Microwaves: How Often Do You Use Them?

Microwaves: How Often Do You Use Them?

  • Never.

    Votes: 2 9.5%
  • Rarely. Sometimes, I need to reheat my coffee, but that's about it.

    Votes: 3 14.3%
  • Occasionally. I use it to mostly to reheat things, but not much for cooking

    Votes: 8 38.1%
  • Frequently. Besides reheating foods, I sometimes use it to cook.

    Votes: 7 33.3%
  • All the Time. I use it for every heating and cooking need, and I rarely use the oven or stove.

    Votes: 1 4.8%

  • Total voters
    21

The Late Night Gourmet

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Morning Glory started a similar topic several years ago:

Microwave magic?

But, we have a lot of new people since then, and so I wanted to gauge the temperature of the room.

I'm well aware that restaurants tend to shun them, and with good reason: when you go out to eat, who wants to have their food cooked in a microwave? Likewise, anyone who's watched cooking channels, like the Food Network in the States, has seen a similar attitude. It's the chefs who run the shows, so seeing the same opinion isn't a surprise.

So, what do you do in your kitchen? I find that most of the microwave usage in my house falls into two categories:
  1. Reheating something, like a coffee that's cooled down, or a meal from the previous day.
  2. Kids heating up a frozen dinner. As much as I'd love to provide freshly cooked food for my family every day, there are so many hours in the day, so this is not an uncommon thing.
Last night, I decided to make parmesan-crusted tilapia. I wanted to steam some brussels sprouts to go with it, which would have taken about 20 minutes, but my wife wanted baked potatoes. The tilapia bakes in 10-12 minutes, whereas a potato takes 40-45 minutes. The solution? The microwave! I poked some holes in the potatoes and microwaved them for 6 minutes while I preheated the oven. This par-cooked the potatoes internally to the point where I was able to bake them together. In about 10 minutes, the tilapia and the potatoes were baked and ready to serve.

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This had me thinking of other potential shortcuts involving the microwave. Some things are perfectly acceptable to cook in the microwave. I'm curious to hear what the rest of you think. And, if you flat-out won't use the microwave, I'm also interested to hear why.
 

LissaC

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The microwave is easily the kitchen equipment that gets the most love in my house.

I use it every day, first to heat a cup of tea for breakfast, then to heat my lunch, most days I also use it to heat dinner.
 

TastyReuben

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It gets used most days, but in a very limited way. I’ll melt butter in it, for example, or warm up some water/milk for bread dough. My wife will reheat her tea, and I usually warm up the half-n-half for tea, and if I don’t have hot water in hand, I’ll warm the cups in the microwave. Sometimes I’ll soften a day-old bread roll in there, too.

Vegetables and meat reheat somewhat acceptably, but most things don’t, IMO. Pizza reheated in a microwave comes out rubbery (not that I would eat leftover pizza, but MrsT does), and pasta seems to suffer the same fate. Sauces/gravies generally reheat well, mashed potatoes don’t, though.

I’ve cooked scrambled eggs in the microwave, and it works very well for that. I’ve cooked hotdogs in there (which is really just reheating them, since they’re already cooked straight from the supermarket), and I’ve never like that, because they never hear evenly. They’re either scalding hot on the ends and lukewarm in the middle, or hot all the way through, but bursting open on the ends.

In the past, I’ve heated up those frozen lunches and frozen burritos (which I admit to liking very much, but I rarely eat them these days).

I do like the idea of par-baking a potato in there and then finishing it in the oven, but I’ve never had a potato fully “baked” in a microwave that was ever any good - always overcooked on the outside by the time the inside is done.
 

The Late Night Gourmet

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I’ve cooked scrambled eggs in the microwave, and it works very well for that.

I'll have to try that sometime. You aren't going for form with scrambled eggs, so it seems like it would be fine.

This reminds me that my son will sometimes microwave bacon. I tried that once, and I found it to be rubbery, and it didn't crisp up the way I like. He still does this from time to time, since it's a lot faster. But, to me, it's not worth the time saved.
 

Morning Glory

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I'm well aware that restaurants tend to shun them, and with good reason: when you go out to eat, who wants to have their food cooked in a microwave? Likewise, anyone who's watched cooking channels, like the Food Network in the States, has seen a similar attitude. It's the chefs who run the shows, so seeing the same opinion isn't a surprise.
I'll say again what I wrote in that earlier thread. Some chefs do use microwaves. Mark Jordan (Michelin starred chef) uses the microwave to make parmesan crisps, seen here in asparagus spears with truffle, poached free-range duck egg and hollandaise sauce. Asparagus Recipe Truffle, Duck Egg & Hollandaise

And then there is the legendary Ferran Adrià’s forty-second sponge cake, which is made with an espuma gun and a microwave. And if you don't know who Ferren Adrià is then you should! :D

Here are some things I cook in the microwave:

Cooking whole globe artichokes to perfection in a fraction of the time it takes to boil or steam them
Cooking corn on the cob (ditto)
Making bechamel sauce
Melting chocolate or butter
Steaming vegetables such as asparagus or spinach
Popcorn
Heating a lemon or lime to produce more juice
Scrambled eggs (watched like hawk!)
Speeding up proving bread dough
Making treacle sponge pudding
Boiling eggs
Making strawberry dust
 

CraigC

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To actually cook something, a friend gave us some frozen stone crab claws he got from the Bahamas. They had not been previously cooked as is required by places selling them here in Florida. 4 minutes on high, from frozen in the microwave and they were perfect! Never thought I'd say that.
 

