Following their invention in 1946, microwaves spread to most American kitchens in the decades that followed. As microwave use expanded, cookbooks dedicated to the appliance entered the marketplace. The peak of those publications hit during the 1970s and crossed the line into a new realm of unappetizing foods. Some of the worst offenders included recipes for Bouillabaisse, Cornish Hens, gumbo, spaghetti, steaks, and salmon.
Most food suffers irreparable harm in texture, taste and odor when prepared in a microwave due to uneven cooking or by the steam produced inside the food. I stand by this statement even when reheating foods originally cooked by other conventional means, particularly baked goods. You’ll ruin the texture of a good biscuit or pizza crust in a microwave.
If you really want to piss off your coworkers at lunch, irradiate a piece of fish in a microwave. But don’t blame me for the workplace violence that ensues as the aroma hangs heavily above the cubicles in your office.
Despite my disparagement of the microwave, I do find uses for it in my kitchen. At low power settings, I defrost frozen stocks and broths. The microwave produces a satisfying oatmeal and grits. The only other food that I cook in the microwave is scrambled eggs. The microwave doesn’t do a better job at cooking these foods but can make appetizing versions of these foods in environments where the microwave is the only cooking option.
The ease of cooking eggs makes them an attractive food for breakfast or lunch in the workplace. If you worry about breaking your eggs on the way to work, crumble up a napkin or paper towel around the eggs in a plastic container large enough to hold both eggs to prevent them from knocking around. All you need is a microwave safe ceramic coffee mug or bowl, a fork, a little salt, and the patience of your coworkers as the microwave beeps and beeps with each cooking cycle as you heat your eggs in short time segments. Tasty scrambled eggs cannot be achieved by cooking them in the microwave for full minute or two. Progressively shorter cooking time intervals and stirring the eggs between those intervals ensures a moist, fluffy texture for scrambled eggs.
Microwaved Egg Scramble
- 2 large eggs
- Few dashes of salt
- 2 slices of deli ham (optional)
- 1 slice of American cheese or 1-2 Tbsp of shredded cheddar or other cheese (optional)
Crack two eggs into a coffee mug, add a few sprinkles of salt and scramble with a fork. Microwave on high heat setting and stir for the following time intervals:
- 24 seconds
- 18 seconds
- 15 seconds
- 12 seconds
- 12 seconds
- 9 seconds
Power levels may vary by microwave so you may have to alter the number of time intervals to cook your scrambled eggs. The cooking time intervals should become shorter each time to prevent overcooking. Stirring and scraping the sides of the bowl or mug between intervals helps redistribute heat in the eggs and develop fluffy texture. The key is to keep your eggs moist and prevent them from drying out while cooking. Moist eggs will continue to cook and dry out in their container for about a minute after heating in the microwave. Overcooking ruins the texture.
Vary your scrambled eggs with a few shreds of deli ham at the start of cooking. Add a tablespoon or two of shredded cheese at the end during your final stir enjoy!