Microwaves are What’s Wrong with Our Country.

Via Jennifer S. White
on Dec 27, 2012
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I’m offended by the crappy food and ill-health that these small appliances breed.

I was making a killer macaroni and cheese recipe for my husband’s holiday party at work, and of course I hit the road block of how to warm it back up. He said the only way to reheat it is a microwave.

Ugh with a capital u.

Seriously, the entire reason that this macaroni and cheese rocks is that it has this golden crispy breading goodness on top. I was trying to explain this to my hubby, when I was sidetracked into my microwave spiel, and finally I just burst out with: “Microwaves are what’s destroying this country and I’m going to write a blog on it.”

My husband said I’d offend a lot of people.

I said I’m offended by the crappy food and ill-health that these small appliances breed.

Let me tell you, I haven’t owned a microwave since I’ve lived on my own, outside of my parents house. Although I’ve always subscribed to the “never say never” philosophy, at this point I’d say that I will never own a microwave.

The house we’re renting has a microwave in the downstairs bar area. (It also has a mini fridge, which I find quite useful, but I digress.) This microwave literally sits at the bottom of our stairs, which makes me feel like some bizarre evil presence is being trapped in our below-stairs cubby space. (You’ll remember Harry Potter’s poor adoptive situation or People Under the Stairs—although that movie’s honestly a little bit funny.)

The point is that microwaves are symbolic.

They’re symbolic of the impatience, general lack of originality and sad lack of good home cooking that seems to permeate our society. Yet, I don’t want to classify microwave “cooking” as something truly evil or immoral. This gets into similarly sticky situations such as, “I don’t own a television,” or “I take the bus.” (Both things, by the way, I’ve been able to say in the past.)

While these statements, as a whole, make great environmental and social fodder, they also have the real potential to be, at best, snobbish and elitist and, at worst, ethnocentric and egotistical. Once again I digress.

You might be asking yourself by now why I decided to write, much less publish, this piece.

Surely it’s not along my typical blog-line of easy-to-read ways or reasons to do something, but this idea spoke to me.

I think it’s important that we spend more time thinking about what we’re doing to our bodies, to our families and to our society as a whole. I think it’s safe to say that many families don’t cook together or even eat together every night. I think it’s safe to conclude that conversation happens when you’re both eating and cooking with someone; conversation that might have a profound, untold impact upon the quality of our relationships and our children’s critical nurturing and growth.

So should you throw away your microwave? No.

Should you rethink using it as a crutch of convenience? Yes.


Because we teach our children by example, and as corny as it is, our children are our future. Personally, I’d like my future to not come so quickly.

After all, what’s the rush?



Assistant Ed: Terri Tremblett


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About Jennifer S. White

Jennifer S. White is a voracious reader, obsessive writer, passionate yoga instructor and drinker of hoppy ales. She’s also a devoted mama and wife (a stay-at-home yogi). She considers herself to be one of the funniest people who ever lived and she’s also an identical twin. In addition to her work on elephant journal, Jennifer has over 40 articles published on the wellness website MindBodyGreen and her yoga-themed column Your Personal Yogi ran in the newspaper Toledo Free Press. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in geology, absolutely no degrees in anything related to literature, and she currently owns a wheel of cheese. If you want to learn more about Jennifer, make sure to check out her writing, as she’s finally put her tendencies to over-think and over-share to good use. Jennifer is the author of The Best Day of Your Life, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She's also as excited as a five year old to announce the release of her second book, The Art of Parenting: Love Letters from a Mother, available on Amazon.


9 Responses to “Microwaves are What’s Wrong with Our Country.”

  1. Nuke the gay whales.

  2. Jennifer White says:

    I hope this doesn't offend, but I was really inspired to write this tongue-in-cheek piece on our societal need for patience. Also as a side note, this was written and submitted before the recent school tragedy. No connections with it and this article are possible, much less intended, yet I feel this blog's importance even more. Happy reading and sharing!

