One of the signs of adulting is to build your own home with one home appliance at a time. When it comes to investing in your first kitchen equipment, the microwave oven remains an appliance to have no matter your cooking skill, budget, or type of diet you follow.
If you’re moving to your college dorm or your own place, here are several reasons why I recommend you prioritize buying a microwave oven:
1. Late-night cravings solved.
If you’re just starting out in life and you don’t have a car yet, or you live in an area with restaurants that close early, getting sudden cravings can be very challenging, especially when you’re working on a deadline or studying late at night.
Instant food like ramen and oatmeal require hot water, which a microwave oven could boil in under a minute. Add bok-choy or any leafy veggies of your choice to any soup and you get yourself a ramen-like meal.
While I don’t recommend eating cup-noodles and mug oatmeals on a daily basis, it’s always good to know that you can prepare emergency meals when you’re sick and unable to cook meals from scratch.
2. Easy to move.
Moving from one rented flat to the next within months? Microwave ovens aren’t too bulky, so you don’t need another person to help you move them. Compared to gas ovens and convection ovens that are much more complicated to transfer, bringing your microwave oven to a new house is as easy as carrying a monitor with you.
And if you want to transfer the microwave oven from the kitchen to your room, it is possible and relatively safe to do so because there is no direct fire when using it.
3. User-friendly and Almost Fire-proof
Microwave ovens can still catch on fire, especially if you let them run without any food inside for the equipment to focus its heat on. However, the percentage of fires related to microwave ovens is very minimal compared to conventional ovens, gas stoves, and other kitchen equipment with direct fire.
Operating the microwave oven is also very easy, even if you’re just exploring the culinary world for the first time. Melting butter, hardened honey, chocolate, and other ingredients are a breeze; so does “steaming” veggies and fish.
And because microwave ovens have been around for decades, you can find an unlimited number of recipes for you to try out.
4. Homemade pizza, mac & cheese, and your favorite desserts cooked in a single serving.
The microwave oven is highly ideal for singles and couples. You don’t need to prepare a big batch of recipes every time, since the microwave can’t really accommodate huge family meals.
But if you’re craving pizza, mac & cheese, chocolate cake, your grandma’s cookies, and other traditionally-baked food, you’d be pleasantly surprised that you could trim your recipes to make single-serve of your favorite food. And you won’t even have to wash a pile of pots and pans after you’re done, which is always a plus point for me.
5. Multi-function from defrosting to heating and different cooking techniques.
Aside from reheating and defrosting frozen food, a microwave oven can also be your main cooking equipment to prepare and cook meals from scratch.
You can make purees, soups, sauces, meats, fish, and poultry in various methods like baked, broiled, and steamed.
You do have to expect that a microwave oven cannot give you the crispiness of classic fried chicken, french fries, and other “fried” meals. It simply isn’t designed to crisp up your food (get a toaster oven or airfryer instead, if you’re a fan of fried food).
6. No Need to Invest in a Lot of Pots and Pans
There’s a bigger possibility that college kids and people starting out with their own place have small houses, apartments, condo units, and other types of accommodation. Investing in pots and pans can quickly fill up your kitchen.
Fortunately, if you’re using a microwave oven, you should know by now that you only need a microwave-safe plate, bowl, or container to cook your food. You don’t need to buy any bulky pans or pots to be able to cook your meals.
I know there are fancier microwave ovens that are priced as high as conventional ovens, but if you stick to basic features, your pockets won’t have to suffer.
Microwave ovens are budget-friendly and often stand the test of time. My first microwave oven cost $50 and lasted almost ten years, which went way beyond my expectations.
Gone are the days when a microwave oven’s sole purpose was to heat up leftover meals. With a little bit of creativity and hundreds of recipes online that guide you to awesome cooking from your microwave oven, this budget-friendly, easy-to-use, and highly versatile kitchen equipment can be your go-to equipment until you’re ready to invest in a bigger oven.