Need to boil water? Melt butter, chocolate, or marshmallows? How about warm a snack? My second favorite kitchen appliance can do this and more, the microwave.
A microwave oven, often colloquially shortened to microwave, is a kitchen appliance that heats food by dielectric heating accomplished with radiation used to heat polarized molecules in food. Microwave ovens heat foods quickly and efficiently because excitation is fairly uniform in the outer 25–38 mm of a dense (high water content) food item; food is more evenly heated throughout (except in thick, dense objects) than generally occurs in other cooking techniques.
Dr. Percy Spencer invented the first microwave oven after World War II from radar technology developed during the war. Named the "Radarange", it was first sold in 1947. Raytheon later licensed its patents for a home-use microwave oven that was first introduced by Tappan in 1955, but these units were still too large and expensive for general home use. The countertop microwave oven was first introduced in 1967 by the Amana Corporation, which had been acquired in 1965 by Raytheon.
From what I’ve read, how a microwave actually works is difficult to explain and scientific. My untrained mind helped me to decide instead to give you several facts I found interesting about the microwave…
(1) The heating effects of high power microwave beams were discovered by accident when Dr. Percy Spencer’s candy bar [a Mr. Goodbar] he had in his pocket melted.
(2) The first commercially available microwave oven was almost 6 feet high and weighed 750 pounds. In 1947, it cost $5000, [$52,042 in today’s dollars.]
(3) Current estimates hold that over 90% of American households own a microwave oven.
(4) Microwave ovens heat food without getting hot themselves.
(5) Closed containers, such as eggs, can explode when heated in a microwave oven due to the increased pressure from steam.
My own microwave is used to warm up all sorts of food, cook frozen meals, and melt certain foods. I also might heat a cup of water for hot tea or coffee. My crock pot for slow cooking and my microwave for those busy days keep this writer writing…
This week’s writing prompt: Belinda’s hand trembled as she set the chipped mug of water into the microwave. The word on the faded cup mocked her. Peace. A concept long forgotten when…