To Nuke or Not to Nuke, That Is the Question

Would you be stunned to discover that your friend had no microwave? That was the case with Adam Roberts, a.k.a. the Amateur Gourmet. His friends expressed dismay at discovering he was without a way to zap his leftovers. Adam explains his decision thusly:

1. I like popping popcorn on the stove;

2. I think microwaving your food changes its structural integrity. The leftover cauliflower pasta, for example, was—in my humble opinion—perfectly cooked. If we’d nuked it, it would’ve gotten mushier and the cauliflower would’ve turned soggy. I much prefer it cold from the fridge.

His friends are of the nuking camp. Adam’s blog readers had equally strong opinions on the topic: The comment string, now over 100, has folks both for and against the machine (with some microwave applications I hadn’t considered before). Various commenters wrote:

In our house, if the microwave and/or crock pot go out–so do we!

The only time I EVER use my microwave is when a recipe calls for melted butter. But for the most part, it’s an extremely large paperweight.

My microwave is essential to me, mostly because I cook food Chinese family style so there are always some leftovers.

Structural integrity? Maybe I’m lost… but do you mean on a cellular level? If so, then there is no way to apply heat/energy to anything without affecting structural integrity?

Adam, I wonder if you never learned how to use a microwave properly? If you use it correctly, it shouldn’t do the things you accuse it of, like affect structural integrity.

I have cleaned sponges in the microwave before, heating them to kill bacteria.

I’ve always considered it generally expendable. That is, until I discovered how easy it is to cook flawless, foolproof rice in the microwave. … Seriously, it is life-altering!

Having recently moved—leaving a microwave behind, and six months later going back to retrieve it—I’m edging toward the pro-microwave camp. It’s not necessary, but is useful and currently hooked up in my garage (no loss of counter space) where I pop in several times a week and reheat leftovers (my soup seems to do fine having its structural integrity altered). Would I give up prime real estate in a tiny NYC kitchen for the thing? Nah, probably not.

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