Published on 30 June 2005 in , , ,

Microwaves aren’t particularly hard. You get a temperature setting and a time setting. Doddle. Dead easy. You pick your temperature and you pick your time. Any old muppet could cope with that.

Now imagine you are presented with a microwave that doesn’t feature either of those.

Instead you are presented by a button of what looks like a piece of meat on a plate. Then there is a button which is labelled with a cup. And a third button has the meat again, but with three stars above it.

Pressing the meat button flashes up "300 – 350" on the display, and then proceeds to start the microwave, adding 5 minutes and 10 seconds to the timer.

This was the microwave in our kitchen at work. it’s a new one. The old one broke, and this one turned up. And no I have no idea what "300 – 350" means, nor why 5 minutes and 10 seconds is the optimum temperature for cooking a place with some meat on it.

Being a daring kinda guy, I pressed the cup button. 150 was flashed up on the display before the thing started whirring with 1 minute 10 seconds on the clock. (Just what is it about these ten seconds?). Pressing the meat with some stars above it returned me to the land of "300 – 350" and then proceeded to whir away for 11 minutes and 30 seconds.

To add to the fun, below that was a button with two stars, two drops of water and the word “AUTO”. On the right, the phrase “100g”. Pressing them appeared to do nothing.

But further down something which I presume was the off button as it kept turning things off, and a button that turned it on and added 30s to the timer straight away.

In a state of bemusement, I went to another kitchen in the office where I proceeded to place my chilli bean cassarole and pot of rice in at a medium-high temperature for several minutes. All was fine. But several questions, important questions, questions I have to ask, remain.

  1. what happens if you don’t want to cook a plate of meat, a cup or indeed a plate of meat with some stars above it?
  2. where do you get plates of meat with stars above them? Do they come

    pre-packed in Sainsbury’s?

  3. what is auto about 100g?
  4. how on earth do I defrost something?
  5. why would I want to cook a cup and saucer?
  6. and just what is so magical about that extra ten seconds when cooking

    your plate of meat, or your cup and saucer?