Non-Cooking With The Anti-Chef

AROUND THE RIM COUNTRY

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I have taken a solemn vow to never cook conventionally again.

This vow is based on my deep-seated faith that if God had intended us to cook, he would not have allowed the microwave oven to be invented. It's related to my sincere conviction that if God wanted us to use chopsticks, he wouldn't have given us the wondrous gift of forks.

In fact, I am sure that when the big guy gives Moses the Next 10 Commandments -- XI through XX -- chief among them will be: "Thou shalt not use a conventional stove to prepare thy food." (not to mention: "Thou shalt not use chopsticks unless thine art Asian.")

Pretentious people often try to demean the microwave as somehow beneath their dignity. And even some food packages you buy that give directions for preparing the contents in several ways, including microwaving, will include the admonition: "Microwaving is not recommended."

I suspect it is the Conventional Stove Lobby up to its usual dirty tricks. It's them or the We Don't Have a Life So We Like to Spend an Eternity Preparing Meals Society. Or possibly the Organization of People Who Think Our Way Is the Only Way.

Let them do and say what they will; I prefer the microwave as my food warmer of choice. And I can back my preference up with proof that it is superior to old-fashioned stove cooking.

Just check out the Better Health Channel's Web site (www.betterhealth.vic.gov.) where you will find more than you ever wanted to know about microwave cooking, including:

  • "It is faster than conventional methods of cooking."

(And, as we all are taught in the U.S., time is money.)

  • Because they only heat the food and not the air, microwaves are more energy efficient.
  • More nutrients are retained when you nuke than when you cook conventionally.

For you diehard stovetop people, here is the coup de grace that will cause you to throw away those old-fashioned stoves. It comes in the form of a selection of extremely simple, delicious, mouth-watering microwave recipes from Ann's Free Quick and Easy Recipe Kitchen (there's lots more at members.amaonline.com.)

Microwave tea

4 cups water

8 small tea bags or 2 qt. size bags

In large microwave-proof bowl, combine the above and place in microwave for 8 minutes on high, turning bowl 1/2 turn at 4 minutes time. Remove from oven. Remove tea bags and add sugar to taste (same as regular tea). Put in one gallon container and add warm water. Makes one gallon.
Nachos

1 bag tortilla chips

1 pound ground beef

1 pound grated cheese

Brown ground beef in skillet. Divide chips into single serving bowls. Put ground beef over chips. Top with grated cheese. Place in microwave and cook on high for 1 minute. If desired, top with sour cream.

Party franks

1 pound frankfurters

1 (10-ounce) jar hot picante sauce

2 tablespoons mustard

1 teaspoon sugar

Cut frankfurters into small bite size pieces. Mix picante sauce, mustard and sugar into a micro-proof casserole. Add frankfurters. Cook 10 minutes. Let stand 3 minutes. Serve with cocktail picks.

Walking Banana Breakfast

8-inch flour tortilla

2 to 3 tablespoons peanut butter

2 to 3 jam or jelly

1 small banana, peeled

Place tortilla on a paper towel, microwave on high for 10 to 20 seconds until tortilla is soft and warm. Spread with peanut butter, then top with jelly or jam. Place banana near the right edge of the tortilla. Fold up the bottom 1/4 of tortilla. Bring right edge over the banana and roll up.

What could be simpler? Perhaps some of my very own microwave recipes, all tested and perfected in my very own kitchen:

Popcorn

1 bag microwave popcorn

1 manly movie

Remove cellophane wrapper. Place in microwave as instructed. Cook as instructed. Do not leave kitchen during cooking because microwave popcorn burns easily (and so does your house). Eat while watching guy movie. (Note: Chick flicks such as "Steel Magnolias," "Somewhere in Time," and "Calendar Girls" that make you gag while watching are not recommended.)

Leftover Pizza

1 leftover pizza

Paper towel

Buy and eat pizza. Refrigerate leftovers for several days. Place leftover slices on paper towel. Heat to taste. Eat while watching sporting event on TV.

And here is my all-time favorite, perfected through many trials and errors:

Egg Sandwich

2 eggs

PAM or similar cooking spray

2 slices bread of choice

1 touch of luck

Spray Microwave Pan by Amberware or plain saucer with PAM. Pour in two eggs beaten. Cover with saucer slightly offset to allow air in. Nuke for 99 seconds. Place on bread or toast. Add condiments.

(NOTE: Eggs will explode during cooking about once every six times, but the possibility of such occurrences add an element of suspense not usually present in cooking. Guys like this. Besides, the other five times you microwave eggs the result is, as the great Italian chefs say, "perfectissimo."

P.S. Chopsticks work very well for scraping the occasional egg chunks off the interior of your microwave.

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