Microwave Mentality (Angel in the Kitchen)


We’ve humorously mentioned our twin microwaves Luke and Nuke. They’re such a blessing that it’s hard not to get attached to them. They’re essential members of our family of kitchen angels, and now we can’t imagine life without them. We can actually pop TWO bags of popcorn at the same time! Does it get any better than that?

Big Daddy! A Raytheon microwave oven — installed (rather fittingly, we’d say) aboard the first nuclear-powered cargo ship, the NS Savannah, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Microwaves make life a lot easier. And they speed up many kitchen tasks. A baked potato used to take over an hour in a conventional oven. A microwave gets the job done in a few minutes. Frozen dinners, originally packaged in foil trays and engineered to be heated in the oven, went from taking a half-hour to “cook,” to being ready in a couple minutes.

The microwave oven was “invented” in 1945 by Raytheon. One of their employees, Percy Spencer, a self-taught engineer from Maine, had discovered the microwave’s ability to heat foods by sheer accident. He was working on a radar system, when he noticed the microwaves being emitted were melting the chocolate bar he’d stuck in his pocket. Leave it to a scientist to react positively to such a revelation: “Wow, that is so cool!” versus “Yikes, my goose could’ve been cooked!”

Spencer quickly cobbled together a microwave device to try cooking other foods. First thing he microwaved was — surprise! — popcorn. (Orville Redenbacher really owes this guy!) The second thing was an egg, which — surprise! — exploded in the face of one of his technicians. Two years later, Raytheon filed a U.S. patent application for Spencer’s gift to humankind, and started manufacturing the first commercially available microwave ovens. Speedy Weeny purchased one, and installed it in a vending machine in New York’s Grand Central Station, allowing passengers to dispense “sizzling delicious” hot dogs.

It was two decades before microwave ovens were made available for home use. Raytheon’s first commercially available microwave was almost 6 feet tall, weighed in at 750 pounds, and cost about $5,000 — equivalent to about $53,000 in today’s economy — a mere pittance. But in 1967, Amana introduced the first kitchen countertop model. New technology and innovation allowed microwave ovens to be built lighter, smaller and less expensive.

Isn’t technology wonderful? No, we really mean it. Technological advances are the reason computers went from filling up huge buildings and costing millions, to fitting in our cell phones — and being relatively cheap. Innovation has given us fast food, and then speeded up the process of take-out meals even further by giving us the drive-thru.

After taking a snapshot, we used to have to wait for days before we could see the results of the developed film. Then someone created the one-hour photo shop. But even that seems slow by today’s standards: now we just capture images with our phones and we can see the pics immediately. Life is good, right? It’s also really fast. High-speed internet, express checkout, instant oatmeal, and Jiffy Lube! Fast and convenient. But with all these time-saving innovations, many of us have gotten a “microwave mentality”: we want everything now!  And that’s only because we can’t have it “yesterday”!

Come on, come on, come on! Wish this traffic would move a little faster!

We’re living in fast times. We have accelerated lifestyles. We want to accomplish more in less time. This can be an admirable quality … until it becomes an obsession. Being in a constant hurry can be hard on your nervous system. People get impatient when they have to wait — even if it’s only a few minutes. When they get off from work, they start the mad dash to get home, which is why we call this time of day THE RUSH HOUR! But haste makes waste: fender benders take time to phone in and get repaired; speeding tickets are expensive, and police officers usually write them at a very leisurely pace — clearly, these officers are trying to teach a valuable lesson to motorists: SLOW DOWN!

As we approach the Summer months, we’d like to remind our readers to take life a little more slowly. Don’t be in such a frenzy to get this, do that, arrive there. Enjoy the journey. Take in the view. Stop and smell the roses. Calm down and sense the presence of the Lord. “Be still, and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:10 NLT)


Doughnuts, Dreams, and Dedication! (Diet for Dreamers)


Like beautiful clouds against a bright blue sky, our fondest, unfulfilled dreams often shift and subtly change shape — but never substance. Circumstances, time, and new insights all have a way of gently reshaping the “clouds” we chase. But the heart of those clouds, the basic ideas and areas of our greatest goals and dreams, usually remain intact.

When you have a good idea, stick with it — even through tough times. And if you do one single thing really well, and profitably, stay focused on that avocation, item, area. When you finally get something right, don’t change it. Innovate all around it, finding new ways to use it, promote it, share it, market it — but why change the core vision as long as it’s viable?

Some things, we’re happy to say, don’t change. These things were fine from the beginning, and they’re still pretty wonderful. So why tamper with success? Vernon Rudolph understood this; since 1945, times have changed, but his delicious signature “Original Glazed Doughnut” has been a constant comfort food.

Vernon Carver Rudolph was born in Marshall County, Kentucky. In 1933, at age 18, Vernon began working for his uncle who owned a small general store in Paducah, Kentucky. That same year, Vernon’s uncle, Ishmael, had purchased a secret recipe for yeast-raised doughnuts from a New Orleans chef who was working on an Ohio River barge, and was famous for his light and fluffy doughnuts. Although Ishmael’s store sold a wide variety of goods, it was his delicious doughnuts that brought the customers in. A good thing, which helped the business to weather the Great Depression.

In the summer of 1937, Vernon started pursuing his dream: he was determined to own his own store, and specifically a doughnut shop. He moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina and rented a building in what is now the historic Old Salem district. He started off by making and selling his doughnuts to local grocery stores.

Each night between the hours of midnight to around four in the morning, the streets were filled with the intoxicating aroma of fresh doughnuts baking. To say that Vernon’s industry was disturbing the public peace would be an understatement. Neighbors started knocking on the door at obscene hours, asking if they could buy hot doughnuts. So, Vernon decided to cut a hole in a side wall of his shop, and started selling warm glazed doughnuts directly to customers on the sidewalk. But mind you, the warm doughnuts were only available during the wee hours of the night. We’re not positive, but there’s a good chance that Vernon not only created one of the first fast food service windows, but also got people addicted to the nightlife!

More innovations continued. In the early 1940s, Vernon started selling franchises. By 1944, he was selling a large variety of cake doughnuts in addition to the “Original Glazed Doughnut,” and he decided to implement a devious new method to torment his clientele: he realized the unused space beneath the service counter could be put to better use; so he installed display cases showing off his frosted temptations.

In 1947, Vernon founded the Krispy Kreme Corporation, and trademarked the familiar green and red bowtie logo, which had been designed for him by a local architect. In 1955, Krispy Kreme started a fundraising program which allowed schools and churches to purchase and resell doughnuts, helping these organizations to buy books, uniforms and needed equipment.

In 1963, Krispy Kreme went from hand making doughnuts to automated production — but the recipe stayed the same, as well as the taste. Vernon Rudolph continued to innovate around his core idea, his original delicious doughnuts — unchanged through decades of marketing and expansion. Today, Krispy Kreme is known internationally, with stores in Canada, South America, the Dominican Republic, and almost 100 donut shops in Mexico alone. But wherever you go, Vernon’s standard of excellence is enforced, “…Impeccable presentation is critical wherever Krispy Kreme is sold….”

Determination can be delicious, and presentation powerful. But never change a good thing. Market and innovate around it. Find your passion and stick with it! 

“God wouldn’t change his plan. He wanted to make this perfectly clear to those who would receive his promise….” (Hebrews 6:17 GOD’S WORD)