Sue Snider: I am Sue Snider, University of Delaware, department of Animal and Food Sciences. We are talking about cooking in the microwave oven. Today, we are talking about microwaves on college campuses. In dorm rooms across the country probably one of the most popular appliances is a microwave oven. Now, there are some things that run into a problem. One of the things is the microwave oven needs to be plugged in appropriately. That means no extension cords. If you do need some kind of extension, it's appropriate to use a power strip. So those are considered safe.
The other thing in canvassing the people on my campus at the University of Delaware, they talk about the number one problem they have with microwave ovens, is fire and the number one corporate is popcorn, very popular. The time between cooking a really great product, burning that product and causing a fire is a matter of seconds.
So when you microwave popcorn, stay with it. Make sure that you are following the directions otherwise, you may end up with a fire. If you have a fire what you want to do is just leave the microwave closed, turn it off, unplug it if you can and hopefully, the fire will be contained within the microwave. You may damage your microwave, but you will not cause other kinds of problems.
Another problem with fires deals with cooking of just regular products, putting them in, turning the microwave on and then going often leaving them. Again, microwaves, you should always be with the microwave so that you can monitor when the product is done and you are not having the problem with fires.
Another thing that I have seen in college dorms rooms is a microwave oven that gets very dirty. Sometimes, it's hard because the water is not closed to keep it clean, but you really do need to keep it clean and especially to keep the seal clean so you don't get microwave leakage.
These are just some tips, some things to think about with microwaving in your dorm room. Great things for that late night snack when you are studying for a test or finals, but stay with your microwave.