I do still use the microwave at work since there is no stove or oven. That’s just b/c I like hot food. My husband lets his stuff defrost through the morning and eats it cold at lunch time. We’ve even made popcorn on the stove, although this is a skill I have yet to perfect.

    • donielle

      @annie, I really need to buy more glass! I feel so bad that my husband has to reheat his food at work. I’m just afraid they’ll break or he’ll lose them. (it happens often!)

  8. H

    We haven’t had a microwave for about 3 years. I think they are nasty and promote bad eating. They make it easier to buy prepackaged foods which in my opinion is a waste of chewing!

    • donielle

      @H, “a waste of chewing” Love it!

  9. Concerned

    Why would anyone be SHOCKED! not to see a microwave. What’s the big deal. Did we always have microwaves? I never liked microwaves and the one that came with my Townhouse looks as new as it did 3 years ago when I moved in. Is is that we can’t stand to wait for our food to heat up? Is is that we really don’t know how to heat food up with out that harmful big box? Where the problem comes in is at work where a microwave is usually the only option available. Let’s insist on toaster/convection ovens and steamers!

  10. Melody

    In case anyone’s searching the archives – we said goodbye to our microwave when it broke last year, and have never regretted it. I got a fancy toaster convection oven at a yard sale for $15, and we love it. You can actually make a pretty convincing argument against the microwave based on taste alone. It’s like night and day.

    We have glass rubbermaid containers for leftovers, so they can go straight in the toaster from the fridge. A few servings take only a few minutes to heat up, and you can get crispy leftovers again. The only hard part was when we had family over for christmas and we tried to heat up leftovers for 6 people quickly. Next time I’ll go for the broiler for that job.

    To thaw things, we just use a bag submerged in water – hot water if we’re in a hurry. Someday I’ll find a non-bag replacement, but I figure that using freezer bags to make it easy for us to eat convenient real food meals is better than the alternative.

  11. IBangOutRealFood

    Ok, ladies, get this one: I actually lost a friend because I don’t use a microwave! He bought a burrito frozen, and came over with it. Ha haa, I cook my food on the stove, I said. Be happy to bake it for you. Nope, he couldn’t wait 10 – 15 mins for the oven. He left and accused me of still living in the 18th century! Hey, fresh bread everyday has me spoiled, and I will never, ever miss hotpockets. Fresh pizza, cookies, soups from scratch… if this is the 18th century, leave me there! I don’t care!
    I just do not trust the microwave, the food doesn’t come out right. Have you seen what it does to marshmallows? It’s not right.

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