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‘None of us know how to decrease power by 50%’: Stouffer’s customer says she’s been cooking the frozen meals wrong

‘Even if I knew I wouldn’t be doing it.’


Eric Webb


Who has time to learn what all those buttons on their microwaves do? Not many people, according to TikTok.

Content creator Chloe (@talkingtotequila) posted a video this week about the everyday struggles of heating up a frozen dinner. As of Wednesday morning, it had more than 9,000 views.

@talkingtotequila I’m being so for real right now #fyp #frozenmeals #millennial #stouffers #bffr #stopthemadness ♬ original sound – Talking to tequila

In the video, Chloe holds up a box of a Stouffer’s-brand frozen lasagna.

“I have some shocking news for the frozen meal companies,” Chloe said. “None of us know how to reduce power by 50%. Stop putting it on your instructions. Figure out a way to let us cook this at the same power for the whole time.”

She added in the caption: “I’m being so for real right now.”

One commenter wrote, “Even if I knew I wouldn’t be doing it.”

“Also adorable when they say to stop cooking halfway through to stir. Buddy it’s going in the microwave and it ain’t coming out til it’s ready,” another said.

“I’ve [never] changed it. Turns out fine. They are wasting their time,” a third added.

There were detractors, of course.

“Everyone over age 4 knows how to set the power level,” someone chimed in.

According to microwave cookware company Anyday, using varied power levels to defrost food helps it cook more efficiently, “allowing that residual heat to transfer to the ice and melt it. If the microwave is at full power, it will evaporate too much of that water layer for it to efficiently penetrate the ice!”

If you feel like getting really scientific, microwave ovens use a device called a magnetron, which emits electromagnetic waves that heat up your food, according to Cook’s Illustrated.

“Here’s the catch: In most microwave ovens, because the magnetron is designed to emit a single wavelength, the intensity of the radiation can’t be altered. It can, however, be turned on and off, and that’s exactly what power levels do. When you lower the power level in a microwave oven, you decrease the amount of time the magnetron stays on,” according to Cook’s Illustrated.

Listen, no judgements here at The Daily Dot for intrepid frozen-food consumers. We all have our own strengths. Luckily, most appliance manufacturers post instructions for their products’ functions online, including how to adjust power levels. 

For example, to change the power level on most General Electric microwave models, according to the company’s website: “Press Time Cook, Micro Cook or Cook Time. Enter the cooking time in minutes and seconds. Press Power Level. Select a desired power level between 1-10. … Press the Start/Pause button.”

Ta-da. Enjoy your Stouffer’s lasagna.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Chloe via Instagram direct message and Stouffer’s parent brand, Nestlé, via email for comment.

Update 2:41pm CT, June 22: In an email to the Daily Dot, Chloe said:

It was just a fun of the cuff video I made after picked up a quick frozen meal from the store after work! It always says to decrease power when heating things up but I have absolutely no clue how to do that! I thought everyone just gambled with heating it on high the whole time. Surprisingly a lot of people actually know how to change the power so I learned how to do it lol!

I rarely eat frozen meals but in the future I’ll be all set lol!

I was a little surprised that some viewers seemed to be personally offended my my lack of microwaving skills but a huge amount of ppl liked the video so I know some people were in the same boat as me!

Also, we put a man one the moon, your telling me we haven’t figured out a superior way to heat up a quick bite? Lol

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