  3. AMR says:

    Jennifer, this article does NOT offend. It's a great reminder that food is so intrinsically essential in our lives. 9 times out of 10 when I first meet someone or sit down for lunch at a conference with a random group, the FIRST thing we talk about is food. It happens naturally. I feel about fast food the way you do about microwaves. I own a microwave and use it only for reheating soups for quick lunches. To actually cook with it scares the hell out of me. To actually "cook" manufactured, frozen, pre-packaged food in it will happen only when hell freezes over. Good, wholesome food takes time, and making it together with loved ones creates a bond that only time allows. You're right to claim that microwaves are destroying our country. But so are fast food chains, pre-packaged frozen foods, restaurants that simply "reheat" their food, the fact that good food isn't affordable and/or accessible to everyone. Good food can heal. Why else on earth would we all believe that Mom's homemade soup makes us instantly feel better. Guess what? Making soup–a good one that can last all week long–takes an hour. Imagine the healing that could happen if instead of buying canned soup, we all started making soup from scratch? And imagine how much more peace could spread if we reheated it on the stovetop instead of the microwave? If you offend anyone with this post, it means maybe they should use their microwaves a little less and cook on the stovetop a little more. Thanks so much for this post; gutsy posts, like this one by you, are the ones that need to be read, shared, and put into practice.

  4. Jennifer White says:

    AMR thank you so much for the thoughtful response. I agree with you wholeheartedly and I do include fast food culture in this thought, as it wouldn't be possible without quick-cooking appliances. (Additionally, soup is one of our household staples 🙂 Also, Donovan, fyi, no one in their right mind would "like" your icky, weird response; I actually accidentally clicked "like" by your oddity instead of the facebook "like" and share icon. Thanks again, AMR

  5. Timmy_Robins says:

    Oh, you didnt get Don's joke . Here is the explanation

    Nuke unborn gay whales for jesus or Nuke the gay whales:

    "Are both satires on a whole bunch of causes, to wit:

    NUKE-a reference to the nuclear freeze, anti-nuclear energy, and disarmament bumper stickers of the early 1980s.

    UNBORN/BABY-refers to pro-life/anti-abortion bumper stickers of the same era

    GAY-refers to gay-rights stickers

    WHALES-refers to the "Save the Whales" stickers seen in the late 1970s-early 1980s

    FOR JESUS-and all the religious bumperstickers, mostly of an Evangelical slant.

    And the whole thing is meant as a joke at the expense of all people who display their opinions on the bumpers of their cars.

    In other words, friends and neighbors, there is something here to offend nearly everybody, if they so desire to be offended."

    You talk about teaching by example, patience , etc … With a little bit of patience and a google search you could have known what Don meant and then you wouldnt have posted such an hostile comment yourself.

  6. Jennifer White says:

    No, what you don't understand is that his comment, to me at least, still doesn't make sense in this context. Nuke, microwave, I get it, but by your conjecture, he's saying that I meant to offend? Possibly, I mean to wake people up and get us thinking about our daily habits, especially ones that lead to societal destruction and disease. Thanks for your hostile comment though, and for reading my piece.

  7. Jennifer White says:

    My point being simple: if anyone spent time on google, it was him trying to find a blog on microwaves in which this lame, psuedo-intellectual joke could be used.

  8. Edward Staskus says:

    Maybe microwaves are metaphors, but I think they are just tools. Sometimes a stovetop is the better way to cook something, sometimes a microwave is not as good, or better, it depends. Microwaves are great for defrosting things quickly. In other words, I have both screwdrivers and a cordless drill. Sometimes I will use a a screwdriver, when I have to be careful about not stripping the screw. Sometimes i will use my cordless, when there are multiple screws to get at and they are easy to do, say, like wood screws, or something like that. I don't think the analogy to fast food is exactly right. Fast food is salty, fatty, animal products, mostly, and pretty bad for you. Just a way for corporations to make a fast buck. Microwaves are appliances, like your water heater, or hair dryer, so they are more like neutral signifiers.

  9. katie kastberg says:

    Finally someone is talking about how evil microwaves are! I was raised on cooking food in the microwave – it started out as fresh food, then we would nuke it to pieces. I have a few hormonal issues that some scientists have linked to microwaving. I have also seen experiments where plants were watered with microwaved water – they die! Miraculously the plants that had just plain old tap water survived. Now I don't blame microwaves for all the worlds problems, but i do think that between GM products, preservatives, high and unwarranted consumption of sugars and gluten (could go on and on) we really don't need to be adding Microwaving to the list. I can see no good from it. Wouldn't be at all surprised if they eventually work out that it kills………..slowly. AND I agree with you Jen the previous 'joke' was lame.