Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Melting penguins, making muffins, drying flowers, and other things to do in the microwave

Spring is once again making the dinosaur hordes that live atop my desk restless... in the interests of keeping the house cool and the dinos quiet, we will once again be delving into the wonders of microwave cooking, as they were conceived of in the 1970s.

Tappan's Microwave Cooking Guide (1979), as you might expect from the standing rib roast on the front cover, is yet another '70s microwave cookbook that insists pretty much everything can (and should!) be cooked in a microwave.

What sets it apart is how dedicated it is to showing how microwaves work.  How dedicated? Let these little penguins show you:

Aww! What an adorable plate full of icy penguins! These little guys are in a microwave cookbook, though, so you should have a good idea of what's coming next:

Melted penguin heads! For science! "Note the penguin in the center has melted less because it was shielded from the microwaves by the surrounding mass." I guess it's good to be that one.

Aside from melting any excess ice penguins one might have lying around, Tappan microwaves had plenty of uses. Got a whole lobster?

Pop it in the microwave!

Like crafting?

Dry your flowers in the microwave!

And while this book, like others, suggested that microwave-baking was a fine idea, it at least acknowledged that micro-baked "goodies" were not going to look as attractive as conventionally baked ones and suggested ways to fix them up so they'd at least appear to be more delectable:

Add cinnamon crunch or cinnamon and sugar! Add toasted coconut or chopped nuts! Maybe the improved looks will allow you to pretend that the texture is not the same as that of the sponge you'll use to wipe the counter when you're cleaning up afterwards.

The enthusiastic "Yes!" on this page suggests that the previous owner was indeed able to suspend disbelief in the yumminess of microwaved muffins. This book belonged to someone far more optimistic than I. (Not that it's a difficult bar to hurdle...)

And in case you're wondering, yes, this book does have the traditionally questionable microwaved casseroles, like this diet delight:

Canned tuna and mushrooms over unseasoned mashed cauliflower! I'm sure the dried minced onion and tomato juice topper was enough to... uh... shore up one's resolve to eat a lot less.

Happy Cookbook Wednesday! Now go out and microwave something that logically, you probably shouldn't.

Thanks again to Louise from Months of Edible Celebrations for hosting.


  1. Oh my goodness, Poppy, I wouldn't dream of showing my grandson those poor penguins, lol...

    Now, I'm wishing I would have kept some of those nuking books from the 70s. Nope, I sold them at yard sales. The microwave just never turned me on, still doesn't except for an occasional warm up of coffee. Although, I have been collecting (pinning) a lot of in a cup microwave desserts these days. Haven't tried any yet but I am tempted!

    The tuna casserole isn't even a thought in my mind. Not so much because of the nuker. I don't think I could take the texture of tuna and cauliflower in the same casserole. I'm kinda surprised the cauliflower isn't frozen. Uh oh, I just remembered, I have been known to nuke a whole head of cauliflower and been very happy with the results. (stuff it with garlic, cover with plastic and nuke away for about 10 minutes)

    Happy Cookbook Wednesday Poppy! Thanks for joining in:) I hope you had an enjoyable Teacher's Appreciation Day yesterday:)

    1. Those old microwave cookbooks are not generally something anyone would need or want now UNLESS one has a love for particularly terrible recipes. I can see why you got rid of yours-- Your collecting goals are not quite the same as mine!

      I don't think my students appreciate me very much right now, as I just got done grading an enormous number of essays over the weekend...

    2. It's more a matter of room, Poppy:) I have to eliminate every now and again and the microwave books are usually the first to go.

      Your students may not appreciate you now, but one day, they most certainly will:)

  2. So, I attempted to purchase a microwave cookbook from a local used book store & my husband put his foot down. I REALLY want to try some of this sad & hilarious recipes. Tuna n' cauliflower for the win!

    1. I wondered why anyone would object to a cheap old book from a used bookstore-- until you said you want to try some of this stuff! Ha!

  3. This brought back memories. My mom taught microwave cooking classes at a local community college. She did some of these same experiments in class. (My sister and I sometimes served as her sous chefs!)