December 6th is Microwave Oven Day, a day to pay homage to the wonderful modern appliance that cooks about 22.5% of all main courses in America. The microwave oven was invented in 1946 after Raytheon engineer Percy Spencer noticed that a candy bar melted in his pocket after he passed by a microwave tube. Research revealed that microwave radiation could be used to heat the polarized molecules in foods, heating them faster and more efficiently. The first microwave was actually named the Radarange and weighed close to 700 pounds! By the 1950s, the “Speedie Weenie” had been sized down for the household market, and within two decades the appliance could be found in most homes.
I can’t imagine life without a microwave. Not only did it play an integaral part in most of the meals my family ate when I was growing up, but it’s aid is something I’ve contiuned to lean on in my adult life. When I’m particularly tired after a long day of work, or if I’m feeling lazy and just dont’ want to cook, I can always turn to my microwave. This is a habit that drives Chris a little crazy so I’ve been trying to use the microwave a little less, but I have to admit that I still cook a lot of frozen food — just in the skillet instead. I’m sure I’ll have to turn toward the oven more once we have a family, but there’s no denying that there’s definintely a temptation to use the microwave when we’re only cooking small meals for just the two of us.
To celebrate Microwave Oven Day Chris and I did the obvious — we enjoyed a dinner of White Castle cheeseburgers from our very own microwave oven. As I cooked I started to feel very grateful for the device. It’s perfect for nights like tonight: our kitchen was a mess, covered in stained pieces of oak from our latest home improvement project, so the idea of doing any real cooking was just too overwhelming. And our little black microwave has gotten me out of other binds in the past. Back when I had a battery backup system running in the house (since dismantled for a variety of reasons), I could still plug my microwave into one of the backup outlets in the living room and cook myself a meal if the power went out. Plus, the microwave can be fun! Have you ever put a marshmallow — or better yet — a Peep into the microwave to see what will happen? Poor, gooey Peeps.
Tomorrow we’ll be celebrating one of our favorite childhood treats in observance of National Cotton Candy Day!