OT: Microwave cooking

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Friends, as things are a bit slow this time of year, can I get input to dea l with a friend who has an (ill-founded IMHO) prejudice against microwave c ooking.
I need ammo because this is a mature Italian trained professional whose exp erience I am bound to respect, even if I don't agree with his thinking proc ess. (He was brought up in a rural setting in the Veneto where micros were unknown; he strongly prefers eating fresh food only; does not like to rehea t, et.
AFAIK, micros work by heating the molecules of water within the food. Stov e cooking in water works by heating the same molecules from the outside in.
Plus, you throw away a lot of the vitamins in the cooking water, whereas mi cro doesn't lose them.)
He said he tried cooking in my micro a few times and didn't like. I suspec t his thinking process is, uh, unscientific, but it's his taste buds... (an d possibly his confirmation bias..?)
We agree of course that oven/toaster oven is needed to brown/crisp food.
Outside of that area of agreement, he challenges me: Why do restaurant che fs not use micros? My first reaction was because of the large quantities t hat would overwhelm kitchen resources. But any inherent reason?
Any thoughts on:
a. Basic difference(s) if any between micro & stovetop cooking?
b. Why restaurant chefs don't use micros.
c. Has anyone reference to a serious, non-crazy, cooking site where I could also ask? I checked out a few NGs but silly and light-weight .
TIA
ONLY TWO WEEKS TILL THE SOLSTICE, WHEN THE LIGHT BEGINS TO RETURN AND I CAN FUNCTION AGAIN!
HB
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On Sat, 6 Dec 2014 10:31:01 -0800 (PST), Hypatia Nachshon

The main difference is that microwaves are better at reheating than at cooking although some functions like melting butter/chocolate are done more easily with microwaves.

Restaurants do use microwaves, primarilly for reheating. Most restaurant kitchens do have at least one microwave oven, used mostly for reheating relatively small amounts... microwave ovens are at a great disadvantage with the large quantities prepared at restaurants.
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Why don't you try rec.food.cooking?

And this is where you've gone wrong. You seriously think you are going to change someones mind?

rec.food.cooking.
Maybe you thought that group was crazy because it's littered with off topic posts.
Much like the one you just contributed here.
--
Dan Espen

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On 7/12/2014 10:01 AM, Dan Espen wrote:

Only if you want advice as opposed to knowledge IMO.
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On 12/06/2014 03:01 PM, Dan Espen wrote:

Not seeing the harm. She mostly talks about gardening. She is simply asking where her friends are.
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Hypatia Nachshon wrote:

Microwaves do not heat from the inside out but they do penetrate more readily than higher frequency radiant energy infrared light. This means the outside does not heat as much in comparison to the centre, which is a benefit when defrosting or reheating but a disdvantage when wanting to brown. For better or for worse humans love the flavours that develop in browning (see Maillard reaction) which requires high surface temperatures found in frying, roasting and grilling. There are work-arounds for MW but basically they are no good for this.
Aside from defrosting and reheating I mainly use the MW to steam vegetables without water. Such plain fare is not going to be a big seller in most restaurants. Incidentally a micrwave does alter the food value of food simply by cooking it, some substances are destroyed by eat and others made more digestible and some liquid is lost during cooking even when none is added. You are right that some water soluble vitamins and minerals are lost by boiling in water but it is not the case that nothing is lost in a MW.

They do for reheating and defrosting. They don't much for cooking for reasons given above and for other reasons.
Microwave cooking times don't scale the same way by mass of food. In a conventional oven two dozen taters take the same time (or very close to it) to cook as one dozen of the same size but not in a MW. In the MW heating rate depends on weight and water content. This requires quite different thinking if doing a la carte cooking and would require MW of huge power for large quantities.
In a MW the tube that makes the waves is only on at full powere or off - nothing in between. This means that you cannot adjust intensity or temperature only time. It is possible to increase the power of a MW by adding more tubes and to control temperatures by the use of probes but these doesn't solve the problems fully. Then there is the problem of geometry of the oven. MW are much more susceptible to hot spots and cold spots than conventional ovens. Rotating paddles and rotating tables are an attempt to even out heating but neither are 100% efficient.
So my take on it is there are 5 or 6 reasons why MW are not used much for cooking in restaurants.
If you really want to go into the unscientific have a look at the furphy about MW 'irradiating' water and making it kill plants. This would be one of the most persistent zombie (ie impossible to kill) lies about MW.
--
David

