Mug Food: Do We Sacrifice Quality for Efficiency?
When my editor requested a recipe review piece it was accompanied by the suggestion to include a long, convoluted back story of the writer which you must scroll through before arriving at the actual recipe, most likely one along the lines of homemade biscuits or apple pie. So here goes.
Growing up, my mom made delicious, home-cooked meals. Among my favorites were beef stroganoff, chicken stew, and spaghetti with meat sauce. As I got older, I actively made an effort to improve my cooking skills. I’ve succeeded, and now the roles are reversed as I often make my family meals. However, the road was not always smooth. There have been trials and tribulations. Breads have been burned, I accidentally served uncooked chicken, and I may have set fire to my kitchen. For future reference, don’t put water on a grease fire. A quiet night in making homemade french fries can quickly turn into a chaotic scene of highly pressurized water sprinklers and spastic dogs running around in circles while the 911 operator is telling you that she can’t hear you over the blaring fire alarms. Maybe if I had known I could cook food in a mug in the microwave this wouldn’t have happened, but then again if I wanted french fries that bad I could have just gone to Chick Fil A. But just in case someone else needs to know if mug food is really a plausible way to feed oneself, then say no more. Here’s my experience making and eating mug food.
Omelet in a mug:
First of all, I’m actually very impressed with how well this cooked. Initially, I was somewhat nervous that I would get salmonella However, the omelet came out of the mug solid, despite it looking more like a film canister than an egg. The recipe I used called for ham, bell pepper, and cheddar cheese, but I got fancy and all threw in some green onions as well.
A word to the wise: unless you’re using a fairly deep, and wide, mug, put your mug inside a microwave-safe bowl to prevent catastrophe. Luckily, I noticed the “omelet” was rising way over the rim of the cup before a disaster ensued.
Regarding the taste, it wasn’t bad. Like I said, it was the correct consistency and there wasn’t anything particularly offensive about the taste. I’m not sure if I’ll ever make a microwave omelet again considering the fact that it doesn’t take that much longer to make an omelet in a pan. However, if in the future you’re craving an eggy breakfast but don’t have access to a stovetop, then maybe this recipe is perfect for you.
Pumpkin Pie Mug Cake:
The Verdict: Eh. It tastes how you would expect a cake made in the microwave to taste. It was awfully spongey, and while nothing was particularly wrong with it other than that, I’d opt for a regular cake over a microwaved one any day of the week, year, or century. Unless you’re in dire need of a sweet treat and have a random can of pumpkin puree laying around, I would recommend just driving to an HEB and getting a generic cake from there. And if you can’t do this, maybe just omit the cake and suffer instead.
Doughnut in a Mug:
As a doughnut fanatic, I feel that I’m particularly qualified to give my opinion on this recipe’s final product. My opinion: It tasted nothing like a doughnut. Out of the three mug food recipes I tried, this was the most disappointing. It was a cake, but a boring cake with no redeeming qualities. In hindsight maybe I should have planned ahead and bought some icing to make it more “doughnuty”, but if I’m being honest, I don’t think any type of frosting could have saved this uninspiring pastry.
The time saved with making mug food versus real food is not worth it. Everything about this felt so unnatural. Just bite the bullet and bake a cake yourself or go buy one. And if you must microwave a meal, just get a Cup O’Noodles and be done with it.