Nanny State

I Let the Government Microwave Raw Chicken for Me. Here's What Happened.

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A couple of years back, General Electric celebrated its cozy relationship with the federal government by putting a button on some of its microwaves by which the government would help you cook your food, as long as it was the right kind of food. Here's how Appliance Magazine described it back in 2011:

Over-the-range microwave ovens from GE Appliances are now being equipped with a MyPlate button, allowing users to easily cook foods found in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) recommended dietary guidelines.

MyPlate, the federal government's new food icon, was introduced in June 2011 by First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. It is designed to help consumers make healthier food choices by. It is intended to help prompt consumers to think about building a healthy plate at meal times and to seek more information to help them do so. Healthy eating information is provided at the new web site, www.ChooseMyPlate.gov.

As I don't pay huge amounts of attention to the home kitchen appliance market, I had no idea any of this had happened. Neither did my family, who drove out to the coast last week here in Southern California for vacation. So we all ended up a little mystified when we encountered the button on the microwave in the resort suite where they spent the week. Here it is below:

Additional disappointment: "Steam" didn't provide access to the video game distributor.
Reason

There's no way of knowing what the purpose of the button is just by looking at it (though there are some instructions posted inside the door of the microwave). So I pressed it and ended up cycling through menu after menu of food options just for the purpose of having the microwave set the timer for me. It was time-consuming, redundant and a little bit strange. There was a setting for popcorn that took several button presses to get to, even though the microwave already had a button for popcorn. Since it was menu-based, it couldn't possibly account for the huge variety of healthy food options available, so there were huge gaps. The number of vegetable choices would take less than two hands to count out. There were three whole fish entries (whitefish, salmon and tilapia). Poultry consisted of chicken, with or without bones. The grains were things like rice, oatmeal, and quinoa that have additional prep steps before microwaving or probably already had microwave instructions on whatever packaging they came in.

Once I got to the chicken, I knew we had to try it out. My first thought about the button was that it was silly and useless, but harmless. But having the government cook chicken for you introduced a potential contamination hazard if it was underdone. I purchased some chicken breasts from a nearby grocery store, tossed them on a plate and let the government cook it for me. My prediction: Due to potential fears of liability, it would actually be overcooked rather than undercooked (imagine being able to sue both General Electric and the federal government!). But I was wrong. It actually turned out just fine. It was a little bit dry around the edges, but fully cooked and moist inside. It tasted fine, though uninspired (I didn't season it). Here's a picture:

Well, they never promised it would look good.
Reason

The fact that it worked doesn't make the button any less silly and irrelevant. It's also hilarious that the URL listed on the button isn't the right address. MyPlate.gov isn't an actual site. If you try to go there you'll get an error message. It's www.ChooseMyPlate.gov. If the microwave button's true purpose was to promote the USDA's food nannying, they couldn't even get that right.

If you want to see the button in action, here's a General Electric promotional video on YouTube that hardly anybody seems to have watched. Resources well spent!

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  1. Your first mistake was buying a shitty General Electric product.

    1. That can be excused, as it was in a rented room.

      The real problem here is the idea that anyone woudl cook meat in the microwave. Microwaves have their uses, but cooking meat is definitely not one.

        1. Aren’t hot dogs already cooked?

        2. Hot dogs are meat?

    2. The joke I heard hanging out with the electronic ol’ timers: GE = Garbage Enclosed

  2. Nothing. Left. To. Cut.

    1. Is Michelle O. a salaried government employee or is she one of those unpaid interns that the government gets to use but nobody else can?

    2. Well, he did cut the chicken.

  3. Did it have a setting for “Gremlin”? Possibly under “Stripe”?

  4. I can’t wait until our appliances start talking to us and ‘nudging’ us towards acceptable behavior.

    The oven: I’m sorry, but you have eaten too much cooked food this week. You will not be able to turn me on again until next week. Please eat your raw broccoli now.

    The fridge: I’m sorry, but that’s another 6 pack of beer you’re trying to put into me this week. You’ve had your limit. I will remain locked until next week.

    1. The fridge: I’m sorry, but that’s another 6 pack of beer you’re trying to put into me this week.

      I don’t think William Perry ever spoke those words.

      1. *narrows gaze, folds up Bears shirt and puts back onto shelf*

    2. Yeah right. You want to see armed revolt, take away the people’s beer.

      1. Didn’t happen in 1920.

        1. Are you kidding or just ignorant? Gang wars ran rampant during prohibition. That’s like saying drug prohibition didn’t foster incredible violence.

          1. Oh for piss’s sake, that’s not rebellion by any common definition.

    3. It’s that kind of common sense thinking that’s going to take you places. You’re hired! /Flotus

    4. “The oven: I’m sorry, but you have eaten too much cooked food this week. You will not be able to turn me on again until next week. Please eat your raw broccoli now.”

