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#1 Posted : Sunday, November 7, 2021 7:25:39 AM(UTC)

I'm going to assume that most people here are avid cooks. I was wondering how many people have a microwave. If so do you see it as an essential part of your kitchen or do you just use it because you have it? 

My mother has for years has been threatening to get us one as she can't believe it's not useful. I have resisted as it takes up too much space, looks ugly and doesn't do anything you can't do with a moderately well equipped kitchen. 

#2 Posted : Sunday, November 7, 2021 5:45:03 PM(UTC)

I use my microwave to store trivets and spare dish towels. Can't remember the last time I used it for its intended purpose!

#3 Posted : Sunday, November 7, 2021 6:19:19 PM(UTC)

I use it often.  For reheating, steaming using steamer for microwave (I do this often) making Onsen egg for one which is similar to coddled egg, Japanese omlette for one when I just need very small amount, cooking potatoes for quick potato salad or saute, etc.  We often have just enough leftover for light lunch for two from previous night's dinner that we reheat.  Almost all ready  made frozen Japanese foods are for microwave since most Japanese do not have full size oven.  Just a tiny electric grill. 

#4 Posted : Sunday, November 7, 2021 7:37:02 PM(UTC)
Hi Indio32, I do consider myself an avid cook, and I use my microwave daily. For me it’s essential. I remodeled my kitchen years ago, and mounted the MW just above eye level, which also freed up counter space. I use it to cook oatmeal, to reheat small portions of soups etc, heat milk for coffee, and a myriad of other uses.

That being said, if you can do all the cooking you want without one, I would resist…they take up a LOT of counter space.
#5 Posted : Tuesday, November 9, 2021 2:45:36 AM(UTC)

I use mine to prep ingredients e.g. if butter / chocolate need to be melted for a recipe or water / milk warmed before adding yeast or I need to defrost something that I forgot to get out of the freezer in time.  It's really good for cooking frozen veg and reheating leftovers, plus it's invaluable for heating up the "ice pack" that I put on my neck when it hurts.

We're currently talking to the developer who is building the house we're buying next year and my husband wanted to take the built-in microwave out of the kitchen design, but I've insisted it stays in. Not sure I'd want one on the counter though as they're huge.

#6 Posted : Tuesday, November 9, 2021 3:02:58 AM(UTC)

Many, many years ago -- back in 1980s I switched from a pure microwave to a microwave/convection oven... as we had no oven in our house. Three houses later...  I would not be without my microwave convection .. I don't have an "ordinary" oven at all now! The Combi overn is s brilliant .. Most brands make one .. Miele calls theirs a "speed oven".. and I highly recommend!!

#7 Posted : Tuesday, November 9, 2021 1:09:15 PM(UTC)

That's interesting debkellie. I also have a microwave combi oven (which died on Friday). And I was debating whether to just get a straight microwave as I think I have only used the oven function once in the 8 years I have had it. I do use my microwave a lot - for all the reasons others have mentioned. I keep frozen English muffins, cornbread, roasted tomatoes, Bolognese sauce and more - I can just pop whatever I need in microwave for a defrost and it's ready to use. I am definitely replacing it. Though it is built-in - I agree it's less valuable if it has to take up counter space.

#8 Posted : Tuesday, November 9, 2021 11:51:23 PM(UTC)

A couple of notes re: microwaves.

#1 Doesn't have to sit on a counter.  Mine (several houses) are combo units that hang above the stove top and have the only venting system in the kitchen.

#2 Consider putting the microwave in a cabinet beneath the main counter.  No reaching up and wiggling a hot cup of water across the counters and stove top. 

#3 Melting butter, cocolate, white sauce?  Put the butter in a small cup, put another equal cup with some water in with it and the butter will not spatter as it melts. 

A microwave is absolutely awful for cooking anything. Its forte is reheating.  Add a cup of water to create steam if desired.  FWIW almost all the world's microwaves are manufactured by the same company, so pay more for the pretty label, but you are getting basically the same guts. 

#9 Posted : Wednesday, November 10, 2021 8:54:13 AM(UTC)

When our kitchen was remodeled I made the microwave its own shelf and off the counter too.  Rivergait,  I wish I placed the shelf lower too.  I made mine a little below my eye level and it is awkward reaching for very hot items as it is too high for me.  Maybe, at my chest level would be perfect tor me.  Too low and it would be hard to bend down as I get older. 

#10 Posted : Wednesday, November 10, 2021 3:37:39 PM(UTC)

Originally Posted by: Indio32 Go to Quoted Post
I'm going to assume that most people here are avid cooks. I was wondering how many people have a microwave. If so do you see it as an essential part of your kitchen or do you just use it because you have it? 

My mother has for years has been threatening to get us one as she can't believe it's not useful. I have resisted as it takes up too much space, looks ugly and doesn't do anything you can't do with a moderately well equipped kitchen.

My immediate family are not cooks, and insisted on getting me one, oh, 25 years ago.  It was grand for defrosting meat and heating water.  Then it started sparking and I disposed of it, deciding to wait a month to see if I needed it. It's never been replaced.  If I had a large kitchen I might be tempted, but there isn't anything it can do for me that can't be done with a little planning on my part.

