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How Microwave ovens actually work - back to basics

I read an article yesterday about a lady who had almost set fire to her microwave oven whilst trying to warm her baby's blanket. I will try and add the article here. I was surprised that she obviously had no idea how a microwave oven worked. If she did not only would she have averted a repair bill but she would almost definitely be able to make better use of her microwave for what cooking she does use it for.

I did a quick search for how does a microwave oven work and came up with loads of articles. A simple but accurate definition is "Microwave ovens use radio waves at a specifically set frequency to agitate water molecules in food. As these water molecules get increasingly agitated they begin to vibrate at the atomic level and generate heat. This heat is what actually cooks food in the oven."

You can see from this definition that warming a baby's blanket is never going to work.

But what about cooking food. From this we learn that microwaves agitate water molecules. They do the same to fat and sugar. Therefore when you use your microwave, consider the moisture within it. The more the better, but too much would be wasted. Why cook a dish of vegetables covered in water. Why not try just a small amount of water in the dish. There will be plenty of moisture already in most microwaveable items, vegetables, fruit, fish and meat.

Don't use the oven to warm dry items. It wont work. More importantly it will damage the oven.There are lots of articles on the web about this and lots of books. You may well find that the instructions that came with your microwave offer some really useful usage tips.

Learn how your microwave oven works and then make it work for you. you might be surprised how versatile it is.

This is the article:

"I have one piece of advice for new mothers: Don't put the baby's blanket in the microwave.

This is a public service announcement. It happened to me and it can happen to you.


Let's back up a bit. The year is 2007. I'm a week postpartum with my firstborn. I'm leaking breastmilk on the restored wood floor, crying over sentimental Rice Krispies commercials, and feeling a profound exhaustion, an exhaustion so marked I've haven't experienced it since.

I'll set the stage. I'm living in a hip tri-plex with my new husband in Northeast Minneapolis, (it was hipper to me prior to having a colicky baby in Rewind on Johnson Street), trying to figure out what it means to be a mother. Unfortunately, shortly after the birth of our child, my husband's job took him out of state. Fortunately, my mother stayed with me to navigate the treacherous and unpredictable waters of early motherhood. On the evening of the blanket incident, I assured my mother, despite my exhaustion, that she should get some rest upstairs (the tri-plex had a mother-in-law room, how fitting) while I took the overnight shift with my newborn.

Fast-forward to 3:00 a.m. My baby woke up. I nursed him. He didn't go back to sleep. I walked the floor with him. Nope. Still awake. And then it hit me. Warm blanket. The baby is cold (it's February 2007). I have a flashback to our time in the hospital when the sweet nurses used blankets from the warmer with which to swaddle my baby. Brilliant! I have a warmer, too, right here in my hip tri-plex. The microwave!

While still holding the baby, I placed one of his receiving blankets in the microwave. Better to go with a conservative estimate of 10 seconds. Don't want to burn the baby. Ten seconds later, I felt the blanket. Nope, not warm enough. I closed the door again and set the microwave to 15 seconds. Twelve seconds in, I saw a spark. Oh, no. I open the microwave door and smoke poured out.

The baby started coughing from the smoke. Little, pitiful newborn coughs. I swiftly moved (as much as my recovering-from-perineal-stitches gait allowed) upstairs with my babe in arms and woke my mother and handed her the baby.

Mom, I put a blanket in the microwave. I think I started a fire. Hold the baby!"


Created On  27 Nov 2019 14:04 in General use and cooking articlesTechnical and repair articles  -  Permalink


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