Posted in minimal moments

To Nuke or not to Nuke: do I really need a microwave?

a microwave-sized hole in my kitchen
a microwave-sized hole in my kitchen

Our microwave died a slow death. Because I am of the “if it ain’t broke…” club, I did not begin to shop or even research its replacement during its slow demise. I just watched it die.

Once it was well and truly dispatched, Gerry unplugged it, but we left it sitting in its designated spot for a couple of weeks. We were traveling. It was not a priority.

I’ve been home about 10 days. We’ve had three dinner parties, from two guests to 10. I have not missed the microwave. Hmmm. Why not?

Probably because it’s not a washing machine. Or dryer. Or freezer. Or stovetop. Or oven. Or flush toilet! I cannot fathom living a day without any of these much loved appliances.

Well, if you don’t miss it, you probably never used it much anyway, you might think. You would be wrong. I nuked several times a day. Every day.

So why don’t I miss it?

The simplest answer is because now that I don’t have it, I have found new/old ways to eat! I discovered I can live without a microwave by:

  1. planning ahead: take the meat out of the freezer the night before…
  2. finding alternatives: put the grandbaby’s bottle in boiling water for a few minutes; wrap the kabobs in foil and warm in the oven; saute or steam cold cooked veggies; slice leftover cold meat into a salad…
  3. adding some margin to my meal prep time: instead of dashing into the kitchen at 5:30 frantically hoping to be eating by six, I add at least 30 minutes so I can get things heating in the oven or on the stovetop while I chop up the salad…
  4. thinking like a minimalist: get rid of, or don’t replace, stuff you don’t actually NEED. Instead, use what you already have and enjoy the extra space.

If you work outside the home OR have tiny children OR have older children on tight after-school schedules OR rely on a lot of leftovers in your meal planning, a Nuk-less kitchen might not be for you. When I was teaching middle school and had two school-aged kids and a husband who worked full-time in ministry while obtaining a Master’s degree, my first microwave arrived amid a chorus of heavenly angels singing HALLELUJAH!

But if you work from/at home or have a flexible schedule and fewer time constraints, you might discover, like I did, that living without a microwave can be kind of fun. A challenge. A blast from the past–like the fried potatoes I grew up on but never made for the last 30 years because I could warm them quicker in the microwave.

Finally, I can’t discount the pleasure of doing something counter-culture. Going against the flow. Stepping backwards while the world rushes forward. Slowing down!

In this hi-tech age, where your bedtime routine now involves recharging a phalanx of gadgets, it feels so satisfyingly simple to slice a few cold potatoes into some sizzling olive oil and enjoy the sounds and smells of edges getting crispy. No flashing lights. No humming. no alerts.

Other than the aesthetic need to fill the microwave-sized hole in my kitchen, I do not know if I will replace it. I will need to find that one valuable task or food that cannot be enjoyed or appreciated or even used without a microwave before I will fill that hole with another microwave.

Author:

Christian writer and speaker trying to follow God one yes at a time.

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