Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Microwave Free?

Our microwave is no more. An electrical short that killed the control pad. I admit, I was a little sad until we took it down from it's place over my stove and I saw how much more open my narrow little kitchen felt. Husband asked if I wanted to replace it and honestly, I don't know that I do.

Here's the thing. There are only a few functions that we used the microwave for that I couldn't find another way to accomplish without one. Popcorn, for example, can be made on the stove top or in a hot air popper. The timer function. which my kids use at least 12 times a day, can be satisfied with a magnetic timer on the fridge. My kids already use a toaster oven for some reheating, we would just use it more now.

But what about those rice/corn filled heating pads for muscle aches. Love those! Especially this time of year when my sinuses are going crazy. I read online that you could heat them up in a crockpot, but I tried one last night and after 30 minutes, it wasn't radiating much heat. Maybe I need to leave it in longer? Also, how about reheating coffee/tea when you get distracted from finishing it? Maybe one of these mug warmers?

So, what do you think? Is a microwave a necessary feature in today's kitchen? Can we live without one? I have to admit that I am leaning more and more that way especially when Husband starts talking about tiling the wall behind the stove and putting in a little spice shelf! Or maybe even a magnetic knife bar! Whoo hoo!


  1. Hello Charlotte!

    We've been without a microwave now for 5 years and don't miss it at all. I used to cook all of my vegetables for side dishes in it as well as defrost my meats and eat popcorn. It took a little getting used to making sure I defrosted my meats ahead of time but I'm happy to say that we don't miss it. We're glad for the extra space. We used to use a toaster oven to reheat leftovers, but when that broke down from use, we learned to make do without that as well. But were also the sort of people that refuse to get a dishwasher so maybe we just like making our life harder? ;-)

  2. I grew up with a microwave, but haven't had one since I married 11 years ago. It doesn't bother me one bit. I've had people try to force microwaves on me - to the point of carrying them into my kitchen insisting that I want it. But I really, really don't.

  3. We don't have a microwave. I either reheat things in the toaster over or on the stove. (You probably would need to practice to decide which way is better for which item.) To me, things actually taste better reheated one of those ways than doing it in the microwave. To reheat tea I put it in a small pot on the stove.

    I don't have any of those rice things precisely because we don't have a microwave, and I admit, sometimes using those would be nice. If it is only rice/beans/corn and the material outside isn't synthetic, then You could probably put it in the oven, but you would have to keep a close eye on it. Or maybe in a double boiler.

  4. No microwave in our home either! When we had one built in over our stove I used it as an out of the way place to store my kombucha as it brewed. I'm grateful that my parents didn't have one in the house as I was growing up. So many of my peers are "helpless" without one. My kitchen is a real camping adventure for them! :)

  5. I went for years and years without a microwave (10) and then I got one in my first house. Wow! Reheating was soooooo fast, especially for a husband that likes leftovers. I also start casseroles in them to save oven time (I live in the South). We usually hot-air pop popcorn, but the microwave stuff is quite a treat. I also heat tea and my ceramic heating pad in there. I heat dishes, steam veggies, & melt chocolate, defrost - all without heating up the kitchen. Love it! Made my busy life a whole lot easier.

  6. We had a little accident with our old microwave that I had for almost seven years. Son placed a cup of noodles in there without water. That picture sure looks like what I experienced that day. The microwave was not damaged at all but if left a bad smell for days even after being outside ventilating. We no longer had a microwave. I probably had managed withou one, but my kids are not to fond of the stove for reheating food. So we had to purchase a new one. It so much quicker. By the time you look for a pot the food is ready.

  7. I have two microwaves, over the range types. It was my husband's doings. I never thought I'd need them, but when the whole family is in the kitchen warming up left-overs, it is awesome. There is nothing like low-blood sugared teens or young adults.

  8. I know we *could* live without it, but I would not want to. Among all the quick cook/reheat/defrost things, I find it save a bit on dishes, too.

    I really like the convenience. When ours died a couple of years ago, not only did i replace it, i replaced it with a larger one. I'm glad I did.

    Have fun deciding!

  9. We've been microwave free for 6+ years now. There's no going back.

    Don't ask me how long I've been dishwasher free.

  10. We only use ours for leftovers. i am sure we could do without one, but it is very convenient. Our toaster oven stopped working yesterday and I am panicking about that. We use it soooo much. I guess you could live without your microwave for awhile and see if you miss it.

  11. My husband has been trying to get me to go microwave free for some time now. He keeps reading these articles about health concerns with using them. We actually don't use ours that much except to reheat a cup of coffee or tea and pop some popcorn. I think we use our toaster over for reheating plates of food more often then not.

