This microwave has big dreams… too big

The Microwave

Note: At the bottom of this post there are links to videos about my microwave.

We have the weirdest microwave. It came with the house, and if you want to warm something for 30 seconds, you have to make it through several confusing steps.

Check out the main screen:

I understand Cook, Reheat and Defrost. But Pan Brown? Easy Simmer? Aren’t you taking on a little too much there, microwave?

And if you click “Pan Brown,” the first option is “Coconut.”

Because when you purchase a microwave, you do so with the intention of pan-browning a whole bunch of coconut.

Years ago, I created a cartoon to try to explain how in the heck “Pan Brown: Coconut” got added to the microwave’s menu. Let’s take a look…

Anyway, throughout the menu, there are weirdly specific options. If you want to cook frozen food, here are your choices:

If you scroll down, you’ll arrive at “Hashbrowns” and “French Toast.”

If you select Reheat, one of your options is “Muffin.”

Are there really so many people trying, and failing, to reheat a muffin, that the microwave engineers had to program a specific setting for this task?

I was mildly surprised it didn’t ask, “Did you make these muffins yourself or buy them from a store?” Followed by: “Which store?”

I’m sure somewhere under the “More” selection you get to questions like: “What is your social security number and your banking log-in information?” and “Do you really think you look good in that jacket?”

Dealing with this device made me think about the original development meetings at KitchenAid. It must have been so stressful to try to come up with all the options.

Microwave meeting 2

Micowave meeting 2

Microwave meeting 3Sigh.

I guess we’ll never know. The good news is, if I ever DO need to reheat a frozen muffin, I have the means to do so – very accurately. Until then, I’ll have to keep trying to find the “set clock” function. I think it’s somewhere between the selections for “Easy Simmer” and “Bring Peace to the Middle East.”

Wish me luck. And let me know if you ever need to Pan Brown anything.

Here’s a video where I put the microwave to the test. 

Here’s a video where I make a MAJOR breakthrough.

Here’s a video with a shocking microwave-related announcement. 

And here’s the final video in the series. A goodbye. 


  1. do not get me started on the defrost setting that wants to know exactly how many ounces of “stuff” you have to defrost. so basically you need a scale right next to it. WAIT! Why don’t they add that feature to the microwave? A built-in scale???

    oh, I need to patent that…. first thing Monday morning, I have the weekend to tweak this brilliant invention!

  2. If they can make alarm clocks that can AUTOMATICALLY SET THE TIME, why can’t they do that with a microwave? Better yet, link the microwave up to your phone so it can text you when your muffin is ready instead of beeping. You can call your microwave and be like, “defrost the 5 lb 6 oz pork roast in the freezer for 2 hours on medium power then cook it on pan brown setting for 4 hours until it’s cooked through.”

  3. I know how to set the clock!! On the main menu, go to “settings & info”, then click “clock” and there you can set it. Or you can unplug it and when you plug it back in, the welcome screen will give you the choice to set the clock. 🙂 good luck!

  4. John, and how about the microwaves that WILL NOT stop beeping? I had one and made absolutely sure that when we moved to our new place the microwave we got did not have that feature. It drove me NUTS!

    • Lol my oven does that big I forget to turn off the timer. The dryer? Sure, remind my wife and I we have clothes in there. We ate dinner 20 minutes ago? STOP TELLING ME MY FOOD IS READY…I KNOW!!!

  5. You definitely should have purchased a cheaper microwave. Mine is brand new and is much less complicated. The Amazon reviews say it will be broken in 6 months, but hey, I like to gamble if it means savings 100 bucks. I do not believe a microwave is capable of pan browning either!

  6. Having declined to enter my mother’s maiden name and the year I lost my innocence, I half expected my microwave to pout when I just entered “1 minute” to reheat a scoop of casserole.

  7. We have the same situation…a microwave that came with the house, but no manual to be found. Ours has a “grill” option with a strange heating element at the top. How the heck do you grill in a microwave? I’ve always been curious, but too chicken to try it out!

  8. What I need to know is how well the muffin settings work! Can you please test them? I can’t be the only one that wonders if a frozen muffin comes out perfectly warmed!

  9. We inherited-by-move a microwave that randomly chose your settings for you… press 30 seconds and it reheated a dinner plate – somewhere – not sure who the lucky beneficiary was but if your leftovers were mysteriously heated you can thank me now; turn the light on and the plate stopped turning and a self-cleaning cycle started (how thoughtful, who knew?), setting the clock set off a nuclear launch sequence (mad dash to the basement breaker to stop that).

    After an unknown sequence of keys were pressed (probably trying to defrost a muffin) it locked itself. (I think that’s microwave labor strike)

    We replaced it with a measure of trepidation and made a concerted (fearful) effort to insure the next model had no ” self-aware” feature.

  10. Yes, and how irritating is it that when you read the directions on the bag of microwave popcorn, it says: “DO NOT USE THE AUTO SETTING!” like, on pain of death or something. The next morning when you go to heat up yesterday’s coffee, your microwave has gone on a sit down strike because you disrespected it by using the timing on the bag, a device that doesn’t even have a clock on it. 🙁

    • I think it means just cooking the coconut enough that it’s like a light brown color. So it’s not raw. But why would a microwave be trying to do this??

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