BIRDSEYE STEAMFRESH VEGETABLES aka my frozen pea adventure

At my local grocery these are the bags usually on sale, so I usually buy them. Although they’re made for microwaving, I’ve never done that, even though I have a microwave. I bring them to boil in water to cover, drain and use.

I’m a big fan of frozen vegetables. Not the ones in sauces, just the plain veggies. Besides, I don’t think anybody even sells veggies in animal-free sauces. Do they? I’ve never seen them. I can make my own sauces.

A lot of people young, old and in between aren’t too keen on using a stove or boiling water in a pot and cooking something in it. There’s a big market for convenience when it comes to home cooked anything. When I first rented an apartment in a senior building, that didn’t turn out to be for only seniors, the leasing agent told me there were two types of people in the building: those who have microwaves and those who have toaster ovens.

So I can see why prepared frozen foods, that are either microwavable or toaster oven friendly, have soared.

Regarding the frozen vegetables, I was hesitant to microwave them, thinking that the veggies would come out all shriveled up, the peas especially. Boiling them for a short time assured they would plump up and stay plumped up.

Today, for some reason, I decided to try the microwave approach when needing peas for a salad I was making.

I take the peas out of the freezer. Look them over, the package, and what to do with them. I see a dotted line that I don’t know what it’s for and frankly I still don’t.

But on the back were the instructions. I wear reading glasses and I had them on and I could not read the print. It was too small and so bold that the boldness made the letters appear to all run together. I’m thinking this is BIRDSEYE company, they’re BIG, why such sloppy labeling? What’s a birds eye view even mean, I start to think? Why did they name their company birdseye? Up close? Can a bird see in multiple directions – like 360 degrees? I don’t know, but this bird can’t read this package.

I left the kitchen to look for Steve’s magnifying glass and I still couldn’t read it. I reached for my iphone that has a magnifier and that magnified it too much. So I positioned it like I was going to take a picture and slowly magnified the print using my fingers to widen the screen and bring it closer, so I could finally read it.

This was not going to be easy. Okay, so I don’t pierce the bag. I lay the frozen bag flat and even on the carousel. I look for the timing and it gets tricky. I have to know the wattage of my microwave. Are you kidding? I go over and start looking on the top, the sides, the inside and find nothing. So if wattage is so important, then why don’t the manufacturers put it where a person can see it?

My microwave is on a shelf and the cord goes through a hole in the back of the shelf to the outlet. I would have to move that entire case, which weighs a ton, unplug the microwave, pull the cord through the hole, so I could lift the microwave from the shelf onto the counter so I could look at the back of the machine for the wattage number.

Not a chance was I going to do that. I am an extraordinarily patient person and will work a problem seemingly endlessly to the finish or any project that requires methodical actions over a period of time, I’m your gal. But not on this, for a bag of peas on sale??

Then I thought maybe it’s not even on the back of the machine. Maybe it’s in the instruction booklet that came with it. I’m thinking I’m not looking for a booklet I put somewhere 4 or 5 years ago. This is ridiculous. I go over to a drawer that holds some booklets of appliances along with a bunch of other stuff and towels. The microwave booklet wasn’t there. It must be older than I thought. I did clean out that drawer though. Put the towels someplace else.

I wasn’t going to go searching though my files looking for it. It takes too long. I’ve already spent way too much time. But if I get it wrong, that’s the only bag of peas I have and I need them for this salad recipe.

Yet, I still wanted to try to microwave them and see for myself how they come out.

All the while I’m costing out the length of time to bring a little water to boil on an electric stove and heat the peas till plump compared to 4-5 minutes on high in a microwave. Five minutes in a microwave compared to five minutes on an electric stove.

I didn’t care. It’s probably close in kilowatts used.

I put them in for 4 minutes, not knowing the wattage and they came out fine. The peas were not shriveled up and they tasted great.

Later I needed another bag of frozen mixed vegetables and decided I would just thaw them on the counter. But then changed my mind and decided to microwave them for 5 minutes.

The bag deflated, and it’s supposed to puff up, so I don’t know what happened. Maybe because they were partially thawed. And the peas shriveled up too. They were still soft and delicious, so the shriveled peas didn’t harden. That’s good.

After my first round of cooking and after I finished my notes and cleaned the kitchen I went looking through the files for that microwave instruction booklet. Found it. 700 watts.

I mean, who remembers these numbers? It’s like passwords, there are so many, how can one mind keep them all front and center in their multiple memory banks? They can’t. So why do manufacturers think they can is my question?

Put the wattage on the front. The same with serial numbers and product numbers – on the front please! Don’t make people go searching for it, unless part of your plan and design is to tick them off. My next question is why would you want to do that if you want them to buy your product again?

So what’s a birdseye view mean?

Definition of bird’seye view. 1 : a view from a high angle as if seen by a bird in flight. 2 : an overall or cursory look at something

I guess only owls can see 360 degrees. Well they can rotate their heads 270 degrees and see 360 degrees.

BIRDSEYE needs a redo on their back label. All that black block with fine white print is not good. Too much bold. Look at other packaging and see for yourself what’s easy to read.

BIRDSEYE isn’t the only problem you know. Some of the print on some labels is so small and so light that no one, even with perfect vision could be expected to read it. So what’s the point? If by law or your own design printed instructions are required, then why not make them readable?

  • Even upon uploading the label to this post, one would think because it is enlarged by the very nature of the size of the screen, that it would be easier to read. But it’s still not easy.

Published by Sharon Lee Davies-Tight, artist, writer/author, animal-free chef, activist

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