Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Microwave - do I need one?

My microwave oven died tonight and my immediate thought was "I guess I'll have to go and buy another one tomorrow." But will I? Just thinking about what I use it for, and how much, started me wondering if I really need one. I sometimes thaw meat in it, only very occasionally cook a few green vegies, thaw an odd slice of bread when I can't wait 5 minutes for it to thaw naturally, heat the milk on the cereal in winter, cook rice and a few jacket potatoes, warm up the Playdough for my grandson when I take it out of the fridge, and very little else. A couple of hundred dollars seems rather a lot to spend for just that.

I wasn't too disappointed by its demise as I know it hadn't cooked evenly for some years. So rather than have another 'appliance panic' perhaps I will wait a few weeks and see if I really do need to replace it. The last 'appliance panic' I had was about 3 years ago when I brought home a large frozen turkey for Christmas. I opened the freezer to see a sea of liquid in the bottom of it. After a hasty phone call to a repairman revealed that the problem was 'fatal' I managed to squeeze the turkey into the freezer of the drinks fridge in the garage. Next day I bought another freezer; admittedly only about half the size of the old one. After I'd salvaged what food I could, and thrown away that which was already about 3 years past the used by date, I stopped and asked myself why I really needed a freezer.

We had no children living at home, I had a freezer in each of two fridges, I live 3 minutes walk from a supermarket, and there are other supermarkets only 5 minutes drive away that are open every minute of the year except Christmas Day. It's just that it was convenient to have six loaves of bread in the freezer instead of having to buy a loaf every 3 days, and heaven forbid that we should use the last scoop of icecream and not have another carton to open immediately. I could have put the rarely used clothes dryer in that space in the laundry taken up by the freezer, too.

So, back to the microwave. I guess most of my readers have a microwave, but do you use them to their full extent, or are they just there to heat the water for coffee or the milk for the Weeties? Both of which can be done in a kettle/jug or saucepan.

Perhaps I don't need a microwave - and I sure could do with the extra bench space. Please help me make up my mind.

27 comments:

judypatooote said...

I could survive without one, but mine only cost $39.99 at Walmart...and it has a turn table and is a GE, so i figure for that yes i need one...it does a great job of warming or defrosting.....
decisions, decisions......

jellyhead said...

We use ours almost every day - sometimes warming the milk-and weetbix, sometimes defrosting meat (I'm not always organised enough in advance); I also do our rice in the microwave - it makes great, non-gluggy rice.
Then there's the quick heating-up of leftovers in a china bowl/on a plate - it's good not to have to transfer to a pot to re-heat.

Hope this helps somehow!

somershade said...

I like your kinda thinking. Sounds like you didn't need another freezer. We bought a nice big new frigerator that stays empty. Your own suggestion sounds the best, wait a few days and see. I'm lazy at cooking, so I use mine when I cook, for veggies, but thats not to often. And as soon as you don't have one you will need it more than you thought. Funny thing huh. I change my mind. I vote, just pick one up. Get the kind that has dinner ready when you get in from the garden.

Motherkitty said...

I resisted purchasing a microwave for many years. Didn't need it, and didn't want it, I always said. Then one Christmas I found a very nice one for little money and got it. Now, we use ours every single day for every reason. Couldn't live without it. Reheating meals is so much easier, no pans to clean up, popcorn, defrosting, etc., etc. I couldn't live without it now. I do agree on the freezer, though. We never had one until our neighbor was selling a small chest-type freezer for little money. I decided I just had to have it. Now it sits mostly empty in my garage.

Does that answer your question? Sometimes we get bogged down in the "gotta have it" syndrome and once we have it, we discover that we really could have lived without it after all.

Tanya said...

I don't have one. And HATE cooking. But can still do without. All I would use if for is to heat up my coffee three times because it takes me so long to drink it.

Peggy said...

I have one and use it to warm leftovers and for popcorn. Its the kind that also bakes and broils like a regular oven so when we finish our kitchen I will only have a wood cookstove and this microwave will help alot in the summer months. But the prices are way down on microwaves and there are some really nice looking smaller ones out there. You might find a small one to take up less space and still be there for what you need.

Flossy said...

I only use the microwave for reheating, mainly.
Ours is getting old too, and I was thinking the very same as you, just the other day! Do I really need another one when this one goes?

Garden Obsession said...

I COULD go without one, but I won't relish it. Wait a couple of weeks and see if you miss it though. I've got a friend who cooks at home more than I do (and cooking DOES include heating up a frozen dinner to me) and hasn't had one since she lived at home with her parents. She does have a toaster oven, however. I wouldn't want to be without either of them!

Val said...

Resist resist resist! Join a very elite group of people (self included heh heh) who get by perfectly well without a microwave. You already have the equipment in your kitchen to do everything you need to do. And $200! What could you not do with this instead? Imagine spending even half of that on Spring bulbs which are ready now to be planted, and watch that money blossom in a few months' time. The alternative is having that machine take up space in your kitchen, and if you've been storing it on the kitchen bench, think of the extra space you'll have. LESS IS MORE!

