While visiting with friends over the weekend, my friend of a pre-teen and I were talking about cooking. She had made this delicious slow-cooked tender chicken, veggies and baby potatoes dish and it was delicious! I was very impressed because neither of us really cooked. She later revealed that it came from Costco and she only had to warm it up for 5, maybe 10 minutes. After I picked my jaw up from the table to continue eating, we began to talk about how her daughter calls her a Microwave mom because she cooks in the microwave more often than not. I could totally relate. I am also a Microwave Mom.
I know what you are thinking, “Microwave mom? What is that?” Exactly what it sounds like, a mom that cooks using the microwave. There are generations of women who came before me that are probably turning over in their graves at the thought of me saying that I am proud to cook in a microwave when they had to take home ec to learn how to cook so they would be able to cook a nice home cooked meal for their families one day. Well, times have changed. Women work just as hard as men and in some instances, the roles have reversed and the man stays home. Take-out is no longer limited to pizza or Chinese, even McDonald’s can be delivered via Uber Eats if that’s what tickles your fancy. A clown can become president, and yes, there are women, and mothers who do not know how to cook.
It is not for lack of trying. Growing up my mom and grandma (both amazing cooks) tried to show me the ropes. It just wasn’t in the cards for me. The exact opposite in fact. The more time I spent in the kitchen, the less I wanted to be in there to cook. There was nothing appealing about standing over a hot stove all day to prepare a meal for people who would devour it in a matter of minutes, then get up and walk away from the table as though the plates were going to clean and dry themselves, the table would miraculously just clean itself off, and the floors would sweep and mop themselves. Nope, that was not appealing to me at all. I did, however, enjoy watching my grandma and mom cook all day. I enjoyed sitting in the kitchen at the table and tasting everything. I enjoyed their teamwork, small talk and the attention they paid me. I appreciated how much they wanted to involve me and make me feel like I was part of the process so I would also be proud of the meal that was presented when dinner was served. But, what I loved most was the joy on their faces when not a word was spoken because everyone was too busy eating, and the joy they took in seeing the satisfied faces of everyone they loved after eating a meal that they prepared for them. I get the point of cooking. I get why so many people love to do it. If I were a great cook, perhaps I would enjoy it also. My brother inherited this amazing talent. I did not. But, I can microwave the heck out of leftovers!
In my defense, I tried to cook. It just didn’t work out. Throughout my adult years I have dabbled in the kitchen here and there and occasionally, I would make something amazing that I was likely to never be able to duplicate. Once, I made honey walnut shrimp from scratch and it was delicious. The second time around, not so much. This year, for the Superbowl, I made delicious lemon pepper chicken wings, when I tried to duplicate them, they were so salty we had to throw them away.
In addition to not being the best cook, I also don’t have the attention span to do it. Halfway through I start to wonder what the heck I was thinking when I volunteered to cook. My husband trying to nonchalantly be present in the kitchen to make sure I don’t burn it down doesn’t really help either. I set off a couple of fire alarms a couple of times and suddenly I have to be monitored while in the kitchen.
So, when I say I am a microwave mom, does that mean that I only cook food in the Microwave? No, no it does not. It means that I can cook anything in the microwave, oven or stovetop as long as it has 3 or fewer ingredients, and can be ready in 20 min or less, 30 max (maybe). The microwave is the easiest and fastest and therefore preferred. For example, Orange Chicken and Rice. Sounds Fancy huh? Well, believe it or not, thanks to my Sister-in-love (as my dad likes to refer to my in-laws) and Trader Joes, this is a 3 ingredient meal that I can make in 30 minutes. My Sis came over one day and made the meal for us. She took the pre-cooked frozen pack of orange chicken and emptied the bag into the pyrex, then popped it in the preheated oven for 20 min. After that, she added the orange sauce packets that come with it, stirred the chicken to make sure all the piece were coated, then popped it all back into the oven for about 10 more min. During this time, she cooked 2 bags of Jasmine rice prepackaged in a microwavable bag for 3 minutes each and cooked a bag of their fried rice in a skillet just to show off. Dinner was served within 30 minutes and the kids loved it.
A few weeks later, I made the dish for my parents who were visiting and they loved it. I didn’t bother to make the fried rice on the stovetop because that would have made 4 ingredients, and I knew my parents would be very impressed by the orange chicken and rice. The fried rice would not have been believable.
Trader Joes and Costco have so many great options that can be easily microwaved or quickly reheated in the oven so that I don’t have to waste my time trying to cook things my kids won’t eat. Likewise, my husband won’t force himself to eat what I made to avoid hurting my feelings, and I won’t have to eat it since he is putting forth the effort to spare my feelings when I knew it was gross, to begin with. I put it in my marriage vows that I would not make my husband eat anything I make when I cook if I wouldn’t eat it myself, and I intend to keep that vow.
Some old school moms will judge me for not cooking, but why mess up a good thing. My husband loves to cook, and I clearly do not. I do bake during the colder months as I just can’t pass up the fresh baked smell of a delicious treat during the fall and winter, but other then that, I am happy to step aside. I proudly roll my shopping cart through the frozen section of my local Trader Joes because I know that when my husband has a late or overnight shoot, I will be able to cook something for my kids that they will actually eat and he won’t have to worry about me setting off the smoke alarms…hopefully.
My dad always told me to make sure I marry a man that can cook, so I did.
The P.I. Mom