Celebrating 40 years of microwave cookery

September 20, 2007 After completing a 6 feet (1.8 m) tall, 750 pound (340 kg) prototype in 1947, the Raytheon Corporation introduced the first commercial microwave oven to the world in 1954 and 13 years later Amana brought us the very first domestic bench top microwave. In the 40 years since is inception the microwave has fundamentally changed the way we live, shop and eat.

Dubbed ‘cooking with light’, the appliance was initially viewed with skepticism but was hailed as a technological breakthrough. It is estimated that since that time the microwave has saved Americans a trillion minutes in cooking time and a microwave oven can be found in 90 million U.S. households. The microwave has given Americans, and the world, not only cooking flexibility but an entirely new category of food items developed solely for microwave use. Think of the frozen section of your local market and how many of those foods are designed specifically for microwave cooking.

From humble beginnings the microwave now comes in a vast array of shapes, sizes and with varying functions. One of the newest - though not necessarily practical - spins on the traditional model is the LG microwave TV. The 23 litre microwave oven with an integrated TFT screen and DVD player in the door, so you can watch TV or a movie while your microwave cooks a meal for you. Though it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for the microwave, the years have been riddled with criticism as to the safety of micro waves on our health and the long-running debate over the taste of microwave foods versus conventional oven cooking.

In celebration of the microwave oven's 40th anniversary originators Amana have introduced the next generation of microwave cooking with a convection microwave that offers even cooking, a large interior, stainless steel design and added power. "The Amana microwave revolutionized cooking more than 40 years ago and is just as relevant today than it ever has been," says Laura Hall, cooking category manager. "Our new Amana countertop microwave convection oven continues to provide the convenience, practicality and added time savings consumers so desire."

Whether you own one or not, it is impossible to deny that the microwave has had a significant impact on our culture and I’m sure younger generations find it difficult to fathom what life was like before the advent of cooking with light in 1967.

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