Celebrating 25 years of publishing

Published August 6, 2019


Roughing it without a microwave

By John Toth / The Bulletin

The microwave broke.

It was making a noise and turning the plate inside, but there was no heat.

It was a grand machine, not all that old, either. It served us well, although I really think that it should have served us much longer.

At least it died a quick death. Here one minute, and then, gone. It heated up some leftovers as its last task. After that, it just showed the correct time.

“I’ll unplug it and plug it back in. Maybe it just needs to be reset,” I said wisely.

Why not? When computers get bogged down, restarting them usually does the job.

Cars are the same way these days, packed with all kinds of computer gear. It doesn’t work all the time, but it’s worth a try.

I unplugged it and plugged it back in, and - nothing. Not even a clock.

We need a microwave. We always have had one. Well, not always. We used to live without them before they were invented.

“Why do we need one, anyway?” I asked.

Could we get along without one? We used to. What’s the big deal? We heated or cooked food on the stove or in the toaster oven or baked it in the big oven before the microwave; let’s just do it like that again, I suggested.

It was a daring proposal. We can always get one later, we thought. They don’t cost all that much. For now, we were going to be microwaveless.

Just out of curiosity, I got on the Internet machine and looked up microwaves.

Microwave ovens use a magnetron to make microwaves to heat up and cook food. Microwaves are radio waves with a wavelength in the range of between 3,000 to 30,000 Mhz. And, it is also possible to transmit data through a microwave.

But how do they cook food?

Microwave ovens heat food by producing radiation, which is absorbed by water molecules in the food. This makes the water molecules vibrate and produce heat, which cooks the food.

Microwaves are a safe, effective, and highly convenient cooking method. There is no evidence that they cause harm – and some evidence that they are even better than other cooking methods at preserving nutrients and preventing the formation of harmful compounds.

It’s sci-fi stuff we have been using safely for many decades. But for now, we resorted to turning on the stovetop and heating up the cast iron skillet. Or, sticking leftovers into the toaster oven on the counter.

“The food tastes better,” I commented. Maybe it was my imagination. Or, maybe we just paid more attention to food preparation, which took longer without a microwave.

It was a couple of weeks or so before we bought another microwave, and we really didn’t miss it all that much.

It took a long time to research which one to get – the best model for the right price.

Now, we go days without using it. So it should last for a long time. Right?

(I look forward to hearing from you on this subject. Send me a note at john.bulletin@gmail.com. You can even send an old-fashioned letter to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516.)