The Microwave Turns Forty Amid Mixed Reviews

On the advent of the microwave’s 40th birthday, the UK Guardian considers the appliance, interviewing several chefs, most of whom distain the contraption.

‘I have always felt quite repulsed by them,’ says Skye Gyngell, head chef at the Petersham Nurseries Cafe. … ‘It’s all about instant food and instant gratification and I think that those properties are the antithesis of what chefs do. It puts convenience above quality and I think that’s what chefs object to most of all. It all seems very disrespectful to food somehow.’

Another chef, Matthew Christmas of London’s Chez Bruce, says it’s not the microwave’s fault, but the marketers. “It’s marketed as a tool that you can cook with and you just can’t. … If the microwave was a bit more realistic about its place in the kitchen then it might get a better press. If it was called a butter melter or a chocolate warmer then people would think it was fantastic.” (How about popcorn popper?)

I lived for years without a microwave, only falling under its sway when I moved into a house with one already in the kitchen. I’ve just moved again and left it behind—and I do miss it. I’m not sure it warrants the use of counter space, but every time I need to warm up a piece of lasagne or a bowl of soup, I consider going out and buying a small, cheap version.