Aug 21, 2019
Courtesy: Christian Mattos

College life without a microwave

I lived in the dorms as a freshman, and I worked as a resident advisor during my sophomore and junior years. It hasn’t been until senior year that I’ve been (financially) able to live off campus in an apartment.

But there is one crucial thing missing from my apartment that has, in the past, proved necessary for a college student’s survival: a microwave.

Yeah. I don’t have a microwave.

At first, it was fine. I was used to going to the dining hall for most of my meals, so it’s about time that I started cooking for myself!

I didn’t fully realize the problem until after my mom had taken me grocery shopping one day.

I looked at the single-serving cups of macaroni and cheese, the packets of microwave oatmeal, and the individual tea bags.

And then it hit me: how am I going to eat this stuff? How am I going to reheat stuff? What if I’m just feeling lazy one day?

But fear not, for I am strong and resourceful!

OK, to be honest, I just don’t buy these items unless I’m planning to take them to work. Because honestly, what’s the point of having them taunt me when I get home from the late shift, knowing full well that I can’t eat them because I have no way of making them?!

But how about reheating leftovers? Again, we have the work lunch option, but like I said, I’m resourceful. So let’s discuss the interesting ways you can reheat food.

For pizza, I do the “fancy” reheating job in the oven. Nothing newsworthy there, but it does make me feel like I’m in Italy cooking in my artisan brick oven instead of microwaving it and having it ready to eat in less than five minutes.

Making tea is also time consuming, because I can’t just make an individual cup. I mean, technically I can, but I have to make it in a pot on the stove. So not only am I dirtying a cup, I’m dirtying a pot, too. I can take doing small dishes, but pots and pans are just so much worse.

The hardest thing to warm up is butter. I keep it in the fridge 24/7 because it’ll melt if I leave it out. So whenever I want to make cookies or spread some butter on bread for grilled cheese, it’s hard as a rock. Here’s what I’ve found to be effective: I’ll place it next to a burner (but not too close) so the heat will soften it. One time, I put it on a tray and in the stove for a minute, but uh, I’ll let you guess how that turned out.

Lastly, let’s talk about Chipotle. I don’t usually finish my burrito bowls from Chipotle, but obviously I’m not going to let it go to waste! There’s probably a more normal way of doing it, but I reheat my Chipotle in a very special way.

I have this little pot, and I’m sure plenty of you know the pot: the little one that’s usually reserved for a can of soup. Yes, that pot. I put my leftover rice, beans and chicken into the pot, and I stir it all around to make sure it’s heated evenly.

Sure, I feel stupid doing some of these “kitchen hacks,” if you want to call them that, but it’s the best way I can reheat my food without dropping more money.

And so far, life without a microwave has been pretty OK. I’ve found ways to make it work, so I can’t complain too much.

Just don’t get me started on what it’s like not having a toaster. (Goodbye Eggos and bagels, hello cereal!)

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