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Microwave Cookware Floods Marketplace

February 06, 1986|MINNIE BERNARDINO | Times Staff Writer

They are still hot . . . microwave ovens are still making waves. Sales have boomed not only due to the recent holidays but because prices have dropped to affordable levels. Now, smaller space-saving models costing less than $150 have become available.

Getting even hotter are microwave cookware and all the accessories that go with each oven. This was evident at the national housewares show in Chicago last fall where there was an avalanche of microwave go-withs. These ranged from fashionable-looking to basic cookware and microwave/storage sets. Here are some of the newest attractions:

According to industry surveys, of all the microwave accessories available to consumers, the turntable enjoys highest sales. And with more smaller ovens being manufactured that do not have all the features that the more expensive units have, such as more even cooking patterns, turntables are the solutions to avoiding hot spots that can ruin a dish.

Compact Turntable

From Nordic Ware comes the Micro-Go-Round Plus, a smaller version of its original turntable, introduced in 1978. The most compact turntable available, measuring 1 inches high and 9 1/2 inches in diameter, it even fits inside the new space-saving models. The low profile also ensures that large cookware will rotate freely in the oven. Running with a silent spring-driven motor, it takes only six ounces of food weight to activate the unit and can accommodate up to 10 pounds of food and cookware. The unit, which requires winding, rotates until the food is removed.

What makes up the "Plus"? Accompanying the turntable and designed to fit securely on top of it is the baking/grilling pan called the Bake 'N Bacon Pan, which has a ribbed side for cooking meat and a smooth side for baking, heating and defrosting. Made of Nordic Ware's exclusive GEMstone, a thermoset polyester material, both the pan and turntable are available in platinum color. The pan is freezer-oven-dishwasher safe.

A unique dual action process highlights Rubbermaid's new microwave turntable that will be available in late summer. The compact unit not only rotates foods but also has a built-in mode stirrer that redistributes microwaves in the oven to overcome hot and cold spots, encouraging a more even cooking pattern.

Styled in classic white, the non-stick, stain-resistant turntable fits compact to larger ovens. Working on a spring mechanism, it has a wind-up design, rotating as much as eight pounds of food for 20 minutes on a single winding.

Cookware Sets

Rubbermaid offers convenience and versatility in its new line of white fluted seven-piece space-saving set of microwave cookware. Non-stick, stain resistant and dishwasher safe, the cookware goes directly from freezer to microwave oven to conventional and convection ovens with a temperature setting of as high as 400 degrees.

Stackable, the set includes a one-quart casserole that nests inside a steamer/cooker bowl, which nests inside a three-quart casserole. Other pieces of the set include a roasting rack/baking cover that doubles as a cover for the casseroles for use in all ovens; a clear, see-through cooking cover (for microwave use only), and two snug-fitting, flexible plastic covers, which fit both casseroles for refrigerator or freezer storage. When nested together, all pieces measure 6 3/4 inches high, a real space-saving benefit.

The roasting rack, with its grooved pattern on one side, is wonderful for cooking bacon in the microwave. When reversed, it may be used as a flat cooking surface or baking sheet. For extended warming, the largest casserole may be filled with hot water to nest the one-quart steamer/cooker bowl.

Rubbermaid's seven-piece set fits inside small ovens, such as the 0.4-cubic-feet model, as well as in larger ones. It is ideal for turntables, which always pose problems of accommodating larger casseroles.

Since reheating foods seems to be one of the most appreciated virtues of microwave ovens, storage products have gained strength alongside microwave cookware. Durable, heat-proof containers are in great demand. In addition to these qualities, Nordic Ware has provided a guaranteed leak-proof storage feature in its recently introduced Microwave Lock 'N Seal Containers. The platinum-colored containers are made of thermoset polyester with clear plastic covers for viewing during storage. They can be stacked in any way--upright or on their sides. Their silicone gaskets and hinged locks offer spill-proof sealing. However, they must be loosened and inverted on the bases for microwaving. The containers are available in quart and pint sizes.

Rubbermaid's Space - Saving Set has a suggested retail price of $19.99 and will soon be available at Best Products and K mart. The Dual Action Microwave Turntable has a suggested retail price of $19.99 and will be available late this summer.

Nordic Ware's Micro-Go-Round Plus has a suggested retail price of $55 and is available at the Broadway, May Co. and Robinson's. The Microwave Lock 'N Seal Containers have a suggested retail price of $14 for quart size, $12 for pints and will be available this summer.

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