From time to time we are going to try to highlight products or technologies that we have had real life and/or professional encounter with and provide our thought and reviews of the item under the heading “Lessons Learned”
The first of these lessons will discuss the convection microwave. The microwave in my home has a “convection” setting which is a fairly common feature in higher end units but one I have never used before as frankly the microwave is the least used appliance in our home and we also have 2 traditional ovens. At a recent party for about 35 guest I discovered that a dish brought by one of our guest needed to be cooked for an hour in my already full ovens and not just warmed up as I had incorrectly assumed. After wondering how on earth I was going to get this thing cooked for a few minutes I saw my microwave sitting there staring at me reminding it could be a “regular oven too.”
After the brief worries about if this would really work and not kill the flavor and texture of the food like a microwave normally does I had no choice but to give it a try. After a few minutes of button mashing and figuring out how to turn the thing on I had what the display told me was a preheated convection oven at @350F so I said a prayer and deposited the casserole in this unit normally reserved for popcorn and defrosting frozen foods. About 45 minutes later…DING…I opened the door and much to my surprise there it was perfectly cooked, crunchy on top, warm and gooey throughout just like it came out of a real oven casserole. Talk about a lesson learned. The microwave really does substitute for a real oven in a pinch. Now it of course is s smaller space than a traditional oven, does not have many of those features like broil and gave off more external heat than I would prefer which makes me hesitant to say it could ever replace a traditional oven, but as a multi-tasker and to be used on rare occasions what a cool technology! If you are spending the money on a built-in microwave I highly recommend the small up-charge to a unit with convection as you never know when an uncooked casserole will show up on your doorstep.
Technical Note: For those who are curious the actual unit I have is a Thermador MCES though I feel confident this technology performs equally well among this units competitors as well.