Will I have a two headed baby by heating my coffee in a microwave?
An excellent question! And one I get often. The simple answer is: No.
Recently, I had a recipe I wrote for Celery Parsnip Soup added to the choices for participants of the NEW Soul Study. This is a study my BFF, Marty Davey, MS, RD is working on which is exploring how healthy soul food can, hopefully, decrease the rate of cardiovascular disease in South Carolina. The recipe says to microwave the sweet potato chunks for 20 minutes. The graduate assistant inputting the recipe wondered about the 20 minutes being too long and the safety of food cooked in a microwave. Let's look at the safety issue first.
Please send me good studies showing that two-headed babies or other interesting phenomenon happen while being near a microwave for around 10 minutes a day occurring on a regular basis. I have never seen any.
What is a microwave?
Microwaves are basically radio waves or the same waves that you use in your phone. Be that as it may, they are much more concentrated in a microwave oven which is why their manufacturing is regulated. Penn State has a great article with more detail.
How they actually work.
I asked Marty about this. Here's her blah, blah -
The length of time you need to microwave a food to desired texture depends on the strength of the microwave and the volume of food. If you have a cup of cut onions, adding 1 tablespoon of water can cook it to translucency in about 120 seconds. Squash, on the other hand, takes much longer, especially in a bowl instead of a flat pan. Microwaves only penetrate about one inch. The rest of the heating is due to conduction. Conduction is Molecule A knocking into the Molecule B and heating it up. The exterior heats up due to the microwaves, then the heat moves from molecule to molecule heating the rest of the food. This means, if you have a mixing bowl of large chunks of sweet potato or squash, the exterior will heat, but the interior will take time for that conductive heat to penetrate.
To make a finer point, microwaves actually excite the water molecules in the food and transfer the heat. You are, in essence, steaming the food at a higher rate. This is also why the food is turned or stirred during cooking to increase the surface area that is exposed to the microwaves.
To make cooking quicker, I use microwave ovens. Also, it uses less electricity or gas than conventional steaming. Here's my video, Creamy Celery Parsnip Soup recipe.
adding ingredients with the microwave process time it takes each to cook built into the instructions.
This is a perfect soup for spring and will bring delight to each of the palates of your double headed wunderkind.