Changing face of food preparation

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If there is one appliance which has totally changed the way we prepare meals, it would have to be the microwave oven.

It has completely changed the way we cook, making it much easier to prepare certain meals and making the prospect of next day leftovers that much more appealing.

Developed in the 1940s and welcomed into most American homes in the 1960s, the microwave made its way into South African homes in the 1980s.

New appliances

In recent decades there have been numerous appliances which have been introduced to kitchens, completely changing the way we cook and prepare meals.

“Food preparation appliances chop, slice, dice, juice, blend, whisk, stir and squeeze. It’s a $182 million category that’s growing seven per cent year-on-year, driven by consumers’ collective desire for healthier, homemade food, preferably in a liquid form.

The food preparation category has experienced strong growth in the last 12 months, with liquidisers (including juicers) the best performers,” says website Appliance Retailer.

Implications

With the introduction of numerous new kitchen appliances, time spent cooking has steadily decreased.

“Time spent in preparing home cooked meals has steadily declined since 1950 as more Americans eat at restaurants and fast food outlets. In 1950, restaurant sales were 25% of retail food sales; in 2008 restaurant sales accounted for 48.5% of total US retail sales. In addition, preparation time for those evening meals that we do cook at home averages between 31 and 45 minutes,” says Do It Green.

Healthy benefits

There has been much discussion and concern about what impact new kitchen appliances have on our health. It was initially thought microwaves may be hazardous. But numerous studies have since found that there are little to no adverse affects of using a microwave compared to other cooking methods.

Says Harvard University research: “Some nutrients do break down when they’re exposed to heat, whether it is from a microwave or a regular oven. Vitamin C is perhaps the clearest example. So, as a general proposition, cooking with a microwave probably does a better job of preserving the nutrient content of foods because the cooking times are shorter.”

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