Spoiled by microwave’ speedy meals

Published 1:39 am Saturday, November 22, 2014

Time slipped up on me. It was 2 p.m. and I was hungry. I ripped the top off the box of a name-brand frozen pasta meal and flipped over to the directions on back. Microwave for X number of minutes, remove from the oven, tear off the plastic film, and microwave for another X number of minutes. Then I saw it: a notation that the directions were for an 1100 watts microwave. Uh, oh. The sign on the inside of my microwave door read 1250 watts.

I assumed I needed to reduce the timing, but how much? I had once found an 800 number on a can of discolored, terrible smelling tuna. I called, explained the problem, furnished some information from the can, and gave the nice, concerned company representative my name, address and telephone number. Within a week, I received several free coupons for the product. Another time I had called the 800 number on a can with a question about the expiration date of the product. I received an immediate answer.

I found an 800 number on the pasta box, reasoning the company would probably have a chart to guide consumers with a situation like mine. A real person answered my inquiry and transferred me to another. I repeated my request. She put me on hold with my permission. I must have waited five minutes or longer. She returned to the phone and thanked me for holding on. Apparently, that chart I assumed would provide the answer did not exist. She suggested that I follow the directions on the box. She said to turn off the microwave when the cheese bubbled on top.

I certainly did not want to ruin the expensive box of frozen pasta from which I expected to get two, maybe three meals. As I pondered, I glanced at the top of my microwave where I have a container holding brochures and instruction booklets for various appliances. Staring me right in the face was my microwave oven booklet. There were several charts inside, but none addressed my question. But I did find an 800 number in the book. It involved punching numbers to reach various departments. Since none seemed even close to my problem, I just punched one at random. That person directed me to the technical support department, answered by a nice female representative. After I stated my question, she asked me to hold on. When she returned, she asked for the serial and model numbers of my microwave, when I purchased it, from whom I purchased it, along with my name, address and telephone number. Then she answered my question. “You do not change the time to microwave the product, you lower the power,” she said, and then guided me through the process, step by step.

Approximately 45 minutes after I opened that box, I pulled the meal out of my microwave, cooked to perfection. My persistence paid off, but a chart you and I need for similar situations is apparently nonexistent.