If you visited our apartment six months ago, and looked in the kitchen, you would notice something missing – a microwave. We lived without a microwave for over two and a half years. And it wasn’t really that awful. It usually just took some planning.
Here’s what living without a microwave entails:
We never bought microwave-only foods.
This meant we didn’t buy cups of noodles or macaroni or popcorn or TV dinners or steamable vegetables. The only thing I missed was the microwave popcorn, which was one of the reasons we did finally get a new microwave. But, the rest of those food items are generally not very healthy for you anyways, so it wasn’t a big deal to go without them.
Thoughtful frozen food purchases.
While a vast majority of frozen food goods can easily be nuked in the microwave in all of a few minutes, they can take 40+ minutes in an oven. That means if you don’t want to spend the time waiting for those foods to cook, then don’t buy those items, or plan ahead your meals. The plus side to this?: Food always tastes better when it is cooked in the oven.
Eating leftovers was a pain.
This was one of the hardest things, in my opinion, about not having a microwave. While my husband doesn’t mind cold leftovers, I certainly do. Without a microwave, sauces had to be reheated in a sauce pan. Other things had to be put in the oven, on an oven-safe plate. Heating things in the oven takes much longer than a microwave, and can bake foods onto your plates which are then harder to scrub off. While the oven does a better job of heating foods more evenly than a microwave generally, it can take quite a while to heat something like lasagna evenly and thoroughly. But, again, foods heated up in the oven taste better than foods nuked in the microwave. No rubber-like foods! But, this also meant that lots of leftovers weren’t ever eaten because I didn’t want to go through the hassle.
More counter space.
This is the number one reason we went so long without a microwave. Apartment living generally means limited counter top space. Microwaves are big and take up a good chunk of space. And it’s not like some appliances which can easily be stored somewhere else. They are heavy and giant boxes.
One less thing to clean.
This is a nice bonus. Microwaves get stinky and sometimes very hard to clean. Without one, you never have to worry about cleaning one!
Defrosting foods is not such a snap.
Without a microwave, again, you have to plan ahead more in your meal planning. If you want to make tacos, but all of your ground beef is frozen, tacos will be postponed at least a day without a microwave to easily defrost your meat. We would let things defrost on the counter or in the refrigerator, or in some hot water if we really wanted to use it that day (which I’m sure uses more energy than a simple 20 minutes in the microwave).
One less thing to pile junk on.
My husband and I joke a lot about how every flat, horizontal surface in our house falls victim to random piles of junk. He didn’t want a microwave because he knew we’d just start piling stuff on top of it. I countered that argument, because, well, we already were storing random things in that corner of our counter space already!
Living without a microwave was surprisingly not that difficult. Was it less convient sometimes, yes, but totally doable. The ironic thing about us finally getting a microwave is that I really wanted it for microwave popcorn, and our microwave is just a tad too small and burns every bag. Oh, the irony. Thankful it is still good for heating up leftovers!
Have you ever lived without a microwave or some other very needful appliance? How did you “survive”?