Tonight I had the first really good microwave meal of my life.

When did microwaves start showing up in every home? The mid-80s? I probably use one daily for something or other. Either the food designed for the microwave is mediocre to begin with, or it doesn’t cook properly (I’m looking at you, hot-at-the-edges-but-cold-in the-middle-burrito!) Tonight, for the first time in my life, I had a meal that was actually wonderful. Completely cooked in the nuker. What, you ask, could be so good to deserve a thread? Trader Joe’s Chicken Breast Medallions in Coconut Red Curry Sauce over Hinode (brand) Heat n Serve Jasmine Rice, from the local market. Totally cooked in 5 and a half minutes. Divine.

Trader Joe’s is almost the only place I’ll buy frozen food. I’ve liked at least 50% of the things I’ve tried there, and love and repeatedly buy a half-dozen items. Like:

Margarita pizza
Butter chicken
Chicken Tikka Masala
Chicken mini tacos

This in contrast to your average supermarket. I believe I only like one thing from Safeway: frozen White Castle burgers.

I have found a lot of microwave meals from places like Whole Foods or even the regular supermarket that are pretty good. Those frozen White Castle burgers are a rare phenomenon however. I had them for years because I liked them and I have never lived anywhere near an actual White Castle. I was excited when I went on a business trip to Indiana and saw a real White Castle restaurant. I ordered, got my my five sliders cooked right in front of me and sat down to experience the ‘real deal’. I’ll be damned if they aren’t remarkably similar to the frozen microwavable ones. That isn’t a bad thing. I just wonder how they made such a close imitation of a fast food meal that is microwavable especially since it is made up of very different parts like buns, meat, and sauce. There is no other microwavable food like that in my experience.

Well, White Castle burgers are essentially steamed, or “steam grilled” (really, “steam griddled.”) So a microwave would be pretty perfect to replicating those kinds of conditions. You don’t need browning, charring, or anything like that, just essentially warming up everything and steaming it.

Try the mid-70’s. That’s when we got ours, and we were always on the non-cutting edge of any trend.

Trader Joe’s does have excellent frozen items. The eggplant parmesan is very good.

Stouffers has the only other microwave entrees I buy. Stuffed green peppers, Mac & cheese, spinach souffle, corn pudding thing, lasagna, tuna noodle casserole are all quite good.

Oh, also MichelAngelo’s eggplant parmesan is very good. Nuke it a little longer than recommended so the edges get a bit chewy. I guess he came up with the recipe so he wouldn’t have to take time out to cook while painting the Sistine Chapel.

I think mid-70’s is far too early. Countertop microwaves of this era werer in fact cutting-edge selling for $400-500.

I hate to use wikipedia as a source but according to that site “By 1986, roughly 25% of households in the U.S. owned a microwave oven”

It is not until the 90’s that a majority of households owned one.

Well, you get my point. I’ve been using a microwave for 20+ years…

I will also occasionally buy Stouffer’s frozen entrees.

With tthe stuffed green peppers, the sell in two sizes, one pepper or two. I have noticed when the line goes on sale, the double pack of peppers will be on sale at the same price as everything else, including the solo pack.

That’s the occasion when I buy.

That square with my recollection. I was born in 1975, and I don’t remember even seeing a microwave at anyone’s house until about the mid-80s or so. I don’t think we got ours until the late 80s, possibly early 90s.

It’s probably an oxymoron to use “good” and “instant potatoes” in the same sentence but I was quite surprised when I cooked them in the MW with excellent results.

Or at least as good as they would have been cooking them on the stove.

Someone had the White Castle microwave sliders for lunch at work one day. It made the entire kitchen smell like a bad gut wound.

That had to be the most nauseating odor I have ever smelled. Yet, he ate all of them.

Yeah, counter-top microwaves were just appearing in the mid-70s. By 1980 plenty of people had them, but the microwave certainly didn’t have its modern ubiquity. Lots of frozen foods were still in foil containers and not really suitable for microwave cooking. Built in turntables were just emerging, many people would but a windup unit to use. Those early units were solid as a rock though. My MIL got a machine in 1977, gave it to us in the late 80s sometime, and it finally died after almost 30 years. It was big enough to cook a turkey in if you wanted to ruin a turkey. It seems like the life of a modern unit is only 3-5 years.

Hey, me too! (Born in 1975).

My best friend moved in 1984 and I remember quite clearly taking microwave popcorn from his house to the movies (his Mom snuck it in). That was probably 1983.

BTW: that was, and remains to be, the best popcorn I ever had.

“It’s probably an oxymoron to use “good” and “instant potatoes” in the same sentence”

Most instant potatoes are comprised of - you guessed it - potatoes, simply dried potatoes. It is one of the few “instant foods” dreamed of in futurist writings that actually worked.

Dried potatoes and a ton of preservatives. Higher sulfites than any other processed food, if I remember correctly. Not that this has anything to do with microwavability.

I steam a lot of vegetables in the microwave. They taste wonderful to me.

I was in college in 1977. Each dorm got a certain amount of discrectionary money (about $1000) each year, which was usually used for parties. My dorm voted to use the money to buy a microwave oven for the kitchen and it was expensive…we used the full thousand and had to come up with another $200 or so.

I bought my microwave oven in 1986 and it still works great, I’ve never replaced it.

That is pretty much what they’re supposed to smell like. They are pretty much onion bombs.

The only issue I’ve had is the keypad getting worn out and not registering some keys. I otherwise haven’t had a unit go on me yet. The current one is probably getting on 5 years now, and the one at my parent’s house is 10 years old. However, I don’t use mine every day or anything. No idea about my parent’s habits.

Aldi’s Priano brand eggplant parmesan is awesome. They only have it a couple times a year though. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that when I first tried it I went back and bought ten packages, all that my local store had left.