Skip to main content

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?
Related image
The Radarange: so easy!  So convenient!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Betty Crocker: A Brief Biography

Long have our supermarket shelves borne products with the name Betty Crocker.  This name has long since lodged in our heads an essential part of americana.  It seems to evoke the past.  It seems to always have evoked the past, a past when life was simpler and Mother and Grandmother cooked at home, using time tested recipes and only the purest ingredients.  We can’t go back to that simpler, wholesome past, but we can give ourselves a Proustian shot of nostalgia by tasting the past we remember, or the past we only wish we could remember, but know must be so good.  That is the Betty Crocker brand.  You might have seen drawings of her, but have you ever actually seen the legend herself?  Here’s an image of Miss Crocker from a 1953 television ad:


The full "Betty Crocker" TV commercial.

Okay, that’s actually actress Adelaide Hawley, who played Betty Crocker in a number of commercials for the brand from 1949 to 1964.  Betty Crocker was born in 1921, so this representation looks to be…

The Star-Spangled Banner: The Original Lyrics

If you’re an American (and quite possibly even if you’re not), you’ve certainly heard the tune called “To Anacreon in Heaven” numerous times.  It’s a stirring melody, and can often sound very proud, and if someone asked you to hum a few bars, you probably could do a creditable job of it, even if you have no musical ability at all.  The tune is that familiar.  Of course, it has another name that you probably know better: “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

But the song’s first name was “To Anacreon in Heaven”.  The song asserts that Anacreon is in heaven, right from the first line.  Whether Anacreon actually is in heaven, I’ll take no position on, but he most certainly is dead.  Anacreon was a Greek poet who lived from circa 582 BCE to 485 BCE, which is a remarkably advanced age for the times.  Anacreon was celebrated for his songs about drinking and love and having a good time.  Maybe not the weightiest of literature, but even the most serious poets and thinkers need to take a break now and …

At, Hashtag, And Per Se

Since the invention of the typewriter in the 1860s, there has been little change to the keyboard used in English.  The position of the letters has remained the same, and the numbers and punctuation have as well. The advent of the personal computer has required additional keys, most of which have found their own standard spots on the keyboard, but for the most part, there haven’t been many changes to the original design.

If you look at the above keyboard, you can see there have been some changes. Keys for fractions don’t really exist anymore; nor does a key to write the ¢ symbol. But the ¢ key on this 1900 model typewriter also includes the @ symbol, which has been common on keyboards since the dawn of typewriters. It’s older than that, even. But of course it is: how else would anyone write an email address? Except… who are you going to email in 1900? No one was emailing anyone before 1972. That’s when programmer Ray Tomlinson invented email. He figured that if you’re going to …