It was within the 1980s. Why not prepare dinner an entire hen within the microwave? – CBC approx.


Typically, it would take a few hours to cook a six-pound chicken in a conventional oven.

But a microwave could do it in an hour, lunchtime correspondent Kathryn O’Hara said as she explored the capabilities of what was then a relatively new technology for the kitchen.

“Microwave cooking makes all orders short,” said O’Hara. “And for working families, that’s a huge plus that more than makes up for the initial cost of a full-size microwave oven.”

A compact microwave was still “bigger than a bread box” but probably more appealing than the bulkier machines of the past.


The 1985 microwave oven had an automatic reheat button for a “plate of food,” which is probably the only thing most people use theirs for today. (Lunch / CBC archive)

For $ 440, equivalent to $ 945 in 2019, consumers could buy a top-of-the-line microwave.

“It gives you a clock, three power levels, a push-button control that beeps after every command, a defrost program, and an automatic rewarm that eliminates thinking,” O’Hara said.

In fact, one of the options for “Auto Reheat” was simply “Plate of Food”. The “popcorn” button must have come later.

It was also big enough to cook a six-pound chicken that went in the oven.

A December 1983 microwave turkey recipe in Globe and Mail suggested “finishing” the dish with a regular oven “if your family insists on an” old-fashioned “bird with crispy skin.”

Peel less – $ 300 or $ 645 today – and microwave buyers got a less precise dial and heat setting.

“Remember, 80 percent of microwave cooking is done on high heat anyway,” O’Hara pointed out.

heat waves

A home economist demonstrates how to test the heating pattern of various microwaves. 2:03

The Consumers’ Association of Canada was already at the top of the tiny microwave trend.

After all, the real size of a microwave oven was the job it did. And this is where the cheese test came in.

“These pieces of cheese were put on a piece of paper towel, placed on the bottom of the oven, and each individual oven was set for 10 minutes and cooked,” said Gail Bungay of the association.

“As you can see, it indicated hot and cold spots in each of the ovens.”

The test results would not be published for six months. But O’Hara already had advice on the best models for those who didn’t want to wait that long.

She also had comforting news for those who were again concerned about the unknown device.

“You may be wondering, ‘Are you really sure?'” Said O’Hara. “I am pleased to say that there has been no conclusive evidence that there is any danger in recent years.”

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