Who would argue the integral role that microwave ovens play in the contemporary lifestyle? In fact, some microwave oven proponents regard it as the second greatest discovery next to fire. Whether you agree with that or not, microwaves are undoubtedly one of the most essential fixture in the kitchen.
Microwaves have greatly changed the way foods are done today, and the entire process of cooking. Microwave ovens cut short the cooking process and does it evenly without the outer layer getting browned as would ordinary cooking equipment.
The Man Behind The Microwave
Have you ever wondered who invented the microwave oven and how it was conceived? Sometimes, curiosity doesn’t kill the cat but makes it live longer. Back in 1946, a scientist and genius of the Raytheon laboratory, Dr. Perry Spencer accidentally brushed shoulders with the concept behind today’s microwaves.
During one of his tours around the laboratory, he stopped in front of a magnetron – a power tube that supplies radars. Much to Dr. Spencer’s surprise, a candy bar in his pocket had melted. Like any other curious scientist, Dr. Spencer was extremely intrigued with what had happened and soon planned on an experiment.
He placed corn kernels in front of the magnetron, and those began popping and sputtering. From that time on, Dr. Spencer was convinced there was something special about what the magnetron emitted that affected the food. The last experiment he did was on an egg, which became sizzling fried. From then on, the microwave oven was born.
Since its accidental discovery in 1946, microwave ovens currently play an integral part in millions of households all over the world. But the infancy days of the microwave did not attain much acclaim compared to today. The first designs of microwaves were bulky 5-foot 6-inches tall, weighed 750 pounds, and cost $5,000. They weren’t a popular choice in ordinary homes back then, but made their way to large restaurants and railroad cars that valued their functionality more. Aside from the gigantic size, the early microwave oven couldn’t brown meat, and instead turned some food squelchy.
Over the years, microwaves evolved into more residential-friendly sizes and became a staple appliance in millions of homes in richer nations. Scientists were able to come up with more cost-effective designs, so that by 1975, microwave ovens began selling like hotcakes, faster than gas ranges were sold.
How Do Microwaves Work?
Microwave ovens utilize electromagnetic energy as microwaves, in order to produce heat. The microwaves make the particles in food vibrate in such fast rate, which turn to heat and cooks the food. Water are more efficient in microwaves compared to sugars, fats, and ice. The interior walls of the microwave are designed in such a way that no radiation is able to escape outside.
Microwaves may have been designed to look like harmless kitchen fixtures, but homeowners must read through its safe cooking practices. Most liquids reach a few degrees above their boiling point before they actually begin to bubble. With this mind, you might not be aware how hot the liquid you’re working on until you finally touch it. In addition, disturbing liquids in microwaves can cause them to explode. Thus, you need to have some tray holders before handling anything out of the oven.
Meanwhile, you must be careful with the type of containers you use in microwaves. Microwaves can permeate plastics and paper containers, but using aluminum foil inside the microwave can be hazardous, as it can cause it to spark.
Microwaves also cook unevenly so that you need to ensure the food is evenly done prior to serving it. Parents are especially warned against heating infant formulas in microwaves due to the above reason. If you can’t help it, it’s best to shake the milk bottle to evenly dispense the temperature.
While many chefs may not be able to find practical use for microwaves, any ordinary household owner would surely refute that.