While neither new nor fancy, the microwave is one of Anyday founder Steph Chen’s favorite appliances. Pots and pans for ovens and stoves are too numerous to count, but there aren’t many cookware collections designed especially for the microwave—despite them inhabiting 90% of kitchens. Chen aimed to change that through Anyday, with the goal “to make it much easier and faster for people to cook delicious, healthier food at home,” she tells us.
“It just so happens that the microwave is a fantastic way to do that,” Chen continues. “It’s fast, it’s already in 90% of people’s homes and it can make really great food as long as you have the right vessel and the knowledge of how to cook from scratch in the microwave.”
While many home cooks see the microwave as an appliance for reheating leftovers, Chen says, “We quickly realized after initial cooking tests that at its core, the microwave is just a super-fast steamer—just another cooking method, like the stove or oven. After cooking for hundreds of hours in them, we are now staunch microwave believers and are pretty confident that if we pave the right path, everyone else will be, too.”
Available as the Everyday Set or as individual pieces, Anyday’s initial collection comprises The Large Deep Dish, The Large Shallow Dish, The Medium Deep Dish and The Medium Shallow Dish, each with specific functions and design features. Most notably, they’re all wrapped in a curved stainless steel lip and free from plastic altogether. “We decided from the beginning that plastic in the microwave is a no-go for us—it’s the one thing about microwaves that actually isn’t safe,” Chen adds.
“We’ve designed the stainless steel in our lids to be 100% microwave-safe due to its smooth, curved shape,” she explains. “I know it sounds nuts, but it turns out we’ve all been brainwashed to believe that all metal is not OK in a microwave. In reality, some metal is totally safe! If the metal is rounded, it won’t arc. A metal bowl, for example, is fine, but don’t put in metal that is super thin (aluminum foil) or has multiple sharp corners (forks).”
All of Chen’s design decisions aim to enhance the humble appliance’s abilities. The bowls—made with frosted, heat-resistant borosilicate glass—retain heat and won’t release toxins over time. The lids—made with that same glass, as well as platinum-grade silicone and microwave-safe stainless steel—traps steam while releasing excess pressure (that means no messy explosions). The simple shapes and frosted glass make the bowls attractive enough to use as serving dishes. Plus, each piece is dishwasher-safe and the lid knobs push down for flat stacking.
“To cook great food in the microwave, it comes down to keeping as much steam as possible trapped inside the dish while also venting excess steam so that pressure doesn’t build. That’s exactly what the lid does: it’s glass rimmed with silicone, which traps steam and heat to prevent food from drying out and to help food cook more evenly, and it also has a knob with vents to allow just the right amount of steam to escape so your lid never blows off,” Chen explains.
For those curious about what to cook in the microwave, Anyday-approved recipes can be found on the their website. “We created our recipes and ingredient guides to show people the world of possibilities of what you can cook in the microwave, and to actually help them achieve that,” Chen says. “Everyone’s microwave is a little different, so our recipes allow users to select their microwave wattage, which will change the recipe’s cook times accordingly. In our experience so far, people are not only cooking perfect salmon, perfect polenta and perfect chicken in their Anydays, they’re improvising by making their own recipes and cooking new ingredients. That’s part of the magic of the microwave: it’s so accessible—you just push a couple buttons and hit ‘Start.'”
Images courtesy of Anyday