Friday, October 19, 2012

The Radarange

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…


  1. I remember when the Amana Radarange came out. It seemed so futuristic. I never thought it would become as important as it is today. Don't know what I'd do without my microwave oven.

  2. Haven't done this in a couple months, but I thought I'd throw one in this month.... :)

    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…

    ...a knock on the door startled her out of her memories. She frowned. He couldn't have found her that quickly, could he? No, he wouldn't even bother looking after what he said, but she considered ignoring the intrusion anyway.

    The microwave dinged. Another knock. Belinda's breath hitched.

    "Hello? Is anyone there?" A scratchy high-pitched voice asked.

    "Just a minute." Her call coincided with her finger punching the cancel button on the microwave. So much for a nice cup of hot tea. She sighed. The water could always be reheated later.

    She trudged to the door and peaked through the peep-hole. An old woman stood outside, one hand on a cane, the other holding a cake plate. Belinda pulled the chain off, and flipped the dead-bolt. She stilled her trembling hand by grasping the doorknob.

    Matthew's words must have shaken her up more than she'd realized.


    "Hello, deary. My name's Mary Guy. I noticed you moved in last week, but my arthritis kept me home." Mrs. Guy handed Belinda the container. "Welcome to the neighborhood. I live across the hall. Been there since 1975. My husband died that year, you know. I sure do miss the old buzzard." She wiped at a tear. "Well, now, look at me carrying on. I'll just let you get back to whatever you were doing. Feel free to come on over for a cup of tea or a chat anytime you like, deary. I'm always about."

    The gray-haired matron twisted around on one leg, leaning heavily on the cane and hobbled across the hall, opened her door and went in without a backward glance.

    Belinda looked in the container. Empty.

    She stepped back and almost had the door closed when the elevator ding caught her attention. She froze when the face she most dreaded seeing appeared.


    "Hello, Belinda. If you didn't want to be found, you shouldn't make it so easy to follow you." She flinched at the sarcasm in his tone. He stepped forward.

    Belinda dropped the cake pan. The clatter echoed in the small foyer. Mrs. Guy opened her door.

    "Hello, young fella. I see you finally found your friend home."

    Found her home? She hadn't been anywhere all week.

    "Yes, Mrs. Guy. Thank you for the tea yesterday." His warm words echoed in Belinda's mind. He'd known all along.

    "You're welcome. Come back to see me again." The old woman closed the door with a thud.

    Belinda stepped back. "What are you doing here, Matthew?"

    His gaze locked on her eyes. For the first time, she saw the raw pain etched there.

    "When I found out you left without saying goodbye, I..." He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "I love you, Belinda. Despite what I said, I can't live without you." He dropped to one knee. "Will you marry me?"

  3. Nice story, Ginger! Thanks for entering...

  4. Love the story, Ginger. You fooled me. I was expecting the worst of Matthew.

  5. Here's a story from Samantha Lang. Thanks Samantha!
    Janie stared at the particles of food which coated her once clean kitchen.
    Could a Crock Pot explode? Hopelessly, she glanced at her pantry and
    wondered how her guests felt about bowls of cereal for lunch.

    “No good deed goes unpunished,” she muttered. Janie picked up her
    grandmother’s latest letter and scanned its contents again. "Janie, you
    should meet my new neighbor, Carla, teacher at Larson High School. We’ve
    had some delightful chats and I would love to introduce you, dear."

    Reading between the lines, Janie knew that was her grandmother’s way of
    fishing for that elusive invitation to lunch. Surrendering to the hint, she
    wrote a letter (Gran insisted on snail-mail), inviting both Gran and her
    neighbor to lunch. How hard could it be to entertain two ladies for a few

    But as she surveyed her kitchen, Janie wondered if the afternoon was doomed
    to fail. Her once favorite appliance lay on its side, still plugged into the
    wall. The makings of Italian wedding soup covered the room, floor to
    ceiling. Janie looked up at the clock. 11:30. She had half an hour to
    recover her kitchen. Throwing her hair back in a sloppy ponytail and rolling
    up her sweatpants, she set to work.

    At exactly noon, Janie lifted Gran’s letter and took one last swipe of the
    counter with her dishrag. Though she herself was less than presentable, the
    kitchen looked fantastic, perhaps even cleaner than before the disaster. She
    grabbed a bottle of air freshener from beneath the sink and squirted a bit
    into the air. At the sound of the doorbell, Janie took a deep breath and
    forced a smile on her face, hurrying to the door with Gran’s note still in
    her hand. As she opened the door, however, her smile faded and her heart

    There was Gran, in her floral dress and thick sweater. But the arm she
    gripped for support was not the matronly teacher Janie expected. Towering
    over Gran stood a man. A very handsome man with light brown hair and
    remarkably blue eyes. His smile revealed perfect teeth and two deep dimples.
    Words failed Janie. Gran tilted her head to one side, studying Janie’s
    appearance. “Janie, I hope you are still expecting us. This is my new
    neighbor, Carl.”

    Carl? Janie scanned the note in her hand, feeling her face burn red as she
    realized her mistake. Her grandmother’s frail script didn’t read
    “Carla, teacher at Larson High School,” but “Carl, a teacher at Larson
    High School.”

    Janie looked up, horrified. Gran’s eyes twinkled in amusement. “May we
    come in?”

    1. Delightful story, Samantha. I can't wait to see who wins this one!