Thelma Pressman

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Thelma Pressman
Born April 10, 1921
Died August 10, 2010(2010-08-10) (aged 89)
Rancho Mirage, California
Nationality American
Occupation Microwave cooking consultant
Known for Founded first microwave cooking school in the U.S.

Thelma Pressman (10 April 1921 – 10 August 2010, Rancho Mirage, California)[1] was a pioneering microwave cooking consultant, product development consultant, and cookbook author. In 1969 she opened the first microwave cooking school in the United States. She was the author of several microwave cookbooks and was a regular columnist for Bon Appétit magazine from 1978 to 1982. After her retirement to the Palm Springs area, she was a founder of the Palm Springs Chapter of Les Dames d'Escoffier International and led restaurant tours throughout the Coachella Valley. She was often called "the Julia Child of microwave cooking".[1]


Pressman studied microwave technology at California Community Colleges in 1967.[2] In 1969 she founded the first microwave cooking school in the United States in Encino, California.[3][1] The Microwave Cooking Center became an industry test kitchen in which products were evaluated and cookware and recipes were developed for the nascent microwave industry.[1]

Pressman was a consultant for Amana Corporation from 1968 to 1976 and Director of Consumer Education and Services for Sanyo Electric Co. from 1977 to 1987.[2][1] In the latter position, she assisted in new product development, gave seminars nationwide, and contributed to the development of more than 100 microwave cookbooks and instruction manuals.[1][4]

Pressman wrote hundreds of articles on microwave cooking for newspapers and magazines. She was a regular columnist for Bon Appétit magazine from 1978 to 1982. She also produced and hosted a live 30-minute TV show on microwave cooking called Fun Time Cooking.[1] Her The Art of Microwave Cooking was selected by the Library of Congress for the Microwave Talking Cookbook for the Blind.[2]

Pressman was a member of the Electrical Woman's Round Table, serving as that group's 1977 president, the American Women in Radio and Television, and the International Association of Cooking Professionals.[2]

Pressman and her husband Morris (Mo) retired to the Palm Springs desert community. She was a founding member of the Palm Springs chapter of Les Dames d'Escoffier International, an organization of women leaders in food, beverage and hospitality.[5] From 1991 to 2005 she ran a popular "Restaurant Tour of the Desert", hosting weekly dinners for 25 to 100 locals and tourists at restaurants throughout the Coachella Valley.[1]

She died on 10 August 2010 at the age of 89, and was buried in Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California, next to her husband Morris (1918–2005), a veteran of the US Army.[1][6][7]


Pressman was married to Morris (Mo) Pressman, a native of Winnipeg,[8] for 65 years until his death in 2005.[6] They had two sons, Paul and Rick.[1]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Thelma Pressman". The Desert Sun. 18 August 2010. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d Evans, J. M. (1989). Two Thousand Notable American Women. American Biographical Institute. p. 409. ISBN 0-934544-45-X. 
  3. ^ Tennison, Patricia (25 February 1988). "Expert's Tips For Cooking Fish, Chicken". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  4. ^ Bernardino, Minnie (20 June 1985). "Microwave Rides Popularity Crest". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  5. ^ "Les Dames D'Escoffier International – Spring Quarterly 2007" (PDF). Les Dames d'Escoffier International. p. 23. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "National Cemetery Administration database". United States Department of Veterans Affairs. 15 June 2006. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  7. ^ Thelma Pressman at Find a Grave
  8. ^ "Interactive Search". 2011. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 

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