Freecycle, or possibly at a thrift store, after we'd calmed down a bit, we took the critical step of thinking "do we actually need to replace this item?" Heck, we'd lived without a car for three years (while we had two little kids, no less!) Surely we could live without a microwave?
We thought about what we actually used our microwave for, and the answer was basically 4 things:
1. Reheating half a mug of cold tea or coffee
2. Reheating leftovers
3. Thawing frozen foods
4. Melting chocolate
Not a whole lot, when it came right down to it. Surely we could figure out how to accomplish all of these jobs without a microwave? After all, we'd both been half grown before our family households even owned microwaves! And it sure would free up some extra space in the kitchen if we didn't have a microwave hanging around.
As it turns out, we figured out how to accomplish all of the above quite easily and have never looked back. We do get some house guests who are rather incredulous that we don't own a microwave (they seem to think we're leading them on, and we must have one hidden somewhere) but we don't mind at all!
In case you're wondering, here's how we do all of the aforementioned tasks in our microwave-free home:
Reheating hot beverages: We've learned to drink the whole darn mug while it's still hot! It's actually forced us to slow down and be more mindful of our cup of tea or coffee. At first I occasionally had to resort to reheating half a cup of cold coffee in a small saucepan on the stove, but I can't remember the last time I had to do that! I've learned to take the time to enjoy it freshly-poured.
Reheating leftovers: We purchased a thrift-store toaster oven for seven bucks. It's still going strong five years later, and has already outlasted that final (bought new) microwave of ours. I found some small baking dishes at the dollar store, which fit perfectly in the toaster oven two at a time. They are just the right size for heating up a single serving of leftovers. It takes 10-15 minutes to reheat food, rather than 2-3, but the quality is much better - the taste and texture are just like freshly cooked, and the food stays hot MUCH longer.
Thawing frozen foods: When possible, I take out the food I'm going to need for the next day the night before, and let it thaw overnight in the fridge. When I forget to do that, I thaw it in a stainless steel bowl filled with lukewarm water for 15-20 minutes (I only do the warm water thaw when I'm going to cook the food immediately afterwards).
Melting chocolate: I use an improvised double boiler; a stainless steel bowl placed over top of a saucepan of boiling water.
I know there are at least a few people thinking "but how do you make popcorn?" because I get that comment a lot! We've used a hot-air popper to make popcorn since long before our microwave died. You can also do it the good old-fashioned way in a pot on the stove.
Is there a common modern "gadget" that you've learned to live without? I'd love to hear about it, so please leave a comment!
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