What do you think of the microwave. Are you for or against using it and why?

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Hi there,

My name is John Reid and I am studying Product Design and I am writing a report with the question "How has the microwave oven developed, has it had a positive or negative effect on our lifestyle and could we live without it?". I am looking for opinions from the professionals of the kitchen. Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you.
 

phatch

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It's a handy reheater. That's my primary use of the microwave.
 
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It's great for warming baby food and bottles that customers bring in. The night staff re warm food that we make for them. Also great for clairfied butter. I do 1 kilo of butter in 4 mins. Other than that the micro has a lonly place in the kitchen.
 
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They have there place but not for cooking. Good for the housewive in her kitchen to feed kids cause its quick,
 
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We have several microwaves in our pastry shop and I find them very handy.  Some of my own uses--
  • When pulling sugar it helps me keep the sugar at the right temp and gives me a faster start than letting it sit under the heat lamp.
  • If you haven't tried a microwave sponge, check this out - .  30 seconds in the microwave and much moister than anything in the oven.  I have made the beet one - great color that would dull too much with conventional baking.
  • One of my restaurants has very limited kitchen space for desserts - no oven or stovetop room near the dessert station for warm desserts.  We put in a small microwave to re-heat the fruit filling on a cobbler.  Why is that so wrong?  You have to learn to adapt in the food industry and there is no difference in the end result.
  • Melting gelatin, heating glazes, warming sauces.
In many cases it just saves time or limits the number of dishes I dirty.  I am however, very opposed to warming food in plastic.  It doesn't matter if it is from the microwave or not, I like to cool it in metal containers before putting it in the Cambros.  I like that my microwaves allow me to use metal.
 
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My Microwave gets used daily,mostly to heat or reheat. And it sure makes a fast baked potato.

I could not do without it/img/vbsmilies/smilies/peace.gif/img/vbsmilies/smilies/peace.gif/img/vbsmilies/smilies/peace.gif
 
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To take a good peice of meat like a loin for a  pot roast it to me and a lot of other chefs is a waste. We use cheaper cuts  like a shoulder which braises better anyway because there is more fat. and marbeling. Housewives don't worry about food cost like we do so we operate in different ways . As far as microwave or kinetic energy ovens they are better suited for home use simply because 85% of things cooked in it either come  out soggy, or  hard . We have paying customers who would object to this. How many times I have sat in restaurants and heard customes say "Oh they must have Nuked it  its hot underneith but not on top..Or hot in the middle but outside cold.

 To make a kraft mac and cheese they are ok and great for the kids and great for busy working moms.

PS My favorite meal is Roast Pork or Stuffed Roast Pork Loin. and I probably use more pork in my home then any other meat (I make a load of Asian Items
 
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Ummmm... getting back to the question.

Yes, the nuker has it's uses.  Ideal for reheating stuff, especially liquids, and I use it constantly  during the day to melt chocolate and warm up glazes.

For cooking foods, it is terrible.  There is no caramelization or colouring during the cooking process, it takes too short a time to break down connective tissue in tougher cuts of meat like braising or roasting will.  Oh, and it is worse than useless for reheating pastry products.

But ideal for reheating stuff, especially liquids
 
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I think I am sticking to the question, thanks.  I just think it's unnecessary to comment on housewives and mothers... repeatedly. 

The microwave has its uses.  Mine are to reheat left overs, thaw stock if I'm in a hurry, melt butter, warm up my coffee if it's gotten cold, and make popcorn.  I also steam potatoes in it to prep them for roasting or baking.  I found that by putting a little water in the dish helps keep them very moist and steamed, otherwise they tend to dry out in the microwave and form hard spots.  I've heard many people say that they steam vegetables and even fish with very good results although I've never tried it myself.  Bach in the 80's I remember there being microwave cookbooks and people really did try to roast turkeys in them but we have evolved and I think that American phase is over.  Most people know better than to try to roast a turkey in there.

I particularly like the way the microwave reheats meat, especially braised meat.  Keeps it very moist and soft and that's hard to do using conventional reheating methods. 
 
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Melting chocolate and quickly re-heating things are the only things I use mine for. I don't particularly like microwave reheated foods but it can't be beat for melting chocolate.
 
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Stop complaining. 

 And if you read my first answer  as well as FoodPumps   "it has its place but not for cooking'' for heating some things yes for some no. They even make steam fresh veges which come out good cooked in the bag. American Supermarket freezers are loaded with these. But again you are not cooking .Frozen veges have already been precooked or blanched. I have tried fish in it. If its a thick filet no good, thin is passable.  Also in case you have not noticed so far the way things are done commercially and the way they are done hme are in most cases very different.If what you are doing works for you thats good, but it may not work for me because of  volume purposes or time.or cost..
 
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I have mixed feelings about them.

In the late 80's I worked in a Marriott kitchen and was serving a plated lobster dinner. I was short by 2 plates and had to think quickly. I had the thawed lobsters, so I split them open and pulled out the meat. I opened the meat so as to be how it would be presented, coated them with lemon juice and butter, wrapped them in a paper towel and placed them in the microwave. 

I know they work in different power levels, so I started out with 5 minutes on 30% power, and within a few minutes had perfectly cooked lobster meat, which I then placed back on the shell and under the salamander to finish a little browning.

(note)  Lobster shells have too many minerals in them and will "arc" in the microwave.
 
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Since this question is in the general section I'll answer it from a non-professional POV.  I have had a microwave for 20+ yrs.  It has its place in the modern kitchen given the ever rising cost of energy.  There are things it does very well and things it doesn't as anyone who's ever reheated a slice of pizza, or a croissant in one will tell you. 

Short answers:

Could I live without one?  YES. 

Would I choose to live without one? NO.
 
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Thank you for all the replys, all very helpful and will be used in my report.
Again than you and any other help will be much appreciated
 
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Like all kitchen equipment, it has its place. I have never cooked a meal in it. I find its great for re-heating/melting. I also like to cut my squash in half, place open side down on plate, cover and zap it for for 5-6 minutes, scoop flesh out. Or start it there and finish in the oven.

It is also terrific for quickly getting a plate/bowl hot just before plating.

@ Jelly : I just wanted to tell you that I went through ALL of your pics, and I have to say I was taken back ......I have never seen desserts executed with such style and finesse. your attention to detail is  beyond impressive.

Petals.
 
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I don't own a microwave. When I bought a house I was left without one because my apartments historically had them. I was quite dependent on it for things but never really found myself cooking much in them. Heat and reheating mostly and absolutely used to reheat leftovers. When I didn't have one I was thinking I'd see how long I could hold out and next thing I knew it was 2+ years later and I don't miss it but maybe once in a long while. Melting butter, for example, is one thing that would be easier to do in the microwave but I splurged on a very nice toaster oven for things like that. Of the few things I will eat in terms of leftovers, they're best when heated in the pan or oven (ie: pizza, mexican food, chinese food, etc.). 

When people visit and find that I have no microwave they panic a little; it is actually quite amusing. I am not against them, I just didn't see the need for one after all and I like counter space. 
 
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I'm totally FOR using the microwave to cook many types of dish. This took 15 minutes to cook on full power, turned half way through The taste and texture was absolutely amazing and as you can see there is nothing wrong with the colour or caramelisation. 


 
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