Introducing the microwave oven: Your new kitchen appliance! (1971-1975)

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It wasn’t too terribly long ago that we had two main options for cooking food: you could do it on the stove or in the oven. But in the early 1970s, that all changed with the mass-market introduction of the microwave oven! Here are three ads from the early days of what is now the most basic of kitchen appliances, the microwave.

Amana Radarange (1972)

Actress Barbara Hale for Amana: Make the greatest cooking discovery since fire… Cuts most cooking times by 75%. Bakes a potato in 4 minutes, cooks a hot dog in 20 seconds, and a 5-lb. roast in 35 minutes.

Amana Radarange


GE’s “Just-A-Minute oven” (1971)

Some frank talk about our Just-A-Minute oven.” And what about microwaving? “Frankly, it’s the fastest method of cooking there is. No other method comes close.”

Just plug it in and turn it on. The food gets hot. The oven stays cool. If you want, you can even cook on paper plates.

Microwave cooking Q&A (1972)

General Electric explains microwave cooking for cookbook writer, Myra Waldo.

Q. How much faster is microwave cooking than conventional oven cooking?

A. Microwave cooking is up to 8 times faster. Conventional cooking relies on the slow transfer of heat from the food surface to the inside layers. Microwave energy penetrates the food, causing the food molecules to vibrate, resulting in friction and creating heat. This heat is distributed through the food and cooks it. General Electric markets two complete microwave cooking centers (Model J 896 and Model J 856) plus a countertop portable microwave oven (Model JET80). Cooking speed varies with the type of food being prepared…

Q. Can you use standard recipes for microwave cooking and just change the timing?

A. In many cases, yes. General Electric’ furnishes a complete User’s Manual and Cookbook with each microwave oven. Included are recipes representative of all food categories. lb adapt your own recipe, you would select a similar one and use the same time and dish size stated for that particular food.

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Q. Is there any change in flavor because of the rapid way the food is cooked?

A. No. Foods cooked by microwave energy generally taste the same as when cooked conventionally. Some people say foods cooked in a microwave oven taste fresher, because the faster cooking time retains more of the natural moisture in the food.

Q. Do I need special utensils for microwave cooking?

A. No. Glass, china, ceramics, pottery, paper plates and heat resistant plastics can be used if there’s no metal in their composition or decoration. Metal tends to reflect microwave energy away from the food and should not be used unless specifically recommended in the User’s Manual and Cookbook.

Q. Is there any hazard in working next to a microwave oven while it’s operating?

A. No. General Electric’s microwave ovens are engineered to keep the microwave energy from escaping outside. Two special interlocking devices automatically shut off the oven whenever the door is opened. GE complies with all Federal Safety Performance Standards for microwave ovens set by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Rules CFR Part 78.

General Electric explains microwave cooking for cookbook writer


Amana Touchmatic Radarange microwave oven (1975)

Amana Touchmatic Radarange microwave oven (1975)

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