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The First Food Ever Microwaved


The first food ever cooked by microwaves was a chocolate bar.  This wasn’t on purpose.  It happened in 1945 when a scientist working for Raytheon got too close to a room where radar was being tested.  Radar was generated by magnetron tubes that produce a radio waves of a very small frequency—thus giving them the name microwave.  Following this accidental (and messy) discovery, the scientists at Raytheon tried cooking other things, like popcorn (it worked!) and a raw egg in the shell (it exploded.  I tried the same experiment when I was a teenager, not realizing that in doing so, I was standing on the shoulders of giants.  I cleaned up the mess, but my mother still wasn’t happy about it.) 

The first microwave ovens were sold commercially under the name Radarange, since they grew out of radar research.  Early adopters paid over $2,000 for the first Radaranges, which is a lot for a microwave now; it was more or less two months’ household wage in 1947!  Mostly they were used in commercial kitchens, in restaurants and cruise ships.  In 1967, Raytheon paired up with the Amana Corporation and created a more affordable microwave, which sold for about $500.  The price has come down since, as the microwave has moved from novelty luxury to a necessity.  Or would you rather eat that leftover pizza cold?
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The Radarange: so easy!  So convenient!

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