Kerri said...

I have to go with the 'use it every day' group. I'd hate not to have our microwave. Now that there's just the two of us to cook for (and I'm working) I like to cook enough for a couple of meals and heat up leftovers the next night. They taste just as good as the first night when done in the microwave.
We use it constantly for heating tea and coffee (I take ages to drink mine too Tanya :) and I do lots of veges in it.
Of course, it's totally a matter of personal preference....good luck deciding :)

Shell said...

If mine happens to die or is reclaimed (it is on loan from Ben's parents who are travelling the country) I won't be getting a new one. I only use mine for thawing frozen stuff or reheating leftovers. Occasionally I use it to make gravy or two minute noodles or something like that, but really, how hard would it be for me to pull out a pot and turn on the stovetop?

I think we are sold a lot of stuff without even thinking about why we really need it. We live in a world of so many appliances and we think we need them all. I lived without a microwave for years and had no idea what I was missing - really, I still don't!

Calidore said...

I had this problem about 18 months ago. I resisted for a while, but in the end bought a convection microwave - cooks normally as well as microwaves. Handy when I run out of gas for the stove/oven. While the children are at home it is so handy, but not sure I will want one they leave.

shellyC said...

The ONLY thing a microwave is good for is to re heat Lasagne!!!! Lasagne just doesn't re heat well in a saucepan.....when you want it quickly!!!!

I didn't have one for years!!

Kali said...

I think it's definitely a convenience appliance for us, even though we do use it every day. Though when it isn't there we all seem to notice it. I could retrain myself if I had to.

Kerri said...

So, how confused are you now? Funny thing...I was reading 'Good Housekeeping' mag last night and opened it up to an article called 'Not your mother's microwave'. Apparently, they've come a long way. It's interesting reading all the different opinions. I'd hate not to have one. I find it so convenient.

ms*robyn said...

I don't have one and never have.

Zoey said...

I mostly use mine to heat up my cold cup of coffee and defrost meat. Never cook anything in it.
Still, I use it daily and would hate to be without it.

Googs said...

When mine broke I resisted for ages until the kids begged me for a new one. The great thing about my new one it does 1 minute at the press of a button, press it twice for 2 minutes etc, reheats a dinner plate and does all these other functions.

Jude said...

I'm with Kerri - we couldn't live without ours. (I say 'we' because He does more of the cooking than I do.) When the old one died a couple of years ago we replaced it with a large, you-beaut $800 model. Saves time, electricity and heating up the kitchen. Use it all the time for vegetables - jacket potatoes, pumpkin, sweet potato, corn-on-the-cob, brocolli, brussels sprouts. I go along with the theory that, unlike boiling, with the microwave none of the flavour or vitamins get thrown out with the water.

Also... wonderful for heating up a wheat-bag for relieving aches and pains - or to take to bed on a cold night!

Alice said...

Jude
I think you might have almost clinched it - how else can one heat up a wheat-bag in a hurry?

shellyC said...

oh yeah..a heat wheat and popcorn!!

Val said...

Boiling vegetables? What about steaming them in one of those stackable steamers that sits on ONE burner, or stir frying. Haven't read here of any non-frivolous uses of microwave that can't be done with what's already in your kitchen. I remain unconvinced!

ms*robyn said...

I actually worry about long term affects of microwaves, I know, I know 'they' say they are safe - but that's what they said about asbestos. this post has certainly opened a can of worms.

Wendy A said...

What an amazing response. 23 comments. I say you need a microwave. You never know when an emergency may arise and you need to cook potatoes in a hurry. They are really cheap now too. Worth the price. Excellent post.

Maggie Ann said...

I love mine...its spoiled us with quick baked pototoes, heated up left-overs for lunchs...and oh the popcorn bliss. Just punch the popcorn setting and it does everything for me but tear open the bag. Yes, I'd definetly say I vote in favor of having a microwave oven....smile. And did I mention that we heat rice bags every night for my husband's aching bones? And, sometimes very cold things bother my teeth so I pop even a glass of juice in the microwave for 30 seconds to take the chill off. Thanks for your post Alice...I didn't realize how much I do like and use that microwave!

Kerri said...

Oh yes....I forgot popcorn! (Ross will even do that himself:) and yes,wheat bags (we have corn bags)....work great on aches and pains and to warm up on cold nights. Kylie gave me slippers that heat in the microwave....same idea...lovely for warming cold feet. Hooray for microwaves!!!

Randa said...

With the exception of Val, I am surprised to see that all of your commenters are all for the use of the microwave. We used to have one when our children were small. When it died, we did not purchase another; we decided that we did not want to prepare food with a microwave. People may use the 'convenience' argument...We have altered our approach to cooking so that the 'convenience' factor is not an issue. Planning ahead is everything...and patience is always a good quality to hold :)