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On Sun, 7 Dec 2014 10:25:48 +1100, "David Hare-Scott"

You need to bone up on the reality.
http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/21/health/upwave-microwaving-food/
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My panasonic microwave DOES have variable magnetron output. There is about 6 levels, plus off on timing. I didn't think it was able to do that either, until I read about it. I then measured it, sure enough. If the oven doesn't have a switched mode feed, then the only thing you have is off on timing.
Greg

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Boron Elgar wrote:

What does that mean? Instead of giving a link to a long article why not say what you mean so we don't have to guess about what point you are taking issue with.

--
David

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On 7/12/2014 9:05 PM, David Hare-Scott wrote:

:-)) I too am wondering why that link was posted. I'm scratching my head as to its relevance to anything that has so far been said in this thread and certainly it's got nothing whatsoever to do with what you'd written. Perhaps Boron's is currently experiencing some silly season associated "reality" issues ATM.

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gregz wrote:

Thanks for that. The wonders of inverter tech!
--
David

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wrote:

Microwave ovens don't "steam", they can't produce steam, what they produce is hot water vapor... to produce steam water must be heated under pressure... and if you can see it it's not steam, steam is invisable, what you see coming from a hot baked potato is water vapor, not steam. Cooking in a covered container in a microwave oven is exactly/precisely the same as cooking in a covered pot on a stovetop... both are cooking by convection... only difference is folks tend to use much less liquid with microwaving so it's more important to let food rest a minute or two for the food to continue cooking and for the temperature to even out throughout. Thing is "microwave oven" could be argued is a misnomer, it's not really an oven unless it's one of the newer types that also cooks with radiant heat.
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Once upon a time on usenet Boron Elgar wrote:

Boron, that basically agrees with everything David said. What was your point?
--
Shaun.

"Humans will have advanced a long, long, way when religious belief has a
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On Mon, 08 Dec 2014 14:59:08 +1100, Fran Farmer

Or perhaps you are just being rude, or lack reading comprehension, as does DHS.
The poster implied nutritional loss. The link I posted talked about that.
Boron
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Boron Elgar wrote:

I said
Incidentally a micrwave does

Are you saying that no nutritive value is lost by cooking? (By MW or any other means?)
Are you saying no liquid (water with dissoved substances) is lost when microwaving or is it that no such liquid has any nutritional value?
Unless you taking issue with me on those I don't know what you are going on about. This is why you saying what you actually mean is far better than pointing to an article and leaving it to me to work out the connection in your mind between what it says and what I said.
--
David

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On 7/12/2014 5:31 AM, Hypatia Nachshon wrote:

with a friend who has an (ill-founded IMHO) prejudice against microwave cooking.
This makes me wonder why you think that microwaves are so good and what you cook in one???????
As I used to work long hours and now we have a van with only hotplates and a microwave in it, I've tried to grow to love them, but I can't. I'm more like your friend than you I suspect. I do have a reputation amongst my friends for being a good cook so it's not as if I don't or can't cook.
IME, microwaves have very limited application in real live 'cooking' that is both edible and enjoyable to eat.
They cook rice well, they are great for defrosting or melting, they are fine to reheat some things, they do plain vegetable cooking OK but for real 'cooking'...... Very limited application and they can't 'bake' at all.
Can't bake anything decent in them - either cakes or meat. I can't think of any meat cooked form scratch that turns out well after being in a microwave - and don't get me started on the appalling things it does to pastry!! They also do something really weird to coffee if you try to reheat it in them - it ends up being just plain disgusting and needs to be thrown out.
So, cooking rice, defrosting frozen bread or a few other frozen things, taking the chill of a few things such as butter. In fact, now you've got me wondering why I give the sodding things shelf space at all. The space it takes up would be better used by putting the turbo/halogen cooker in it's place!

whose experience I am bound to respect, even if I don't agree with his thinking process. (He was brought up in a rural setting in the Veneto where micros were unknown; he strongly prefers eating fresh food only; does not like to reheat, et.
Stews and casseroles which need reheating are probably only a limited part of anyone's diet and they require long slow cooking and can be heated up in either a saucepan, if need be, or shoved into a normal oven or reheated in a slow cooker. I'm not sure that reheating is enough of a justification to try to convince your friend that he needs a microwave.

