Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cooking Smarter: Life, Unmicrowaved

We unplugged our microwave.
Microwave Banished to the Cellar

And plugged in this baby.
Breville Smart Oven

We haven't looked back.

It all started with Senpai being miffed at how long it takes to preheat our conventional oven (20 mins), when we typically only cook little things that are in the oven for less than 10 mins (garlic bread, taco shells, na'an). This happens multiple times on a weekly basis. He wondered why we should expend the energy (natural gas) to heat the entire oven, when we're only using a fraction of the space. Enter the idea of a toaster oven. Now, when it comes to this family, we believe in buying quality goods that will do exactly what we need, instead of buying a cheaper product that will only work marginally as well. All of a sudden that toaster oven idea became a countertop convection oven. A very expensive countertop convection oven known as the Breville Smart Oven. This thing is AWESOME.

We ended up buying it with the intent to not only bake more efficiently, but also to replace our microwave. You may or may not have heard about the science project in which a girl heated water in the microwave, let it cool down, and then watered a plant with it. That plant died. Well, that experiment has been replicated with better controls, and the theory that microwaved water kills plants was debunked. But still, it plants (pun intended) that seed of doubt in one's mind. What if this is true? What if microwaved food isn't just not good for you, but worse, hazardous to your health? So we bought the Breville Smart Oven and decided to jump right into unmicrowaved living by banishing the microwave oven to the cellar. It's still there if we ever need it again (technically, TWO microwave ovens are in the basement: the countertop unit and the above-the-stove-mounted one that I insisted be removed when we remodeled the kitchen. I just couldn't stand the thought of that thing going right by head while I was cooking... and pregnant), but the Breville has not let us down.

The main difference I have found is that I have to figure out everything that will go on the table before I start cooking; no more deciding on a vegetable dish halfway through food prep. I find myself using potholders more often, heating water in the kettle, and eating out of pots so as to cut down on dishes. I have had to beef up my stock of oven safe dishware. If I haven't thought out a meal in its entirety before I start cooking, I find myself in situations like this: Oh! I didn't think of cooking the Morningstar Farms Chik Patty until after I had already started the noodles and veggies on the stove! It needs 18 minutes in the Breville plus the 3 minute preheat time! Hem. Haw. It's going to take FOREVER! But you know what? Even though the stovetop foods finished cooking first, they still needed time to cool down. By the time they were cool enough to eat, guess what? The oven beeped; the Chik Patty was done. Though 18+3 minutes had seemed like forever when I was punching the settings into the Breville, by the time the meal was ready to eat, it really hadn't felt like a long time had passed. So my lunch took 20 minutes to prepare instead of 10, but, really, what's an extra 10 minutes to prepare a meal where there's no worry of free radicals, radiation, or nutritionally "dead" food?

It is SO worth it.



Beryl Lynn said...

More people should be doing this!
Our microwave is built in, so there's no taking it out (not to mention we rent) but we very rarely use it and use our toaster oven instead.
Microwaved food is not nutritionally dense food.
Even in the hospital before getting discharged, the nurses told us not to microwave breast milk. They said that it killed the antibodies, took away all the nutrition and changed it's composition. So imagine what it's doing to anything else you put in there.

New follower :)

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