Microwave meal

From ArticleWorld

A Microwave meal is used to denote a frozen meal that is completely cooked and requires very few or no extra ingredients. As the name suggests, it is put into a microwave oven to be defrozen and then heated. The meal is ready to eat. It requires no special cooking. It is a convenience meal.

Microwave meals are known by many other names. Some of the more popular ones are ready meal, frozen dinner and TV dinner (as it is mostly eaten while watching television). It is readily available across stores because of its increasing demand. It requires minimal efforts and hence very apt if one is short of time. The microwave meal usually comes packaged in a plastic cover and enclosed in a box. It just needs to be opened, the plastic cover removed and the entire meal put into the microwave oven. It gets heated in a matter of minutes and is ready for consumption. They are a convenient alternative to cooking meals but are usually more expensive.

An example of an Indian meal of chicken tikka masala would consist of rice, chicken and some other dish packaged in a compartmentalized tray. A Chinese meal may consist of some garlic chicken, noodles and rice in a similar tray. Usually these trays are microwave safe and so can be heated without transferring into other dishes. This reduces hassles of cleaning up post the meal, which is a positive for opting for such meals. Before microwave ovens were introduced in the market, these frozen dinners were packed in aluminum tray to be heated in conventional ovens.

The process of freezing food may degrade its taste to some extent. This is compensated by adding extra salt and fat while preparing. They also may contain preservatives like BHT to keep them suitable for consumption for longer periods. Microwave meals are a less nutritious option as compared to freshly cooked food.

The largest consumer of frozen meals in Europe is the United Kingdom. This country spends about 5 million pounds per day on such meals. The first National Frozen Food Industry Convention and Exposition held in San Francisco, USA was attended by about 7000 people.