    I had not even thought about how much room it would free up above our stove. I like the idea a lot!

  12. We haven't had a microwave in about 10 years. We reheat things on the stove top - DH even reheats his coffee that way. (Yuck.) I use a hot water bottle for cramps, and if we need a warm compress on the face/head we use a warm damp washcloth. If I forget my tea, I just dump it and start over. Microwaves are nice, but IMO, not worth the money.


  13. I guess half a dozen of one, six of another...
    I grew up without one (Mom had 9 kids and we survived.) newest is also a convection microwave oven, which means I can use it as an oven and at holiday times, Oh! I love it!

    Convection baking is not the same as microwavable baking. It is like a conventional oven only quicker.

  14. I use my microwave many times a day. Quick reheat of leftovers at lunchtime. Quick defrost of meat for dinner. Heating frozen vegetables for dinner. Warming tea or making quick cocoa.

    I could do all of those things another way, sure. But it would be inconvenient and many, many cups of cocoa would simply be undrunk and vegetables uneaten.

    And my bean-bag winter time footwarmers? I'm not sure I could live without them.

    Still, if money were tight and our microwave died, I'm sure I'd figure out how to make do. Good luck deciding. If it were me I'd try it for a few months. You can always decide you miss the microwave and go replace it.

  15. My microwave is as big as a car, so when we were staging our house to move we put it into storage. The space it opened up was truly wonderful. I was **SURE** we could live without it. But let me tell you, the very DAY the paperwork was signed for the house, we got that gigantic monster back. Turns out we depend on it a lot more than I thought we did! I am contemplating getting a smaller model though.

  16. My kids are very similar ages to yours. The oldest two do a lot of cooking and reheating, particularly for lunches. I prefer food reheated on the stove or in the oven but there are definite advantages to the microwave at this stage in our family development:

    1. We don't have a toaster oven so heating our oven is costly and HOT in the warm weather.

    2. Fewer dishes are used. Hoorah!!!

    3. Significantly decreased fire hazard. We have a gas stove (open flame) and a small kitchen so I am extremely ornery about kids in the kitchen while cooking. And even when the older kids cook on the stove top, I cannot justify leaving the area. All it would take is one stray feather or school paper to cause a horrible tragedy. (btw, my husband is a fireman/fire safety inspector/fire investigator so he reminds us what can happen with one moment of carelessness.) With the microwave, the older kids can use it (responsibly) and I can be in another area of the house. I don't usually cook food in it but reheating is safe and snappy.

    4. Time. We're busy. Trying to get 7 people out the door can be insane. And sometimes, little people need to be Sometimes a bit of cheese rolled into a tortilla and micro-waved is the answer to the toddler who needs to eat at the exact moment we need to be in the car. :)

    When we put our old house up for sale, I put the microwave away to make space and did without it for many months. We were fine but I am glad to have one again in our new house! I understand the joy of having the space though!! I think your unique family situation is really what you need to focus on.

  17. I've been without a microwave for a little over a year now. For the most part I don't miss it EXCEPT when it comes to reheating a cup of coffee, melting or softening butter for a recipe, heating pads, and melting chocolate for fun food crafts (it takes so much longer to dig out the double boiler). We use an air popper for popcorn which I love.

    I've gone back and forth on whether to get another one or not, since we are in the process of remodeling our kitchen soon, and finally decided to go with an extra convection oven with a microwave option. At least that is the plan! ;)

  18. Hello Charlotte,

    I enjoy your blog immensely and truly appreciate all that you share. You have blessed my little homeschool more than you will ever know!

    Microwaves: As a mom of six, everyone thinks we need a microwave but, like the other moms, we do just fine without one. It really becomes second nature to heat on the stovetop. As for heating the pillows, I have yet to figure that one out. I would love an answer to that dilemma.
    Popcorn is easy in an air popper. Then toss it in a brown paper bag, pour melted butter and salt over the top, close up, and shake. Easy and yummy!

    Goodness, now that I read all the comments, I'm thinking that maybe we do need a microwave. :-)

  19. Hi, Charlotte!

    I would trade my over the stove microwave for a tiled backsplash and a magnetic knife holder in a blink! I use mine to reheat leftovers probably...oh, once a month. I've read some of the articles debating the safety of microwaves and they really freaked me out. So our microwave is basically the most expensive kitchen timer we've ever owned :)

    Love your blog!


  20. I could live without a microwave, but am too impatient for the oven to heat up my leftovers for my lunch. And, yes, coffee. And, popcorn. And, frozen veggies so I have one less pot to clean.

    But it is just a convenience and not a necessity. Like most things in the kitchen.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts and yourself!