I am not a “hipster.” I am not “retro.” And I’m not one of those people who can make doing things that aren’t mainstream look cool.
That said, I would like to tell you the story of how we came to get rid of our microwave and the ensuing results.
A year ago, we moved. We downsized from a very nicely sized kitchen to a small apartment kitchen, where it took real creative genius to figure out how to fit everything into the cupboards.
One of the most arduous challenges we had on our hands was prioritizing which appliances would sit out on the very limited real estate of counter top. Anything heavy or bulky wasn’t going to be able to go anywhere, and unfortunately, that pretty much meant all of the appliances needed to stay out by default.
Our microwave was one of them.
No matter where we plugged it in around our little U-shaped kitchen, it was butt ugly and/or forced out other appliances we used much more often. The situation became so dire, that I looked at Kevin and said, “What if….we got rid of the microwave?” Kevin didn’t hesitate for a second. He promptly unplugged it and put it on the dining room table right before he put it up for sale on Craigslist.
In my twenties, this decision would have been unfathomable. College alone is four years of living out of the microwave. Two previous boyfriends I have lived with heavily relied on the microwave for sustenance. I think my brother would actually starve if he didn’t own one.
In spite of my dependence on my microwave lessening as I got older (though I went through a fairly serious Hot Pocket phase between 2008 and 2010), I still liked having one around with which to zap too cold ice cream and the occasional butter or cream cheese when I was baking. (Not a frequent occasion.) Note: some people are avid beverage makers in the microwave. Not I. Microwaved coffee has an abhorrent “flat” taste, and anything else I would make, e.g. hot cocoa, I make from scratch.
Popcorn addicts, I haven’t forgotten about your sputtering objection to getting rid of a microwave. There are probably people who subsist solely on the varieties of microwavable popcorn out there. I, too, love a good bucket of buttery popcorn. Once upon a time, I used to consume the stuff like it was Twinkies being taken off the shelves.
When we traded in our microwave, we bought an air popper that we were able to put away, so we can still make popcorn whenever we want. It’s probably been a good year since we’ve made any, however. The best way I enjoy it is overpriced and “buttery” at the movie theater, with getting freshly made kettle corn at a fair being a close second. I think most people forget that you can still make Jiffy Pop on the stove, too.
So here are the ten pros, as I see them, to ditching the microwave oven:
- Gaining back primo counter space.
- Becoming closer with my stove and oven. While softening butter in ten seconds is certainly faster and easier in a microwave, the two times a year I would need to do so don’t merit owning one.
- I can stop worrying that what I’m reheating is putting cancerous toxins in my body (word to the wise: microwaving anything plastic is BAD).
- I don’t have to clean up splattered food that has gone everywhere inside the damn thing. Huge pro.
- I don’t have to be afraid that heating up a cup of soup or anything else mostly liquid is going to explode in my face.
- I don’t have to eat rubbery, microwaved food. Anything worth reheating is worth taking an extra ten minutes in the actual oven to warm up.
- Funky smells will no longer assail my nose in my own home.
- I don’t have to hear that infernal beeping noise when it’s done heating.
- I don’t have to walk into the kitchen and obsessively/compulsively click “Stop/Clear” to get it to go back to the clock, since I’ve found that most of the population opens the door before the beep but doesn’t bother to clear the timer.
- No more wondering whether I’m standing too close to the door and making myself sterile while it’s on.
I’m not on a crusade to get others to join me but I will laud the ditching of the microwave. In a year of not having one, neither of us have said we miss it or even thought about getting another one. It really is a beautiful thing.
**Update:** It’s been 2.5 years since we’ve lived without a microwave; life is still good and we have never wavered with our decision. We do get a kick from weirding people out when they realize there is no microwave to be had in our wee kitchen.