The "Speedy Weenie" and German Potato Salad

Did you know that in 1946 two men, Percy Spencer and an associate, P.R. Hanson, were working on a project that they dubbed "the Speedy Weenie?" The "Speedy Weenie" was the nickname they had for their secret project, the microwave oven! It literally meant "a quick hot dog!"

In 1947 a commercial oven that heated food using microwave energy was first used in a Boston restaurant. The original microwaves were 5 1/2 feet tall, 750 pounds and cost over $5,000! They weren't the most popular appliance on the market.

During the 50's there were many refinements and the microwave gained in popularity but was known as the "radarange!" It was only $2,000 to $3,000.

Finally, in 1975 the microwave oven became the most popular appliance with sales exceeding the gas range! By 1976, 60% of the homes in America owned a microwave oven.

My home was not one of the 60%. The Kitchen Gnome kept telling me that we could use it to heat coffee. Heat coffee?! I could see no reason to spend a great deal of money on an appliance that could heat coffee and cook a hot dog quickly!

In 1978 I became the proud owner of a new stove and oven with, you guessed it, a microwave unit above the stove! I was going to learn all about the magic of the microwave, or so they told me. So what does this have to do with German Potato Salad? Well, the first successful dish that I prepared totally in the microwave oven was German Potato Salad. It came right out of the New Magic of Microwave Cookbook by Magic Chef.

German Potato Salad

4 servings

6 slices bacon
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 Tbsp flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1/2 tsp celery seed
2/3 cup water
5 Tbsp cider vinegar
4 medium potatoes, cooked, peeled and sliced

Place bacon in 1 1/2 quart casserole. MICROWAVE 3 to 4 MINUTES on HIGH, or until crisp. Remove bacon. Crumble and set aside.

Add onion to bacon drippings. MICROWAVE 2 to 3 MINUTES on HIGH, or until onion is transparent.

Stir in flour, sugar, salt, pepper, and celery seed. MICROWAVE 1 MINUTE on HIGH. Stir in water and vinegar. MICROWAVE 3 to 4 MINUTES on HIGH, or until mixture boils. Add potatoes and bacon, stirring gently to coat with sauce.


Don't you just love the way the recipe was printed. They were certainly emphasizing that it was to be done in the MICROWAVE, the number of MINUTES and on HIGH! The whole cookbook is printed in this manner.

My dad was never generous with compliments but this is one dish that he raved about and always requested when he and mom were coming to dinner! If Dad liked it, it must be good!


  1. As you know, I'm on my German kick. What a simple and great version of German potato salad! This would be perfect with a German style pork roast, pan sauce and warm potato salad. Yummy!

  2. I do love a good potato salad... and bacon. But I don't have a Speedy Weenie :) Maybe I can make it the old fashioned way...

  3. German potato salad is one of my favorites. You know I didn't have a microwave until the middle eighties and I still don't use it very much. What a great history you've shared with us on something that so many people now can't live without.

  4. MMmmm, this looks heavenly. Love the sweet and sour flavors with the potatoes. What would we ever do without our microwaves now? I got my first one in 1997 and thought I went to heaven. My kids will enjoy the Speedy Weenie story.

  5. Speedy Weinie...LOLLOOLLOL!

    Love German Potato Salad and I've not had any in years!

  6. We haven't had a microwave since we moved to Seattle and I don't miss it at all. We're getting one for the new kitchen though since (apparently?) they're de rigueur in most kitchens when one is reselling a house.

  7. You will be happy to have it! I will be able to reheat my coffee! :)

  8. German potato salad seems just right for fall! DH loves it - it must be the bacon :) I remember microwave cooking classes - LOL!

  9. I love Hot German Potato salad. So many of the German food places around here serve it. Thanks for the tips.

  10. What a fun history lesson! Great recipe too!

  11. Thanks for the history lesson! I didn't realize that microwaves went that far back. I remember my mom got a microwave back in 1983 and all she ever used it for was reheating food (including coffee - lol). My dad was the one that baked potatoes in the microwave, though. That old microwave lasted my parents over 20 years until I gave them mine before moving to Germany. I've been looking for good microwave recipes and I will have to try yours. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Yummy yum yum! Potato salad with bacon!! Smoky and savoury. Can't stop at one bite. Your dish is making me very hungry!

  13. no mustard? i'm surprised, but not hurt. this looks like a scrumptious way to a)appreciate the germans, and b)get my daily dose of taters. :)

  14. So funny! An all microwave recipe. I didn't have one until the 90's, and still only use it for defrosting and reheating. I have never made a dish in it. Nice to know it can be so successful!


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