Microwaving is a method of cooking food by using a dielectric heating method, which means exposing the food to microwave radiation in an enclosed compartment (microwave oven), which heats up the molecules present in the food. Microwaving has become a popular method of cooking as microwave dishes require lesser time and energy to be prepared, when compared to the dishes prepared using traditional methods of cooking. Popcorn, boiled rice and French potatoes are a few examples of some of the popular microwave recipes.
Origin of Microwaving
Microwaving evolved as a process of cooking in the middle of the 20th century, when Dr. Percy Spencer found that food items could get heated when placed near the magnetron. This led him to experimenting more with the magnetron, and he finally came to the conclusion that microwaving caused rapid heating of the food exposed to the magnetron. Traditional microwave ovens were huge, approximately 5 feet in height, and were highly expensive as a plumbing system needed to be incorporated in order to cool the equipment. With the advent of time and technology, compact microwave ovens evolved which made it possible to prepare microwave dishes at home. Microwave recipes are now common in all cuisines across the globe, as microwaving itself is a way to prepare food faster and in a more convenient manner than its original cooking method.
The Process of Microwaving
Although microwaving involves energy, it is not a direct heating process. Microwave recipes are prepared using high frequency electromagnetic waves which are emitted by the magnetron inside the microwave oven. The microwaves contain energy, which, after coming in contact with the food molecules, causes them to vibrate rapidly and create friction, which results in heat. Microwaves do not heat up the oven as metal reflects microwaves, and thus metal utensils should not be used for preparing microwave dishes. Microwaving is an extremely fast method of cooking, and requires much less energy and space as compared to traditional methods of cooking. Microwave dishes are easy to prepare, due to which microwaving is practiced in domestic as well as commercial cooking.
Microwaving is used to prepare all types of everyday to gourmet dishes, except the ones that need to be caramelized, browned or cooked with direct heat. In fact, almost every recipe ingredient can be cooked in a microwave oven, apart from those recipes which need the application of direct heat, such as roasted and baked dishes. Many boiled and fried dishes can be prepared by microwaving, which even enables the dishes to be prepared in considerably lesser duration of time as compared to the original method of cooking.
Microwaving has certain advantages over other methods of cooking. Microwave recipes are prepared much faster than any other method of cooking. It is also more economical than other methods of cooking. Food that has been arranged on a plate may be reheated as placed, which is very convenient.
However, there are certain disadvantages to microwaving. For example, microwave dishes cannot be prepared in metal utensils, which are most commonly found in every kitchen, as metal reflects the microwaves, which can damage the oven. Also, microwaving may lead to uneven cooking and heating and of food, specifically in case of large pieces of food.