Can one REALLY live without that most cherished of convenience items–the microwave oven? Well, of course, the answer is yes, but it’s a question I didn’t really have to think about until I took up residence in my new spouse’s parsonage. He made the decision a couple of years ago not to replace his old one when it died. Trust me, he is not the kind of guy who has to have one to heat up frozen dinners and rewarm his coffee. No, my husband cooks from scratch, bakes his own bread, and has adapted quite well to life without one more small appliance taking up counter space. It was not a need, so he simply decided to forgo having one.
That means our household is one of only five percent in America who do not own a microwave oven, according to statistics posted on the website of the Southwest Museum of Engineering, Communications, and Computation. The only thing ranked more essential in a recent survey by the Yankelovich Monitor was the automobile (75 percent of those surveyed said it would be “almost impossible/pretty difficult” to do without a microwave).
I thought I was doing pretty well not “owning” one myself, having donated mine to a church in upstate New York when I was on internship. I never had to think about life without one, however, because every place I lived since then came with one already built-in. Clearly a lack of ownership did not mean I did without for all those years!
I’ll admit, the recent reality of not having a microwave did cause me some minor initial consternation. Defrosting meat cannot be a last minute proposition, although if desperation strikes, we have the luxury of walking next door to use the one in the church kitchen. I also failed to consider the coordinated clamor of the three teenager family members who are bent on having one, spearheaded by my 17-year-old (who has never lived without one–until now).
We’re now more than a month into microwave-less living, and I can honestly say that I really don’t miss it. I like having more counter space, and it’s really no trouble to reheat leftovers in a covered skillet or saucepan. I’m also learning to plan meals (What a novel concept!), making sure all needed ingredients are thawed and ready to go. Reheating coffee is simple using a small glass Pyrex saucepan. Of course, there’s also the added bonus of avoiding any purported health risks that might accompany the use of said appliance.
Want or need? For me a microwave oven is now neither one. Sort of makes me wonder what else we could do without in the kitchen. Just don’t anyone touch that coffee pot!
Photo by JoshuaDavisPhotography used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!)