/ Home & Energy

Saying goodbye to my microwave


My life’s about to change. Not only am I moving flats for the first time since I came to London, my new accommodation will also be sans-microwave. Do you think I’ll be able to live without a microwave?

Jacket potatoes. Porridge. Scrambled eggs. Three things you’ve previously told us microwaves are perfect for. I’ve certainly given the first two a spin – who has time to make a gorgeously crispy jacket potato in oven alone? Microwaving scrambled eggs worries me slightly, but I’d certainly give it go. At least, I would if my new flat had a microwave…

Two thirds of you use your microwave all the time

My prospective landlord says the flat’s ‘furnished’, but this apparently doesn’t include a microwave. It seems I’m now going to be in the minority, as when we last spoke about living without a microwave, nearly two thirds of you told us you use yours all the time. In fact, only one in ten of you said you don’t own or even want a microwave.

And then there was commenter Vic Wilkins, who took her love affair a little further than the rest of us:

‘We have two microwaves, but no oven. We bought a newer microwave because it can do so much more than the older model. But we still keep the older microwave for ‘ready meals’ etc.’

Now, I don’t think I could live without an oven (even if I happened to have two microwaves) like Vic, but will I be able to live without a microwave? I’m going to give it a damn good try, with Alice’s comment to egg me on:

‘You don’t need a microwave. I had a hand me down for a short while and gave it away.’

I’ll miss it for defrosting. But I’ll just be more organised and take my frozen goods out of the freezer the day before. I’ll miss it for softening butter when I’m baking cakes. But I’ll just take the butter bar out of the fridge a few hours before I need it. I’ll miss it for heating up frozen peas, but I’ll just take them to the hob. There’s much to miss, but I’m up for the challenge.

There’s something quite ugly about a microwave anyway – an unattractive square box taking up valuable space on your kitchen worktop. It might be quite liberating to be microwave-less. At least, that’s what I’ll keep saying to myself. Will I survive?

Should Conversation Editor Patrick Steen live without his microwave?

Yes he should (55%, 109 Votes)

No he shouldn't (46%, 91 Votes)

Total Voters: 200

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Try scrambled egg.

Patrick – We deserve to be told if you have converted to life without a microwave, or if you have been shopping.

So has Figgerty bought her new microwave yet? We need to know that as well or whether she is still coping with a sticky switch and a spinning platter.

When I moved from London I put my microwave on a heap of unwanted stuff for the council to take away; overnight, people helped themselves to various articles including the microwave. It had hardly ever been used and we never replaced it. I wouldn’t recommend using a second-hand microwave myself.

I’m not tempted to get rid of mine. Instead of a turntable it has some device hidden at the top to distribute the microwave energy. That seems as logical now as it did over 20 years ago when I bought my microwave.

No new microwave yet, John. I’m waiting for the August Which? before I buy. I am having problems finding one with the same or smaller footprint as my old Panasonic – sticky door, ghostly turntable and all. I want to be able to fit a 27cm plate in it for warming and yet not be too deep.

Patrick appears to be managing well without a microwave but I wonder if he now has a selection of takeaway menus.

A Friday afternoon present for you. Take the popcorn out of your pocket and pop it in a hot pan and follow the instructions below.


I loved cooking popcorn for others when I was young, but I couldn’t stand the cardboard type texture.

Useless kitchen gadgets?

A quick search has revealed a Magic Spiral device that was a free gift some years ago and has languished in a kitchen drawer ever since. Apparently it ‘Creates Continuous Spiral Garnishings’ from fruit & veg. That reminds me of some of the creations I’ve seen in Chinese or Indian restaurants. The sharp blade concerns me, but I might give it a go if I can find suitable PPE.

Perhaps the popcorn could be enjoyed by those of being entertained by the last men standing in the homeopathy debate. 🙂

Salt 🙁 or caramel 🙂 ?

No-go, Malcolm. Which? tells me the (food) traffic lights are at red. 🙁

Not if you have a microwave. I have given away lots of kitchen gadgets in my time and I’m sure I will give away lots more. If they are awkward to wash, then they go. When I bake, I use a bowl, a jug and a wooden spoon, all easy to wash up compared to my previous mixer/food processor.

I tend to use my microwave oven mainly for heating cooked food and cooking certain vegetables, but my favourite use is to gently warm up the ingredients when making heavy fruit cakes. It makes it so much easier to mix them by hand and shortens the cooking time, helping to avoid over-cooking the outside of cakes.

TL73 says:
31 August 2013

I like jacket potatoes better when cooked in the oven. Yes takes time to cook but really you can just pop it in and then forget about it for an hour while you are cooking/ doing other things.

I gave up my microwave over7 years ago and its the best thing I have ever done.
Bought myself a decent frying pan and warm my food the old fashioned way – food stays hot longer and taste a lot better