Food...Faster, Faster

You used to hear more about microwaves being "dangerous" but now that 90% of US homes have them they are just a given, like having a stove or refrigerator. Remember when they were saying not to stand in front of your microwave while it cooked because it was emitting something dangerous? My non-scientific gut feeling is that something "un-natural" is happening in that metal box, and as convenient as it may be, I don't want to cook my food in it. If you do use a microwave to heat your food up, remember not to use plastic as plastic has been shown to leach toxins, so use glass.

Now, obviously the producers of microwaves are not funding any studies figure out the effects of microwaved food on the food or on those who eat it regularly. There is a good article about some of the research that's been done and what they've found about microwaving food.

I remember getting a Sharp Carousel Microwave as a wedding present in 1982. So I've been using a microwave at least since then. Despite having a Microwave Cookbook I never could get the hang of cooking with it. The food didn't cook evenly and never browned right. The microwave was reduce to warming up leftovers. Nowadays it lives in the basement, unplugged, collecting dust.

The 1.2 BILLION dollar frozen dinner market certainly won't be funding any studies about the dangers associated with microwaving food. Healthy Choice from ConAgra Foods leads the way in the frozen dinner industry. I grew up eating Chicken Pot Pies baked for 45 minutes in those cute little aluminum trays. (The jury is still out on the Alzheimer's/Aluminum link). God I loved those things with their 3 tiny pieces of meat and that yummy top crust. My mother loved them too, after all it was a fairly cheap and easy way to cook for 4 people.

We have Swanson to thank for the TV dinner market. Necessity being the Mother of Invention, in 1953 Swanson overestimated the demand for Thanksgiving Turkeys and ended up with a whopping 520,000 pounds of extra meat on their hands. Long story short, they put it in a compartmentalized tray, linked it to the nation's new TV craze and bammo you've got yourself a TV dinner.

I'm concerned that we feel this rush all the time around food. As a child I used to have to WAIT for dinner to be prepared, didn't you? There just weren't fast food joints on every corner and there wasn't the money available for eating out every night. Marketing plays a big part in making us feel like we don't have time to cook. Maybe the bad economy will help us to spend more time in the kitchen and at the table, reconnecting with food and family.

1 comment:

Drake Cameron said...

Here's an interesting update from the April issue of Waitrose FOOD Illustrated, a European Food Magazine. In it Chef Eric Chavot states, "I use a microwave in my restaurant kitchen all the time. There, I've said it loud and proud." He especially likes cooking broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and carrots in the micro. He sees nothing wrong with this practice...guess he hasn't read the research!