Morning Glory

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To actually cook something, a friend gave us some frozen stone crab claws he got from the Bahamas. They had not been previously cooked as is required by places selling them here in Florida. 4 minutes on high, from frozen in the microwave and they were perfect! Never thought I'd say that.

I'll add that to my list!
 
Last edited:

TastyReuben

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This reminds me that my son will sometimes microwave bacon.
It works ok for bacon that’s going on a sandwich, or maybe crumbled onto a salad, but eating it as an accompaniment, on the side, it’s not very good.

I do also melt chocolate in there.
 

karadekoolaid

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We used to cook baked potatoes in the microwave, then put them in the oven to finish. These days, I just bung them in the oven, put the timer on and forget about them.
The microwave in my house is used for re-heating; nothing else. I dislike the texture it gives to vegetables, I can scramble eggs in less than 3 minutes, it´s hopeless for anything with pastry or flour in it and it cooks unevenly.
Bacon, providing it´s really streaky, CAN be done successfully in the microwave, however. Place the rashers on a paper towel, place another paper towel on top and blitz for about 1 minute. Thick cut bacon won´t work that way.
 

TastyReuben

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You know, I’ve really thought about this, and I think I know why I don’t even do things like heat up canned soups or the like:

Put some soup from a can into a little saucepan, it goes on the stovetop. Maybe you cover it, maybe you don’t.

Put some soup from a can into a microwave-safe dish of some sort, cover it with some plastic wrap or something else.

Now…consider your relative position in both those scenarios. With the first one, I’m standing well over the soup, and it affords very easy access for stirring and for seeing what’s going on.

With the microwave, if I want to stir it, I’ve got to stoop over a bit to peek in, and try to reach in and uncover it and stir it in place, with very little working room, or get the potholders, reach in, get it out, set it down, then uncover it and stir it, then reverse that to keep heating, and repeat three or four times.

The more I think about it, I think that’s a major reason why I don’t use it more - it’s a rather clumsy piece of machinery to use.

The cleanup isn’t easy, either, should you get the ol’ exploding butter/sauce up on the underneath of the topside - you can’t really see it to clean it properly, and it’s hard reaching into the top corners and edges.

Spill something on the stovetop, it’s easy to get to.
 

SatNavSaysStraightOn

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I use it less now than ever.
We've actually downgraded our microwave from something that would obviously suit a family and take larger containers to something that most of my serving vessels don't fit into.

At present, my main use of the microwave is down to forgetfulness or bad planning. Aka, I've forgotten to defrost something.

I've tried to use it, I've tried the automatic programs on it, I've tried the auto defrost and so on, but I've never been happy with them. My microwave can apparently proof yoghurt, something we do all the time, but the instructions categorically say not soy yoghurt, just dairy yoghurt. Oddly my yoghurt maker doesn't have this restriction and happily takes soy milk. It has an auto defrost setting, yeah, right. Unconvinced, utterly and totally. 10% power for 10 minutes works far better.

So defrost and reheating coffee is pretty much all I use it for.

And I hate loath and detest it's I've finished song that it plays and you can't change it!

When this one fails, I'll try another brand. We quit in the previous make because it kept failing on us with the same fault. After the 3rd failed in 5 years, we changed brands. I guess some of my issues with it are it's location. We have a kitchen with a dedicated slot for a microwave and limited counter top space for it to go anywhere else. This means I'm lifting stuff in and out at face height. I can't see into a mug or bowl to see if something is boiling and then have to lift very hot food it drink out of it on my bad side. Being tenants, we can't change the kitchen layout. So maybe the location has something to do with it? I say this because I can't reach it use the cupboard immediately above it either. Anything that gets put in there stays in there.

I did (past tense) very occasionally part cook a jacket potato in the microwave before finishing it off in the oven, but even that has stopped. Hubby uses it a little more than I do, but we certainly don't cook in it.
 

rascal

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I'm in the majority as well. I remember I used to cook tea for one of my customers on the coast. She was a terrible cook and her husband was s good customer of mine. They had a microwave. This was about 30 years ago and she wouldn't use it because she was scared of the radiation.
I use for baked potatoes to thawing to reheating and cooking.


Russ
 
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