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?
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”!
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)