Heaps of difference - mouth feel and taste being two of them. I really do wonder what you are eating that you've cooked in your microwave?

Or why some chefs don't even own one as is the case of a close neighbour and friend. She doesn't have a microwave at all. She has a wonderful wood fired baking oven (a real forno which your friend would enjoy using), she has a walk in cool room and special additional kitchen for when she does bulk work, but not a microwave at all.
She's just rung to say that she and her ma-in-law are coming to visit so I'm off....... I''ll ask her advice and that of the ma-in-law who always had a stunning kitchen (and house and veg garden [note the on topic mention]) before she moved into the OPH.
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On Sat, 6 Dec 2014 10:31:01 -0800 (PST), Hypatia Nachshon

Here is an article that dispels a lot of the rumors and foolishness that circulate online about microwave cooking.
http://www.takepart.com/article/2013/02/26/jane-says-everything-you-know-about-microwaves-wrong
A lot of restaurants *do* use them, of course, but since I do not know my own way around the usual function of a commercial restaurant, I do not know why they are not used more.
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Microwaves don't heat evenly. That's why they have rotating platters or rotating reflectors. The heat is generated in wavelengths. A half wave is roughly 3 inches. Smaller items don't pick up heat as well. The cavity is full of peaks and hulls.
I started using it when I built my heathkit in about 1971 . Still have my cooking guide. I cook or reheat veggies always in a corning Type covered dish. Add a small layer of water to help create and disperse the heat with steam. same method with potatoes. Steaming foods work pretty well in microwaves. Covered dishes help concentrate the steam, and also even out the hot cold spots.
Greg
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and no deep frying in a microwave.
not that i deep fry anything here at home any longer, but a few dishes i do enjoy when eating at the favorite chinese place would not be the same if they were not deep fried.
we use the microwave a lot as one of us will cook a big pot of something and then we'll reheat bowls of it through the week. it is much easier than getting out a pan and then having to transfer it to another bowl. much less cleanup and faster.
when i lived alone this kind of issue isn't as critical as i could have a small pan for a single serving and then just eat out of that pan.
i don't think that microwaves are destructive of food values any more than actual heating is, but if you don't have a good seal around the door it isn't the best thing to do to stand in front of one when it is heating things up.
i think my biggest complaint about microwaves is that they don't seem to last very long. every three to five years... the smaller units lasted longer, but i think that is just because it didn't get used as much.
songbird
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On 12/06/2014 10:31 AM, Hypatia Nachshon wrote:

Hi Higgs,
Micros (nukers) heat fat as well as water. It tends to heat in spots, hence the joke about nukers cooking on your plate after your remove it fro the oven
You stove works by convection. Means that one molecule gets hot and pases it along to the next. No hot spots.
I am very reluctant to cook meat, especially port (I know you don't eat pork) because of the uneven cooking and the worry about parasites, etc..

Food does taste better on the stove because of, as you said, the browning, and no hot spots

Oh yes. They do use nukers, mainly for reheating.

Browning and uniform heat. Stove tastes better.

They do, mainly to reheat

One objections to nukers is that they ionize the food, meaning that they damage the molecular structure. But any damage is simply do to heat, not "radiation" from the nuker. For that kind of damage, the wavelength of the microwave would have to be the size of the atoms they are striking. To do that you need something with a wave length as short as an x-ray or gamma ray. The wavelength of the radiation (microwaves) from your nuker is around (guessing) 10 inches. It can't damage by ionization.

Gets dark at 4:15 around here. I can't wait either! (Plus the Jesus thing.)

Stove plus nuker are tools to meet a goal. The goal being great tasting food. What works best is what situation is what you use!
Since the carbohydrate poisoning (T2 Diabetes), I find myself stove top cook up a bunch of stuff one day a week and freezing/refrigerating it. Then nuking as needed during the week. Sort of like my grandmother use to do (without the microwave). It is my form of fast food.
-T
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