ChefSteps shares how your microwave can cook some seriously delicious recipes.
[BLANK_AUDIO] [SOUND] The microwave. Invented just after World War II, this handy kitchen appliance became a home kitchen standard by the late 1960s and has been warming up frozen burritos every since. The microwave oven works by a relatively simple network of machinery. When you turn it on, a small part called the magnetron emits invisible electromagnetic waves, known of course as microwaves, with wavelengths much shorter than radio waves, but longer than infrared waves. Inside the insulated oven the microwaves leave the magnetron, get distributed by a device called the wave guide and are emitted into the oven chamber. In most models a fan helps scatter and divert the waves. Without one the waves would travel down in a single beam. Cooking just one part of the food and leaving the rest cold. When the electromagnetic waves hit the food, they excite some of the so called polar molecules inside it, mostly water molecules. They oscillate back and forth with the electromagnetic energy, reorienting billions of times a second. While they're doing this, they bump up against all of the adjacent molecules, and that energy gets distributed as heat to cook your vegetables, your fish, your soup, or if you're Jim Gaffigan, your Hot Pocket. You've probably heard people refer to microwave cooking as nuking, but that's a misnomer. The radiation that fuels microwaves has exactly nothing to do with the nuclear radiation you read about in dystopian novels. In fact, because they cook food so fast microwaves often preserve nutrients that can get lost with other cooking methods. So put down that Hot Pocket, Gaffigan. This trusty old contraption is your new secret weapon for whipping up fresh, delicious dinners in a flash. [MUSIC]