I’ve heard a lot of bad things about microwave ovens- both that they’re unhealthy to be around while they’re running, as well as making the food less healthful. According to some studies, the very nature of microwaves damages foods, while others say that toxins can leach into foods more easily during microwaving. Those studies imply that heating in glass or paper would be perfectly safe. And still more sources claim that microwaving foods is 100% safe, or that the potential damage is too subtle to matter.

This house came with a built-in microwave over the stove, in a unit that’s also the light over the stove and the exhaust fan. It was there so we used it, though I tried to limit its use. A few years ago, the microwave stopped working, though the light and exhaust fan still work fine. I opted NOT to replace the unit, nor to buy a separate microwave oven, and adapt our family to microwave-free life.

Thing worked fine at first, especially since the kids were younger and I was the one doing most of the cooking. It’s not THAT hard to reheat quiche in the toaster oven or soup on the stove. But the toaster takes a long time, and it’s a hassle to keep washing out pots. There were times when I’d wanted to cook something, but the pot wasn’t clean because one of the kids had used it to heat something up and hadn’t washed it yet. Other times, I’m busily preparing a meat dinner while a child wants to reheat a dairy snack, which often meant that the child would end up eating something much less healthy instead. A handful of times, soup got forgotten on the stove and burnt, damaging the pot and ruining the food.

And I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to throw out moldy quiche in the fridge because Hannah didn’t eat it in time. I stopped making it. When frozen, it takes another two minutes in the microwave, but another 20 minutes in the oven. So I stopped storing pre-cut quiche slices in the freezer when the old microwave broke, and started keeping it in the fridge- where it wasn’t always eaten.

I’m a firm believer that microwaved quiche or vegetable soup is a MUCH healthier choice than ice cream or cereal with milk. We just got a new microwave oven last week, and already it’s made our lives easier. Hannah is eating soup more often, and soon we plan to make a quiche or two to freeze as well. We have the microwave set up on the other side of the kitchen, where it’s not in the way of the main cooking area. This way Hannah can heat up soup or Jack can heat up pasta while I’m cooking something for dinner. Plus, Hannah is more likely to heat up soup for herself, firm in the knowledge that if she spaces out and forgets her food, it might grow cold, but she won’t burn it.

All in all, I understand why some families prefer to be microwave-free, but it didn’t really work for us.

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