The other day, I was thinking about how far technology has come in my lifetime. Now we have smartphones and computers that can do almost anything. But one of the first technological marvels I remember from my childhood was the microwave oven.
We got a microwave when I was in junior high or high school, I would guess. Maybe in the late 1970s? Prior to that, when you wanted to heat up a leftover, you could either put it into a pan, or use the double boiler. For the double boiler, you’d get a pan, fill it with about an inch of water, and set it on one of the stove’s burners. There was a smaller, shallower, pan that would fit inside the lip of the pan. You’d put your food in there, and as the water in the lower part boiled, it would heat up the item you were wanting hot. The whole process took 15-20 minutes or so.
So, to be able to pop a leftover into the microwave and have it hot in under a minute seemed like a small miracle.
Those early microwaves were HUGE — no over-the-stove models. They were deep, and claimed a lot of counter space. But who cared? They could heat up things so fast! 1970s microwaves also came with meat probes, because homemakers even tried baking the Thanksgiving turkey in the microwave. Girls in my 4-H club eagerly gave demonstrations about how to make cookies in the microwave. They never tasted that great, and they looked worse (microwaves don’t brown things), but who cared? WE MADE THEM IN THE MICROWAVE!
I took full advantage of the marvelous microwave during my teenage years. I loved mixing up batches of raisin bran muffin dough and storing it in the fridge. Each morning, I’d put a scoop of the dough onto a plate, pop it into the microwave, and voila! About a minute later, I’d have a fresh muffin. Would the wonders never cease?
Here’s a link to an early microwaves commercial, to bring back more memories:
Video credit: MrClassicAds1970s
Check out the price — $499, 40 years ago? Wow. These days, I bet you can score a microwave for under $100. It’s one of those few items where the price has actually gone down.
Do you remember getting your first microwave oven? Share your memories in the comments!