April 18, 2011
Isn’t it strange how we depend on microwaves and how life changes when we don’t have one? Our machine died a couple days ago. When you cook from scratch and have to warm the leftovers the old way—in the oven or on top of the stove—it all becomes slow food. . . slow, slow food!
For instance, I wanted to eat some leftover pancakes the day after the microwave died. I had to wrap them in foil and warm them in the oven at 300°F for 15 minutes! My husband had to reheat chop suey in a sauce pan on the stove top, so much for “tender crisp” vegetables.
I had to reach far back in memory to remember how I used to heat things before my first microwave. My first job was a temp position at Sperry Univac in the Twin Cities. I rented the basement of a woman’s house in Roseville, MN, and had the use of a small bedroom, the family room, and the downstairs bathroom. Bats crawled out of the dropped ceiling and flew around my bedroom every night, but the woman refused to believe me! (It was a long couple of months for all kinds of reasons!) All I could do was hide under the covers and listen to the leathery sounds of their wings as they flew over my head. ( I eventually named them Reggie and the Rafters!)
My landlady gave me a little room in her refrigerator and freezer and the use of one burner of her stove (grudgingly). (Poor woman! I think that she just wanted a little extra money coming in after the divorce and didn’t realize what an intrusion it would be to have a stranger living in her basement.) I would drive home on weekends and cook a couple of meals in my crockpot, individually packaging each meal portion in aluminum foil. I’d freeze all the packages and carry them back to Minnesota in a cheap Styrofoam cooler. I had a 2-quart sauce pan with a lid and a steaming basket (that I picked up at a garage sale) in which I warmed my meals. It worked well then and still does now!
Holy Carbon Footprint, Batman! The stove top and oven use lots more energy than a microwave. It is one of the reasons, other than convenience, that we use microwaves. Of course, I’m sure that the energy used to produce, ship from the Far East to my local big box or appliance store, and later dispose of a new microwave probably more than cancels out the energy saved over the lifetime of the product.
Speaking of the afterlife, we will be loading up our van with our dead wall oven, microwave, and various other pieces of scrap this week. We will have to pay $10 to get a junk yard to take the microwave (not bad considering that we paid the same price to have them take our last one 6 years ago!). If we are lucky, the money we get for the scrap will cover the cost of disposing of the old microwave! Begonia