The First Food Deliberately Cooked By Microwave Radiation Was?
The match-made-in-heaven union between popcorn and microwaves goes way back. Way back, in fact, to the very beginning of microwave ovens in the first place.
The first foodstuff to ever be microwaved was chocolate when an engineer at the Raytheon Corporation, Percy Spencer, was working on an active radar set and happened to have a chocolate bar in his lab coat. The microwave radiation from the radar equipment melted the chocolate and on that fateful day in 1945 the idea for microwave cooking was born.
Spencer set up a prototype of the first microwave oven and promptly kicked off the link between popcorn and microwaves forever by throwing some popcorn into the device, making popcorn the first intentionally microwaved food. Needless to say, the popcorn experiment went much better than the follow up experiment which involved microwaving a whole egg (which promptly exploded in the face of one of the experimenters).
Within two years, commercial microwave ovens were on the market (albeit at an enormous cost equivalent to $53,000 in today’s dollars) and by the end of the 1960s, more compact and economical models began appearing in homes. By the mid-1980s, approximately 25 percent of American homes had a microwave and by the end of the 1990s it had reached over 90 percent.