There is something missing from my kitchen. It drives visiting family nuts and confuses babysitters.
We are living without a microwave.
Surprisingly, we don’t have a microwave for the “usual” reasons that natural-minded families dislike microwaves. I’m not worried about radiation or cancer risk (although I’m sure I would be if I wasn’t already anti microwave). Living without a microwave is different for us.
I don’t like how easy the microwave makes it to eat.
In our house, delicious food cannot be easy to find or make because we will eat it immediately and copiously. The only foods that we can consume quickly are fruits, vegetables, a toasted piece of my homemade Ezekiel bread and some homemade hummus. Our immediate food options are still above and beyond that of our foraging ancestors, who only had surrounding vegetation as an immediate snack.
So, why are we living without a microwave?
We know ourselves well. We know that we have little willpower in the face of deliciousness. We know that we are snackers at heart. And the microwave makes that all too easy – you can take a few ingredients, pop them in the microwave and remove deliciousness just a few moments later. No time to think about what you’re doing. No lag between unnecessary-desire-to-eat and actually eating. Food becomes so readily accessible that it becomes under appreciated and is eaten without being savored.
Your great grandparents and great great grandparents didn’t have that luxury. If they wanted something to eat, they had to go out to the garden to pick it, get eggs from the chicken coup or slaughter a chicken before they could even step foot in the kitchen. Then, they could chop the vegetables, cook the meat, bake the bread.
At the inception of cooking a meal, your great grandparents had already done more work than we do for all three of our daily meals. I think they had a different appreciation for their food than we do. They appreciated the blood, sweat and tears that goes into producing food and so they did not take advantage of it. They did not eat more than was needed. They treated food like a precious resource, almost like we now treat water, electricity and oil. Instead, we treat food as an entitlement. In a way, food was holy – And it should be again. One of the definitions of “sacred” is devoted exclusively to the service or use of something. In the case of food, it is sacred because it is meant to be devoted exclusively to the service of nourishing our god-given bodies.
Keeping the microwave out of our house helps us to bring the holiness back into eating. It helps us return to honoring ourselves and giving respect to our bodies. Yes, at 2 AM sometimes you wish you have a microwave to warm milk for a baby – but for us, it’s worth it.
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