• Eric Tyler, MD

Radar Ramen

In the ages of the dinosaurs of my generation a snack was an apple or peanut butter and crackers. Meals were prepared on a stove top and oven or occasionally, on a grill. Left-overs were either eaten cold or warmed in the oven - which usually made them hard as a brick!

In 1973, at the Minute Man Hamburger joint in Searcy, Arkansas, I had my first “Radar Pie”. A frozen concoction rapidly heated to order in a “Radar Range.” We stood in line and watched the desert guy make them one after another in about 50 seconds. The cherry pie filling was as hot as molten lava, and the soft serve ice cream served with the pie melted quickly. Most experienced a burned tongue while grabbing ice water as fast as possible, because it just was hard to believe that something could get hot enough to burn in such a short period of time.

In the mid 1970’s, all the appliance stores were trying to make sure every household had a microwave. The biggest selling point was watching the salesperson pour popcorn kernels in a paper bag with no oil. They made a magician like display of stapling the bag with a flourish and tossing it in a microwave oven. Fifty seconds later, the incredible sounds of popping corn radiated from the oven. When the sound of popping became less and less this signaled the end of the cooking time because no menu times were programmed into the machines as they are now. The paper bag was cut open with scissors and passed around for all the spectators to sample.

Microwave ovens have revolutionized cooking. It has become convenient and time saving for the working household. This coupled with the fact that manufacturers have developed every microwaveable food that you could ever possibly imagine has created a comfort level with its usage. Most four year old children likely possess the skills to microwave several different snacks and ready made meals.  The frequent usage has led most to have a high level of confidence of the ability of their children to heat their own food. Sloshes and spills can happen no matter the age of the user. The results are often burns, in addition to the mess on the floor or counter tops.

In 2012, over 100 BILLION units of Ramen Noodles were sold world-wide. It is easy to fix, inexpensive, and has become a meal staple for students. BUT, Ramen Noodle accidents also result in 9,500 burns in children ages 4 to 12 years on an annual basis. As this Christmas season approaches, the weather will be cold, and the children will have a break from school, and many houses with have a stock of Ramen. Please encourage everyone to be safe in the preparation of this hot snack. The only thing we want burned this year is the wood in a fireplace.

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