How does a microwave heat food? Why is only one side of aluminum foil shiny? and Is it better to use cold or hot water in a garbage disposal? are among the questions answered in this guide that reveals the hidden science of the kitchen and its trappings. Profiling more than 50 common appliances and utensils, this handbook describes each item's history, reveals interesting trivia about the piece, and discusses the technology involved. In addition to featuring the original patent blueprints and photographs of the "guts" of the culinary tools, this guide recounts quirky side stories such as the role a waffle iron played in Nike's inception and the real reason why socialite Josephine Cochran invented the dishwasher in 1886. Those whose stovetop skills are still in development will appreciate the information on the invention and use of the smoke detector and hand-held fire extinguishers.