Let me warn you upfront that this is an unglamorous post on microwave ovens and nothing to do with being single and living in etc etc. If you intend to buy a microwave and have a tough time making a decision, then you might find this useful!
It all started with all these festive discounts and offers that I was tempted to buy at least one home appliance. And the one thing which I figured could be remotely useful with all my experiments in the kitchen was the microwave.
So with offers being shoved down your throat you hardly had time to decide..each brand spoke of some fancy feature or other, discounts were offered and the temptation was huge to pick up the one the salesman was pointing at.
And quite a lot of people were picking it up too.. A microwave oven with convection - does anything and everything.. 10K and after discount 9K plus you get a cook book too!!
If you had no clue about what exactly all this convection / grill etc is all about you'd actually end up like me..prepared to plonk 10K on a convection oven coz you never know when you might want to bake a cake. But if you are like me..you'd visit atleast 10 shops and spend a few nights poring over microwave oven reviews on the net. And this is what I found - a decent microwave with no grill and no convection is what one will need and for the grilling and drilling and the baking you have the OTG!
First - whats a microwave oven. Well all that gyan about magnetron and stuff you can find in your physics book or at howstuffworks.com but What you need to know is that the damn thing can cook stuff at surprisingly short time using something called microwaves which means your gas doesn't run out all that quickly.
So now you want to buy one and heres when you realize that the world of microwaves has its own types and castes.
Well the first type is the Solo - the real deal: Uses just plain microwaves to heat and cook your food. Nothing fancy. No grill.. no convection fan..And since its got just one function - its called the Solo.
Now add a heating element to the MWO and place a grill - and this is the Grill combo. Well this heating element "browns" your food. So if you want to fry or brown something - place it on the grill and use the heating element. Issue here is the MWO comes with only one heating element - usually placed at the top of the oven..so you have to open the oven and turn the food item upside down so that the other side also gets browned.
So Solo - cooks but does not fry or brown and the grill does that. Now add a fan to it and some other stuff at the bake which makes the MWO heavy and bulky and you get a convection oven. This is used to bake cakes and cookies.
So a convection model = solo + grill + convection oven. Cool! So this convection thingy takes care of everything right. You dont have to get a separate grill or convection model later.. and thats what shop dudes would tell you and if I hadn'ta done the research I'd be having one in my kitchen right now.
But then if your needs are going to be just cooking and heating and you do not bake cakes or fry fish using the grill then you'd be better off with the Solo. In fact for 80% of your cooking the Solo does the needful. And for that 20% more of cooking you pay double the price of a Solo. Bad maths!
But then you say that you love baking and you'd want to bake cakes every second day. If you are really into baking then the microwave-convection combo would hardly do it for you. What you need is an OTG (Oven Toaster and Grill) - comes with two heating elements so you get uniform browning and baking and also a toaster in the side to get your bread nice and warm and toasted. And this thingy doesnt cost you more than 3-4 K. Further the OTG bakes and grills better than your microwave. The downside is that its slow. But the food is way tastier. In fact those who are expert bakers would'nt be caught dead with a microwave convection oven.
Oh two appliances will take up space you say but me says lesser complicated technology in each appliance so less chances of something going bust and even if one does go you can still use the other.. And the cost - an OTG + MWO would not cost more than 8K. much lesser than a convection model.
So planning to get a microwave - only heating.. cooking rice etc etc. Go Solo.
You love baking, grilling and also need a microwave get an OTG and yes Go Solo again!!
And who said going solo cant be fun ;-)