I find an electric kettle to be essential and my Instant Pot gets a lot of use.  We do have a small microwave at the office and my son that cooks won't use it, even to reheat.  He doesn't like the change in flavor and texture.


#11 Posted : Thursday, November 11, 2021 9:38:23 AM(UTC)

I'm between microwave ovens - have been since before the Great Pause began. I have a small kitchenette that used to be a walk-in closet - not much counter space, and when I had a microwave it was a compact one that sat atop my half-size refrigerator. It was just big enough to hold a dinner plate and no bigger.

I'd like to have a new microwave oven, but getting one is a lower priority than replacing the kitchen stuff that was lost in a housecleaning that I wasn't there to supervise.

I used my previous microwaves a lot, mostly for reheating, defrosting, auxiliary tasks such as melting butter, and for steaming vegetables (the great exception to the not-good-for-cooking rule).

I've heard that making a one-dish meal in the microwave is great for cutting down on dishwashing (no dishwasher here), but I've never tried it.

#12 Posted : Friday, November 12, 2021 1:43:57 PM(UTC)

I like my microwave, but it doesn't do everything, or even everything people tell you it will do - but neither does a frying pan or a kettle, everything gets talked up. I'd definitely replace it immediately if it died on me

Mine is a combination oven which is good for some things, but we will assume just a basic, simple microwave. I am however using it on dual function or as a small low energy oven more and more

First, and most obviously it is great for defrosting and reheating - I am mainly feeding a single person, and it is really handy to have things like chili in the freezer which certainly can be defrosted and reheated in minutes, arguably even better than messing about remembering to take them out and let them thaw in the fridge or at room temperature I think some things do cook well in a microwave, could sum it up as moderate amounts of thing that steam well - vegetables, fish, rice preferably in a microwave rice/veg steamer, it's not much quicker than on the hob, but for a small amount, one or two portion it gives a better result in my opinion

The other thing I use it for is prepping ingredients when cooking - softening butter, melting chocolate etc

It's also a great cat proof food safe if you are leaving something to come to room temperature!

#13 Posted : Friday, November 12, 2021 5:14:02 PM(UTC)

Love the comment about a secret cave for things you don't want the cats to get (even though they're not allowed on the counters when I'm there)!

#14 Posted : Saturday, November 13, 2021 12:20:30 PM(UTC)

I'm also in the "needed" category.  The designated counter spot for ours is a small "cubby" and that means we actually had to do a long search for a small enough one that would still fit my pampered chef rice cooker (a single use item that has more than earned its place in my small kitchen).  We also use ours for many of the same prep tasks, thawing & veg steaming listed by others but also for things like my mother's foolproof microwave lemon curd, browning butter (learned here in a blog post :) and yes - heating up coffee through the day.  We are also devoted "leftovers for lunch" people so it gets lots of use there . It's also great for a big dinners when you need to give something a quick reheat while scrambling to get everything on the table at the same time & hot.  In terms of actual cooking, my style is Dutch oven, cast iron, old school baking , BBQ etc etc but I would also replace my microwave immediately if needed.

#15 Posted : Saturday, November 13, 2021 4:50:01 PM(UTC)

In addition to all the above uses, I use the microwave to proof yeast doughs. I put a jar of hot water in the microwave, and the bowl of dough, along with a thermometer. It's easy to get the right temperature by adjusting how hot the water is in the jar.

#16 Posted : Sunday, November 14, 2021 4:24:28 AM(UTC)

Yes avocad, I read about that on smokekitchen. Very informative so thanks.

#17 Posted : Sunday, November 14, 2021 10:02:05 AM(UTC)

Our microwave broke about six months ago (or more) and before buying a new one, we decided to try living without it. We have not needed it. Not even once. Everything we did in the microwave, we can do on the stove or in the oven. Reheating, defrosting, softening butter, melting chocolate. We love having the extra counter space and the fact that we didn't have to spend money on something we don't need! 

#18 Posted : Monday, November 15, 2021 8:24:49 AM(UTC)

There's one thing you can do with a microwave that you can't do with conventional methods - reheat coffee. It won't be as good as freshly brewed coffee, but it won't be blecch either, unless the coffee was near-blecch to begin with.

Another thing I did with my microwave when I had one was cook my morning oatmeal in the bowl. It has more texture when cooked on the stove (in a heavy nonstick 1qt saucepan), but micro-cooking means no saucepan to watch or wash. You decide what tradeoff you want to make.

#19 Posted : Monday, November 22, 2021 1:06:57 PM(UTC)

Thanks everyone for your input. As there are a number of black Friday sales going on I'm going to see if I can get a small oven that's only a microwave rather than the larger types with convection ovens etc. The Sage/Brevelle compact wave looks good.

#20 Posted : Tuesday, November 30, 2021 9:56:52 AM(UTC)

I use mine almost daily. I use it for reheating leftovers, defrosting, cooking bake potatoes, cooking corn on the cob and other things. I can make a quick apple crisp on it. I cook instant oatmeal in it. Great for when I need a cup of boiling water for something. I don't have to heat up the big oven to bake one potato (I'm single). My mother and sister are also avid cooks and use their microwaves on a regular basis. 

As far as location of the microwave, I did not like the one mounted above my stove. I'm 5'2" and I was having to reach up to get things in and out. 

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