A Year without a Microwave

Sheila and I haven’t had a Microwave Oven since we left California and purchased our house in Oak Park more than a year ago. The kitchen in our new house has plenty of plugs; but we never got around to buying one.  I remember at some point we realized that it was missing, but it was accompanied by this epiphany that we didn’t care enough to go get one or even have it take up the counter space.

Mr Microwave just isn’t missed, in fact we wonder if he was really our friend at all, or just some type of malevolent enabler. The first thing that comes to mind is this:

Microwave ovens heat up frozen food more than just about anything else. Just about everything frozen is crappy.

Chicken nuggets, popcorn, burritos, tamales, day old pizzas and other goodies are all fodder to be “nuked”. When you don’t have your own food cyclotron in the house, you just might actually grab an apple out of the fridge instead. You cook with your kid. Hang out in the kitchen. Make a salad. Get inspired by Food Network.

The missing microwave means that I have eaten less junk food than I can ever remember. We, as a family, make and eat our meals together, take our time and really savor the ingredients. My 9 year old daughter is working on her “knife skills” and can identify various ingredients, herbs and spices in her food, and rattle off recipes like a contestant in Hell’s Kitchen.

We participate in the “Slow Food Movement“, originally begun in Europe to fight against all the fast food stores that were popping up. The rules are simple and are more than just good for your body:

  • Eat Foods that are in season
  • Eat as much locally grown food as possible
  • Cook everything as a family
  • Use old family recipes and create more of your own.  Write them down.
  • Teach your kids to cook and prepare food with you
  • Sit down and eat together and enjoy each other’s company

— It’s good for the soul.  Sometimes we eat later and in front of the TV, but we stay very close to the above rules, and it has really made a difference. Adios, Microwave, and all the foods that came with you.

You are not missed, in fact, we rarely remember that you exist.

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