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Food for Thought: Microwaves; Your Home Nuclear Option

David French via Creative Commons

This week's "Food for Thought" opens with audio from a vintage Kitchen of the Future short ("Plastics in all their colorful, functional, and beautiful versatility!").  When I asked Nancy Leson if her microwave oven "rises from the counter" a la the clip she told me "No, it sits right on the counter as a shelf for clutter."

Nance says she mainly uses her microwave for pre-heating her coffee cup, popping popcorn, and as a place to hide pies.  But when she thought a little more about it she came up with several other ways to employ the magic of the magnetron.

"I melt butter in it.  When honey crystallizes in the jar I'll liquefy it in the microwave.  And there's that really fun trick with the poached egg," she said.  Just crack an egg into a microwavable bowl of water, cover with a saucer and nuke it for roughly a minute.   Probably fine for eggs but beekeepers recommend against nuking honey.

Credit Nancy Leson
Nuclear poaching -- the egg of the future.

I told Nancy I thought microwave ovens are superior to the stovetop for re-heating pasta dishes.  "Whatever it is about microwaves that turns bread into rubber seems to keep pasta al dente."

15 seconds in the microwave beats a dry skillet for heating spices prior to grinding.  It's just as good for pre-heating dried chiles, too. 

Before squeezing, nuke your lemons for a minute, then roll them hard under your palm.  You'll get more juice.

Does the inside of your radar oven look like the scene of a crime?   Fill a small bowl half and half with vinegar and water and boil it in there for five minutes.  Even the crustiest cooked-on splatter will wipe right off with a paper towel.  Just be careful of the fumes when you first open the door.

I know there are tons of ways to use microwave ovens we've never even thought of, so please do share yours. Just nothing involving hamsters, okay?

"I put instant coffee in the microwave and almost went back in time."  – Steven Wright

Dick Stein joined KNKX in January 1992. He retired in 2020 after three decades on air. During his storied radio career, he hosted the morning jazz show, co-hosted and produced "Food for Thought" with Nancy Leson and wrote and directed the Jimmy Jazzoid live radio musical comedies and 100 episodes of Jazz Kitchen.