When my family bought a microwave oven it was like we had moved into the future. It was a behemoth with huge metal dials on the front and buttons the size of Cleveland. Even the name seemed like something from the not too distant future “Amana Radarange”. My ears tingle still when I say it aloud. This is a little earlier model, but it gives you a good idea of what it was like.
As kids we used it to pop popcorn and make taffy. Those were of course the two kid friendly recipes that they had in the cookbook that came with the Microwave. I loved that cookbook and when I finally left home I took it with me. I used it out like a coffee table book and from time to time I would open it up and read through it or show it off to company. A few years later I was at a garage sale and I saw another microwave cookbook and bought it. This started a dangerous trend and I now have a decent collection of these early microwave cookbooks.
One of my favorites is this little gem from 1983:
It is filled with dozens of unreasonable recipes. Have you ever tried to microwave a turkey? You need so many bags and hoses it resembles vascular surgery. Their are two things I really like about these books:
1. How optimistic they are about a technology that, while great, still has limitations that they would never admit to
2. No matter how hard they try they can never make the food look very good
Now you know that it is pretty easy to make meat look unappetizing in a cookbook, but check out these photos of vegetable dishes:
All this writing about food makes me want to whip up some Microwave Taffy. Maybe this weekend I’ll give it a whirl and throw something up on the site. Until then remember a Microwave Cookbook makes a great gift for that special someone. It’s the gift they will never use. In fact they will most likely put it in a box for 20 years then sell it at a garage sale. Probably to me to or to some future Retroist. You will ensure my future content!
Think of it as the gift that just keeps on keeping on.