Tuesday, January 3, 2012

25 pound turkeys do not microwave well and other microwave cooking rules to live by

Instructions from a 1980s JC Penney microwave cookbook

My mother-in-law's beloved peanut brittle recipe is from, surprisingly, a JC Penney microwave cookbook that came with her first microwave in the 1980s.  We flipped through the book when it came out over Christmas and all had a few good laughs over the it.  One of the pages instructed readers to resist the urge to microwave 25 pound turkeys or a dozen potatoes.  And funnily, the book also said not to microwave popcorn, which is the only thing that some people ever use for microwaves these days.

But after giggling about the food photography that made all the food look unappealing, however, I actually learned a few things from the book.  I got some tips on how to use a microwave more efficiently and creatively.  Did you know that things microwave more evenly in a round dish rather than a square dish because the heat gets trapped in the corners?  And who knew you could make peanut brittle in a microwave?  Cakes, even.  It made me wonder if there are other things I could be doing with that thing that takes up most of the little counter space we have in our New York City apartment.

Surprising ways to get reacquainted with your microwave after the jump!

A few years ago, I read an article by Mark Bittman in The New York Times about things you didn't know you could microwave.  The takeaway from that article for me was realizing I could quickly steam vegetables like broccoli in the microwave, but I didn't delve any further into the microwave.

Until today...

Today, I got an email newsletter from the Kitchn, a cooking-related website that I like but forget to visit.  I like those "top posts of the year" emails from sites I enjoy because you feel like you can see the "best-of" posts in December and get caught up even though you haven't gone to the site since last year's year-end newsletter.  The headline that caught my eye today was "10 uses for your microwave that might surprise you." 

It was like, this microwave thing is following me!  What does it all mean?

The first thing I saw on the 10 surprising uses of microwave list was "how to poach an egg in the microwave."  What?  Who knew!  I tried the recipe and added a beautifully poached egg to my 2-minute lunch of leftover cooked pasta, pesto, and feta.  Loved it.

Is it just me or does it seem like it's time for the microwave to make a comeback?  Whether it happens, I think there are more time-saving microwave discoveries in my future.  Beep beep.

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