Reviewed by Jen Kulman

Ordinarily, a book on microwave cookery would not grab my attention, but Not Your Mother’s Microwave Cookbook is written by Beth Hensperger and that’s a whole new ballgame! The five books that preceded this in her ‘Not Your Mother’s’ series are excellent and some of my favorite cookbooks. If Beth says microwave cooking is worth it, then I’m willing to give it a try. Although she could write a book about cooking with dirt (Not Your Mother’s Mud Pies?) and I would probably still at least leaf through it.

The introduction explains how many cooks do not take advantage of their microwave’s capabilities. I fit this description perfectly, typically using mine only to make popcorn, defrost meats, heat up leftovers and boil water. Pretty lame. Beth explains that if you understand how to use your microwave properly, it can do so much more and will actually become an invaluable kitchen tool. This is the perfect way to roast nuts, melt chocolates, toast coconut, make breadcrumbs and dry herbs. My favorite tips were how to peel fresh peaches and tomatoes using the microwave – very handy!

The recipes sound much more appealing that what I had expected for microwave cookery. Any of the eleven recipes from the Hot Dips and More chapter would be ideal to take to a friend’s house when supplying the appetizer. No worrying about keeping the dish hot on the way, just slip it into her microwave on arrival and you’re golden. I’m definitely going to try some of the grains recipes – rices, quinoa, oatmeal and more. This seems like an easy way to produce a reliable side dish without tying up the stove. I just don’t know about cooking meats in the microwave, but her vegetable dishes sound wonderful, including The Best Glazed Carrots, Five-Star Sesame Broccoli and Asparagus in Wine. The recipe for Salmon with Creme Fraiche and Dill in Parchment is posted on her blog, if you want to get a feel for what is possible with the microwave.

I really had no idea how versatile the microwave can be. I will be putting Beth’s tips and recipes to good use and begin using mine for more than just popcorn. A good place to start might be with the Coconut-Macadamia Shortbread

Rating: 4/5

Jen lives in Michigan with her husband and six year old son. She writes reviews of children’s books on her blog, FIRR-Kids and loves filling her own shelves with cookbooks.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Harvard Common Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.