MICROWAVE OVEN DAY 2022: December 6 is observed each year as National Microwave Oven Day. As is evident from the name, the day is used to celebrate microwave ovens which are used in cooking a variety of food items in kitchens the world over. Unlike traditional cooking using bowls and utensils with fire, microwave ovens use electromagnetic radiation, which creates heat to cook food. No manual stirring is required.
Microwave Oven Day: History
It was American engineer and physicist, Percy Lebaron Spencer, who invented the microwave oven. In the early 1940s, Spencer was working at Raytheon Technologies Corporation, United States, to develop combat radar equipment using magnetrons, for the Radiation Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). This is when he discovered the microwave oven technology by chance.
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Spencer had noticed a candy bar in his pocket melting in close proximity to an active radar set. A patent was filed by Raytheon on October 8, 1945, and the first microwave ovens were named the “Radarange.” The first commercially produced and affordable microwave ovens were made available for home use in 1967. It was not until the 1970s when the term “microwave ovens” began to be widely used.
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Microwave Cooking: Do’s and Don’ts
- Microwave ovens can be used to cook rice, chapati, paratha, boiling or frying eggs, baking bread or pizzas and cakes, among others.
- However, one must not use these ovens to cook carrots, as they contain minerals that can create sparks inside the device.
- One must also avoid using microwave ovens for heating breast milk or milk formula for babies, as uneven hot spots are created in the milk. Same goes for ketchup.
- Due to uneven heating, cooking raw meat or fish is also not advisable as the cold spots would allow harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli to survive.
Is microwave radiation safe?
There is no evidence that microwave cooking makes foods radioactive. Also, when cooked for shorter durations, the nutritional values of food items are retained.
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