Why Does Food Heated in the Microwave Cool Faster? – Science Behind Microwave Food Cooling

Call me paranoid, but I have long harbored an absolute conviction that food heated up in the microwave cools faster than food heated on the stovetop or in the oven. I do n’t think I ‘m being delusional hera. Whether I ‘m nuking a half-finished cup of coffee — which I do about daily — or cooking a freeze pizza, or heating up survive night ‘s leftovers, it all comes out of the microwave sizzling hot and then seems to cool to room temperature before I can find a clean fork. Given that I am a person who once weasled my way out of a high-school physics class by inventing an autonomous learn in poetry-writing, I have always simply chalked this observation up to karma : food heated hurriedly will cool hurriedly, barely to spite your impatient arsenic. Makes sense !
today, in a outburst of science-y curiosity, I decided it was time to seek a more coherent explanation for the phenomenon. I called up Harold McGee, a man who has made a career of applying chemistry, physics, and biology to cook, and attracted considerable awe from legions of science-phobic food journalists like me in the action .
McGee explained that my observations were “ kind of right field and kind of not ” ; the bottom production line is that heat is estrus, and whether produced by a natural gas flare or an electroamagnetic curl, it behaves in the like manner. however, my atom-bomb food could truly be cooling faster for three reasons :
1. In the case of something like a frozen pizza, the perpetrator is the container. Heated in an oven, a metallic element baking sheet or pizza pan will absorb heat from the oven and become much hotter than the pizza sitting on it, helping to cook the pizza while in the oven and continuing to keep it strong once it ‘s sitting out on the counter. In a microwave, the containers we use are not heated immediately by the microwaves. The microwaves heat the food, which can in turn heating system the container it sits in — but never make it hotter than the food itself. so once my pizza leaves the microwave, it does n’t benefit from the like ongoing reference of estrus as one that was in the oven. To avoid this, transfer food from the microwave directly to a heat surface.

2. For thick foods like, say, leftover chili or take-out pad Thai, the issue here is odd heating. Microwaves heat food unevenly due in region to differing amounts of energy in unlike parts of the appliance. This much leaves the center of the food coldness while the edges are piping hot. therefore once my microwaved food has been left to sit for a few minutes, the hotness from the edges will have migrated to warm up the center, for an overall cool temperature. Avoid this issue by stirring your food midway through the inflame action, or if it ‘s something un-stirrable ( like lasagna ), move it to another separate of the microwave partway through cook .
3. When it comes to coffee and other liquids, there ‘s enough fluent circulation that spotty heat does n’t occur. But my half-finished cup of coffee has a a lot smaller volume and only slightly smaller open area than the entire cup I started with. even if it ‘s heated to the same temperature as a full cup, the half-finished cup will always cool faster due to a proportionately larger surface area through which inflame can escape. This is the case with any small piece of food ( which is very often precisely what we ‘re microwaving ) : smaller pieces of food cool faster than larger ones due to their higher surface sphere to volume ratio. nothing to be done about this, besides drink your coffee faster and cut yourself a bigger piece of proto-indo european future time.

Thanks, science !
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