MAGNETRONS, MICROWAVES AND A (LAST) PER DIEM (VERY) GOOD THING

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Percy Spencer needed a sugar boost. It’s 1946 and he’s been testing magnetron tubes at Raytheon Laboratories for hours.  He reaches into his pocket for a candy bar and finds a warm gooey mess.

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The tube that he’s testing, which produces microwave radiation, was first used in radar sets during WWII. So, knowing that microwaves create heat, Spencer wonders if the magnetron caused his candy bar to melt.  To test his theory, he put a bag of popcorn kernels next to it. The kernels popped all over the floor and in minutes, Spencer was snacking on the world’s first microwave popcorn. He then built a rudimentary metal box with a magnetron in it and used it to reheat his lunches.  Remember the first Amana RadarRange ovens?

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Microwave oven

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Tonight I’m having popcorn ~ thanks to an orphan from Maine who never even graduated from grammar school.  These days, Percy Spencer hangs out with the likes of Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers in the National Inventors Hall of Fame.  His endlessly curious mind, itch to know, and “let’s tinker and see approach” changed my life.

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And so did this…it’s a  Per Diem Good Thing.

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Usually microwave popcorn comes in a bag. With lots of preservatives, colors and chemicals. But with this jar, you can microwave your own popcorn by filling the bottom with kernels. You can even add butter into the melting lid that will strain it over the popcorn.  Better yet, sprinkle on some oil and parmesan cheese when it’s hot. Get the popper and the popcorn at Sur la Table.  Oh, and the Cheddar Seasoning….it’s YUM.

Toni 3/31/11