Yes, I know it sounds impossible, but I did it. A couple years ago when my friend/hetero life partner Kelly found the recipe online (potentially this instructables recipe) we nearly lost our damn minds. CAKE. IN 5 MINUTES (OR LESS)? Shut. Up.
How is this green, or more sustainable, or waste free, you ask? Well, frankly, it technically isn’t. I mean, YES IT IS, all of the ingredients could feasibly be found in bulk, fair trade, vegan, made of moon beams, etc. It’s not 100%, but it’s a step ahead of making a whole chocolate cake, or a whole batch of brownies and then eating them all yourself…like I NEVER ever do. Regularly. Ahem.
Also, it uses less energy, sort of. I took a World Religion and Ecology class this spring semester, and the first class my professor asked who still uses a microwave, and it scared the daylights out of me. I love my microwave. I use it every day, and often lean on it and talk on my cell phone while it is in use…I KID.
So I was scared, right? And I came home and immediately launched into one of my declarative question statements Justin has learned to fear and loathe. They usually start, “So…I was thinking, and because [X event happened], I want to [drastic lifestyle change].” They usually end with him trying to talk me out of it by any means necessary. He is usually about 40 per cent successful with this tactic, depending on the subject.
This time I said “So today my professor was asking the class what kind of stuff they use at home, and its environmental health impact. He mentioned microwaves.”
To which I think Justin responded with an all-out defense of microwaves and radiation in general. Probably also nuclear fission and the 2nd amendment. I don’t really remember. He also said that microwaves, the way they’re built anyway, are supposed to shield their surroundings from harmful waves and that you can only be really affected when you stand right next to it/touch it. I didn’t buy it. I had another conversation about it with Ana, my lovely pre-med friend and Kelly’s flatmate. Her parents are both doctors, and she confirmed all of my deepest darkest fears by saying, “My mom never uses the microwave. I think she broke it intentionally years ago and just refuses to get a new one.”
So I spent the next two to three weeks using the oven and stovetop for EVERYTHING. Yeah, I didn’t do any personal research at first, I just kind of let fear rule me. Sometimes you need food (or for me most of the time, tea) in a hurry.
But then for my class, we read a book called Serve God, Save the Planet, in which Dr. Matthew Sleeth suggests using a microwave is a the most efficient way to cook food, since it uses a smaller amount of energy in a shorter amount of time. And he’s a doctor. Not an oncologist, per se, but a doctor nonetheless. So maybe Justin was right? The internet is no help on this one, there is a lot of conflicting squabbling on the subject. So is it safe?
Not sure, but the microwave habit is hard to break, especially knowing that a brownie is achievable near-instantly. But the jury’s out on this one.
My most frequent uses of the microwave are for:
1) Hot water (for tea).
2) To bring margarine to room temp for baking.
3) To thaw frozen veg, beans, or soup.
4) Rarely: to heat up frozen food, like tamales. I almost never heat refrigerated food. I don’t see the point, or the difference. Cold pizza has its charms.
1) Electric kettle, though it violates my “I don’t need more stuff” philosophy, or regular kettle on gas oven (more energy usage?) So, no good solutions. Maybe just less (hot) tea? My English heritage is horrified. Sun tea is an option, though it terrifies me how many people make sun tea in plastic bottles. Terrifies.
2) Plan ahead, and wait for it to defrost/warm up, duh.
3) See #2
4) Hmm. Probably # 2 again. Let it thaw in the fridge. I can live with that.
Anyway, if you have solutions, shoot them at me!
& now, finally, MUG BROWNIE!
YOU WILL NEED
¼ cup (4 tablespoons) flour (I use organic unbleached all-purpose for extra sinfulness, but 100 per cent whole wheat works)
¼ cup sugar (I use unrefined evaporated cane, but you can use any sweetener. My most recent scary declarative was that I’m going to try to give up refined sugar…but this isn’t refined, so…it doesn’t count?)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons margarine, at room temp (the original recipe calls for vegetable oil, I always used olive)
2 tablespoons water
OPTIONAL EXTRAS (for maximized awesome)
handful of chocolate chips
handful of walnuts
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (or just a couple drops, really)
powdered sugar or raspberry preserves (or both!) for topping.
Stir the flour, sugar and cocoa powder together, add the margarine. Mix well, then add water. Microwave on high for 60 seconds (requires less effort than pressing 1-0-0, right?!). Let it cool for a bit.
DEVOUR ALL OF THE THINGS.
You’re welcome. Pura (in that only your happiness is pure) vida!