Data by international research group Global TGI shows that more than 60% of South Africans own a microwave oven, indicating to what extent we rely on arguably the most convenient of household appliances.
The frantic pace at which we live our lives these days has meant that we no longer have time to spend hours preparing the kind of meals we see on the cooking channels, as much as we might want to.
The “hot box”, as some like to call it, is of course particularly essential to students whose diet does tend to revolve around warmed-up pizza and those Dr. Oetker bolognaise numbers that taste so good after a night on the town.
Since the countertop microwave first appeared in 1967, the device has not been without its controversies due to its radiation element, and to this day health activists are adamant that they destroy much of a food’s nutrients and cause many other problems with the immune system over a period of time.
But there are also those who say research has proved microwave cooking is not harmful. One of the studies often cited is from the United States Food and Drug Administration, which says the radiation produced by a microwave is non-ionizing, and therefore does not have the cancer risks associated with ionizing radiation such as X-rays.
In addition, a CNN report earlier this year directly contradicted the assertions of the anti-microwave brigade, saying: “Microwaving is a safe bet. In fact, it’s near the top of the list for nutritionally sound food-preparation methods. If you use your microwave with a small amount of water to essentially steam your food from the inside, you’ll retain more vitamins and minerals than with almost any other cooking method.”
All agree, however, that one needs to look a microwave properly, particularly if it is has exceeded its seven-to-10 year warranty.
Many experts say that ideally one should replace a microwave when it starts to show signs of wear, as failing to do so can result in small amounts of radiation leakage.
The truth is though that most people do not know what to look for in terms of a deteriorating microwave. There is the belief that it will “right itself” after a period of time, but this is nothing more than false hope.
It is a little known fact is that there are microwave repair professionals who have been specifically trained to administer maintenance and repairs on the appliance. It is highly recommended that you do not try to repair your microwave yourself given the radiation factor.
These specialists can easily be located using web-based home service provider directories like Assist247, which will indicate those closest to you and allow you to work out the cheapest option.
According to these specialists, there are a number of tell-tale signs that a microwave is need of repair, including:
- If your food isn’t heating properly, it is a sure indication your microwave is slowing down and may need repair;
- If a flashing code appears, the microwave is malfunctioning;
- If the microwave continues to run even when the door is open. If the door seal is broken, then it is definitely time for action as this could very well lead to leaked radiation; and
- If there is a loud buzzing when you hit the “start” button, there is every chance that the microwave needs to be replaced.
The good news for more health-conscious students – yes, such things exist – is that the face of the much-loved microwave is changing to suit their lifestyle, and so it may be worth taking the repair route until this innovative machine hits the shelves.
A prototype device by General Electric Global Research uses the microwaves, which travel through food, to measure the fat and water content of the meal and consequently, its calorific content.
Capitalismisfreedom.com reports that the calorie counter can accurately reveal the calorific content of a plate of food at the push of a button – without ingredients or components of a meal having to be analysed separately.