      And if you try to turn me on without my written and notarized consent I will be sure to sue your ass in a kangaroo court and send you off the gulag.

  5. Ugh, ugh. I don’t want government buttons on my appliances.

  6. Big Brother is cooking for you.

    1. Myplate.gov is people!

      1. You mean they have a special-time-and-temperature setting for Soylent Green? It’s GREEN and blessed by Al Gore, so it MUST be OK!

  7. MyPlate.gov? You know, that’s not too bad. They just want to help stupid me cook ground beef in my microwave (for some reason).

    ChooseMyPlate.gov? Fuck off, slaver!

  8. Girls, to achieve maximum pleasure using your Hitachi “massager”, please dial in the setting via MyOrgasm.gov

  9. Looks tasty, but it needs some government cheese!

  10. Eating microwaved chicken, what are you, a masochist?

  11. A microwave only needs two buttons, “”+30 secs” and “cancel.” Anything beyond that is just frills.

  12. I almost can’t believe this is real.

  13. MyPlate.gov isn’t an actual site. If you try to go there you’ll get an error message. It’s http://www.ChooseMyPlate.gov.

    So they didn’t even set up MyPlate.gov with just a redirect? Is some other government agency squatting on the domain? What a bunch of incompetents.

    1. You say that almost as if surprised.

  14. At times it’s difficult to convey how regulators’ theories don’t quite match up to their desired outcomes. This article sums it up perfectly! I need to thank the government more often for spending my tax-payer dollars so frivolously.

  15. I would never cook meat in the microwave.
    I’m a little disgusted that you stooped to that culinary level, even just as an experiment.
    What a waste of perfectly good chicken.

  16. Some say the First Lady is a fella. Some say all the best chefs are men. Somewhere on some level it must all make sense to someone somehow.

    1. She’s not a fella. She’s a wookie. Get it straight.

      1. I used to think getting some nookie from a wookie would be kinda kinky. Now that I know that the Intergalactic Empress is a wookie, I am grossed out by the whole idea… I still think, though, that a threesome between Hillary-Boob, Billary-Boob, and me… Now THAT would be frickin’ AWESOME!!! If’n I can arrange it, y’all is invited to watch, maybe even partake in sloppy seconds…

  17. Ah, the “Internet Of Things”.

    SO IT BEGINS.

  18. It was time-consuming, redundant and a little bit strange.

    The government takes something that makes near-instant meals possible and turns it into bureaucracy.

    1. The government takes something that makes near-instant meals possible and turns it into bureaucracy.

      Not to mention using the latest and greatest technology to make fire seem like the better option.

  19. my co-worker’s mother-in-law makes $84 /hr on the internet . She has been without work for eight months but last month her paycheck was $21951 just working on the internet for a few hours. check out the post right here….
    ??????? http://www.paygazette.com

  20. my classmate’s mother-in-law makes $70 /hour on the computer . She has been out of work for eight months but last month her income was $13415 just working on the computer for a few hours. see this………….

    http://www.Jobs-spot.com

    1. So, why are you posting this and not making all this money yourself?

    2. 13415/70=191.6/4=47.9 hours/week

      Not quite what I have in mind when I think of as “a few hours”.

      As a fulltime job with 48 hour weeks, $160k/year doesn’t sound terrible, BUT I don’t imagine this kind of job comes with any benefits like vacation, insurance, or retirement.

  21. What I’m wondering is about the button right below. How do you get the steam in the oven to cook it?

  22. I can’t wait to see what the DOT / GM partnership will bring us!

    I’m thinking that they could make a button that activates a menu where you can tell your car what type of speech zone you are in and it will tell you how fast you can go in that zone. For example, you tell it you are in a “residential district” in Oregon, so you select those two items in the menu, then it will ask you what kind of vehicle you are driving and then you just need to affirm that you are legally able to drive in Oregon and that you are not impaired and then it will tell you to drive no faster than 25mph.

    Now that would be a good use of tax dollars!

    1. Oops, I meant SPEED zone, not SPEECH.

      The Speech Zone app is being developed by the Department of Education in partnership with the DNC to show students where they can and cannot exercise their first amendment rights on campus.

  23. This button is a perfect encapsulation of what’s wrong with America. The citizenry is too stupid to know how to cook, too stupid to know what to cook and the government is too stupid to even get the website correct on the button that is supposed to help you cook the food you probably shouldn’t even be eating because you are too obese.

    Sigh.

  24. my friend’s sister makes $83 an hour on the laptop . She has been fired for ten months but last month her payment was $12435 just working on the laptop for a few hours
    Find Out More. ???????????? http://www.jobsfish.com

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