The Reinhard Chronicles: Life Without a Microwave

Sometimes my own ability to do impossible things astounds me. The fact that I can totally make microwave popcorn on the stove, is beyond amazing. Living a microwave-less lifestyle for the past 10 months hasn’t made me a better person or given me hippie green visions of enlightenment. But life without a microwave has certainly made me more aware of how freaking long it takes to boil stuff on the stove!

Now, I’m not against microwaves. I’m not against the fact that the FDA and the World Health Organization still aren’t 100% sure what the effect of microwaves have on the human body. I’m not against having your popcorn in 1.5 minutes and heating up milk for hot chocolate without having to burn it on the stove first. In fact, I rather enjoy not burning milk for hot chocolate. And I’m quite fond of microwave popcorn.

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When we first moved into our house, I wasn’t too worried about the non-microwave situation. After all, I’d done so much microwaving in my college years, it was probably healthy for my brain to have a teensy break from all that radiation. I was just excited to have a functional stove. Besides, what kind of chef was I, making my hot chocolate in the microwave?? I was a perfectly functional adult who was fully capable of making hot chocolate on the stove without burning anything. Except for my fingers. Multiple times.

But that’s not really the issue here.

And so like an addict trying to re-assure you that they’ve moved on, I’d like to say this: I don’t need a microwave. And I tell myself this, muttering under my breath, every time I need soften butter, cook spinach, or eat ramen without dirtying ANOTHER pot in my kitchen. I’m a strong independent woman that don’t need no microwave.

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Amidst all the grumbling, I’ve learned a couple work-arounds that assist with the insanity of missing the one and only kitchen appliance you’ll ever really need.

  1. Invest in a good popcorn popper. We currently have the West Bend 82505 Stir Crazy Electric Hot Oil Popcorn Popper Machine that we received as a wedding gift, and is my ultimate savior when it comes to a good popcorn craving. It’s fast and easy, and the popcorn turns out delicious! Honestly, if we didn’t have this popper, I would have broken down and purchased a microwave by now, thus turning all my insane motivational speeches about “woman-ing up” into a moot point.
  2. Learn how to make tea/hot chocolate on the stove. To those who find it easy to burn water, the simple act of making tea without the microwave seems like an impossible Everest that looms tall and mountain-like; a molehill of dried chamomile flowers. I myself have a gooseneck electric kettle that works perfectly for those afraid of approaching the stove, and a glass tea pot for those a tad more brave. I’ve ranted about the glass teapot before on the blog, along with my favorite teas, if you care to take a gander.
  3. Learn quickly that as much as you love instantly warm pizza, there are better ways, Jim. Better ways. The “Jim” in this tirade is me, forever annoyed that it takes longer to heat up pizza in the oven, and forever forgetting that pizza always tastes better when it hasn’t been thrown in a radiation death trap to be zapped for a quick 30 seconds. Just pop that whole pizza box in the oven (making sure not to forget it’s there) and voila. Perfect pizza: melted cheese (that hasn’t turned to lava) and soft perfect crust (that hasn’t turned into 4-day-old-play-dough).

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A Note from Chesh: “It takes 3.5 minutes to cook hot-pockets in the microwave. It takes 23 minutes to cook them in the oven. This should not be, my friends! THIS SHOULD NOT BE! I don’t freaking eat hot pockets because I want to wait, but because I want instant gratification of disgusting food. Even three and half minutes is pushing the line of “taking to long” and anything past 2 minutes is questionable. That being said, anyone who is cooking something in the microwave for 5 minutes or longer just needs to stop, man up, and use the stove.”

So there you have it, friends. Life without a microwave. An excellent lesson in patience for Chesh and I, as well as a point of contention when it comes to microwave popcorn and hot pockets. And don’t even get us started on toaster strudels….

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