Family lore has it that one of my elderly aunts would leap out of her chair as if her wig were on fire and run from the kitchen the moment she heard the whrrrrr sound of the family’s new microwave oven. Apparently, she was convinced it was the work of the devil, and that radiation poison would seep into the pores of anyone caught within a 12-ft radius of where it was being used.
Crazy lady. Everyone knows the poisonous rays have a range of only 6 feet.
Seriously, I’m not quite that bad. But I do hate microwaves. Always have. Setting aside any questions I may have over long-term exposure and food safety (which are many), let’s just talk strictly about dining quality.
I hate the scab-like texture or rubbery mouthfeel of foods that have been nuked in them. The uneven heating results. The way the ones in the office come to resemble crime scenes from Dexter, with crusty crimson stains of exploding soups and spaghetti sauce. Blech.
For lack of options, though, and like all the other office drones I reluctantly brought my chilled food offerings to the altar of the electromagnetic gods, holding my breath as the timer counted down and wondering if today was the day when I’d scorch my tongue (again) on an entree hiding a flaming hotspot in the center.
We put up with these dining fails because you can only eat so many salads in a row before you start yearning for the comfort of a warm meal on the job.
Which is why I couldn’t click the “Add to cart” button on Amazon fast enough when I stumbled onto the HotLogic Mini Personal Portable Oven:
Why do I love it?
- It’s convenient. I love being able to throw refrigerated or even frozen items in there at 9am, go about my workday and have a slow-cooked meal ready and waiting at lunchtime. I don’t have to sit there and monitor anything, be concerned about overcooking, or worry about starting a fire at my desk. Once it’s brought up to temperature, my meal is kept warm and toasty until I’m ready for it.
- It gives new life to leftovers. Everything that comes out of it has that just-cooked feel and taste that you can only get from food that’s been slowly simmered.
- It saves me time and money. Have you ever tried to save cash and precious time during weekday mornings by making bulk porridge on Sunday, to take to work Monday through Wednesday? It becomes a gloppy, clumpy and stiff mess when you try to bring it back to life in the office microwave. In the Hotlogic Mini, everything returns to its original creamy goodness, as if it were just freshly prepared on the stove. Same goes for any make-ahead meals that you freeze at home. No more worrying about defrosting ahead of time. Just zip the frozen food in as soon as you get to work, and come back 2 or 3 hours later to a perfectly heated gourmet meal.
- It will reheat in any container, safely. This is a big one. I prefer glass and stainless steel because it’s more environmentally sound, but sometimes all you have is a plastic or recycled cardboard container. It’s good knowing the HotLogic plays nicely with all of them.
- It’s great for those with no access to an office microwave, or who want to avoid the lunchroom mob scene. Enough said. We’ve all been there, running back and forth from your desk to the office kitchen down the hall, checking on your microwave status while annoyed coworkers give you the stink eye because they’ve been standing there holding their cold entree, waiting for the idiot who left their food behind.
- It’s portable. You can take this anywhere. Imagine being able to reheat food in your hotel room while on business or other travel. And while I personally haven’t tried it yet (but plan to), I’m pretty sure you can take this on long road trips and plug it into something like this that draws power from your vehicle’s running engine, saving money and stops at fast food joints.
The verdict is in: the office microwave is dead to me.
As they say on Game of Thrones, “Winter is coming.” And that means plenty of leftover veggie chili, soups, stews and casseroles.
I’m ready. Just don’t tell HR.