An (un)Necessary Convenience: Should We Fear the Microwave?

Microwave Oven

I have two kinds of friends – those who use microwaves and those who don’t. Somewhere along the way I became one of the non-users. I actually do own a microwave, but I only use it as a last resort and only in certain instances and with stipulations (never microwave anything in or with plastic, for one). Where did the trepidation about this modern tool for conveniently reheating food come from? Is the fear of microwaves unfounded?

While there’s no dearth of articles on the subject, I question much of what I’ve read as many opinions are inflammatory, with dubious sources. From what I can gauge, studies show conflicting reports with one area of agreement – avoid microwaving food in or with any plastic. It seems reasonable to microwave food using only microwave-safe containers such as ceramic or Pyrex, given that research has shown certain plastics can leech into food that could potentially be harmful.

Sometimes it comes down to aesthetics – a desire for purity. Why would I use a microwave when I honestly don’t need one? I can easily heat or re-heat anything quickly on my stovetop with one simple trick. Pour a small amount of water into the saucepan before adding the food, cover, crank up the heat and steam the food in 3-5 minutes. Seems convenient to me!

Image: Valerie Everett