Friday, December 15, 2006

OF MICROWAVES AND KILOWATTS


There are several things I've never been able to do: skip, sing in tune, get to grips with mathematics, play any sport or do anything arty. So I am quite pleased with my effort at a Christmas table centre here, using a cedro, some cinnamon sticks slotted through Christmas napkin rings, walnuts, clementines and an orange studded with cloves. Tomorrow I'll get around to drying out some oranges in a slow oven, which is what you are supposed to do before you stick the cloves in them.

I used to dry oranges in the microwave in Britain and the above was a preamble to telling you that I don't have one here. I haven't got around to getting one, and, having survived 18 months without such a contraption, I am wondering if I really need one. What did I use it for in Britain? I'm not a ready-meal sort of person [which is just as well because there are none here] so I used it for melting chocolate, cooking rice for one person and for a few recipes such as garlic mushrooms. Oh! - And for warming one of those herb-filled pads that soothe your aches and pains. Another consideration is the amount of electricity a microwave would use; I haven't an idea what that would be. Sorry to repeat myself if you've been following the blog, but if you haven't, you may not know that each dwelling has only 3 kilowatts of electricity all over Italy. [You can buy more kilowatts but then your tariff goes up.] So far [touch wood] this has not been a problem for me, though I have had to get used to the idea of thinking about how many electrical appliances I can have on at the same time; for example, I can't have the oven and the washing machine on together and I have to check before I put the electric kettle on as it apparently uses a lot of energy. So if I bought a microwave, that would be another appliance to worry about in this regard and also, as I would use it mainly for vegetable side dishes or certain antipasti, I'd probably want it on at the same time as the oven, wouldn't I? You don't see them in many houses here. What do readers think? How many of you find a microwave essential? Would you buy one if you came to live in a culture where they are used so little? [I think they are used more in the north, where you can get ready-meals, I read, but I'm sure they are not used to the extent that they are in Britain. A lot of women here use pressure cookers for vegetables and those things scare me to death!]

10 comments:

Steve G said...

I think we would be hard pressed without our Microwave. we would eat out more.

Lee said...

I think microwave ovens are unnecessary. I have a little one but I put it out in my back room as it was just taking up room that I needed on my kitchen bench and I very rarely use it. At one point I used to store packets of biscuits in it! I've cooked professionally in restaurants, hotels, resorts and I rarely ever used them there either. When this one breaks down, I wouldn't bother replacing it. Call me old-fashion but I still don't really trust them. One kitchen I worked in up in North Queensland had their microwaves set up on a shelf above the main working/preparation area...I shifted my preparation area well away from the micro ovens as I just didn't feel comfortable with them whirring away around the level of my head. I think you can do without one over there.

Modern pressure cookers don't explode like those our mother's used to use. The new ones are fine...just read the instructions carefully. You will have no problems.

Ellee said...

It's a long time since I've used a pressure cooker. Microwaves are great for heating milk and not having nasty stains in pans to clean up afterwards. I can understand why you don't need a microwave, none of the recipes you have featured here would have been suitable cooked that way.

Steve G said...

I hate to be of the opposite opinion, but I think we would have to eat out more if we didn't have a microwave. Somethings just make life simpler for some folks. Others have their own way of doing things. Nothing wrong with that.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks, Lee. That's sound advice and as you say, the things do take up working bench space. Re pressure cookers, yes, I think it is the memories of the things our mothers had exploding that put me off so maybe I'll try one of the new ones.

Ballpoint Wren said...

Pressure cookers are terrifying devices, even if the modern ones are safer. The way they rattle freaks me out!

How interesting on the electricity limit. But I like the idea of cooking everything in the old-fashioned way. And there's a restaurant around here that advertises: "we don't have any microwaves or freezers!"

Ian said...

They're not at all common in the South of Russia, and in the three years we lived there, we neither had one nor missed one.

Now, in the UK, we have one. We use it for, well, heating up those pads. I also use it for reviving cups of tea, but have no idea why: I'd do far better taste-wise to make a fresh brew, and while I haven't checked the energy ratings of oven and kettle, I'm not sure I'm saving anything by microwaving the old tea rather than boiling a cupful of water in the kettle for a new one.

Shirl said...

We mainly (only!) use ours to warm the plates (no top level grill and they get way too hot in the oven for me to handle while serving food) and 'steamed' vegetables. I love most veggies cooked this way even though we do have a three-storey steamer.I just find the latter a bit much to assemble and then wash for a few green beans, carrots and leeks (or whatever).

Liz said...

I love my pressure cooker!

I use my microwave for veg mostly - oh, goody, the postman just arrived with a nice big Amazon parcel - and find it good for that.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Bonnie and Liz. I suppose it depends whether you're used to pressure cookers or not. I've never used one but I do remember my mum having one that exploded!
I'm waiting for an Amazon parcel to arrive here, Liz; it will contain the two Moro cookbooks!

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