TechnoFILE is copyright and a registered trademark © ® of
Pandemonium Productions.
All rights reserved.
E-mail us Here!
Panasonic Inverter Microwave

Inverter Technology Makes for Friendlier Cooking

Panasonic Microwave Fast and Sophisticated

by Jim Bray

Microwaving your food may have taken a whole new direction.

Okay, that may be a bit of an overstatement, but I've just been messing around with one of Panasonic's nukers that use what they call Inverter technology, and the results have been nothing less than mouth watering.

The model they sent me was a full size (Panasonic calls it "luxury size"), 2.2 cubic foot microwave that's easily big enough for the largest casserole dishes we have; it would probably even hold a Lhasa Apso, if you were disposed to such disgusting canine-related displays.

Handsome it is, too, with its stainless steel exterior.

Anyway, this $250 culinary creature, model NN-T990SA, is one of Panasonic's Genius line, which might explain why it's so smart. My family's older Panasonic is adequate, but compared to this new one it must have been from the company's Moron line.

Featuring 1,300 watts of power and a big 16" turntable, the nuker's real claim to fame is Inverter cooking. To quote Panasonic "With the energy-saving Inverter technology, foods defrost evenly and 49% faster, and they no longer undercook in the center or have hard-overcooked edges. Even delicate foods can simmer without overcooking on surface or edges." So theoretically there'll be no hot or cold spots and no disgusting clumps in your meal.

I didn't actually test the 49% figure, but the appliance is definitely fast and powerful.

And it appears to work as advertised. I started off with one of the recipes in the owner's manual to see what was up. It was for a tuna/pasta casserole (we live life to the fullest in our household!) and not only was it as delicious as a casserole can be, it was cooked evenly all over and through, just like the ads say. Fast, too!

Now, I didn't use the microwave to actually cook the pasta; I'm not that brave! Rather, I cooked it the usual way, in a pot on the stove, then mixed the whole shebang together and stuck it into the nuker. From there, it was just a matter of pressing the "Dinner" button until the abbreviation for "Casserole" came up, pressing "Start," and then wandering off to find a cat to harass while supper cooked.

I was so impressed I tried my late mother's macaroni and cheese casserole next, though again I cooked the pasta and made the sauce the normal way, and the Panasonic cooked the resulting mix beautifully in about ten minutes.

Even better, my wife was late coming home from winning the family bread that day, so I had a chance to use the microwave's "keep warm" feature. I'm happy to report it works just fine, so rather than offering a crestfallen spouse a cold hunk of orange-colored stuff, we sat down to a steaming meal about half an hour after it was cooked. And it was still as if it were just freshly made, with no sign of crusting or overcooking.

The control panel's a tad intimidating, but if you keep the manual on hand you'll get by okay.

Panasonic's One-Touch Sensor Cooking features 18 Categories of food, including breakfast, side dish, dinner, and lunch/snack. When cooking the casseroles, I didn't even have to tell it how many servings I had made (good thing, 'cause the rest of the world's idea of a serving doesn't always match mine); I just found that casserole setting and pressed Start.

Defrosting works really well, too. You press the Inverter Turbo Defrost button and key in the approximate weight of the chunk of ice you want to turn into a kitchen masterpiece, then hit start. When I used this for hot dog buns that in my own microwave tend to come out looking like sections of a baseball bat, this Inverter thingy really did the job.

Let's see, you also get One-Touch Sensor Reheat, that abovementioned Keep Warm Key, which has 5 Categories of food it'll refuse to ruin including stew, gravy, casseroles, mashed potatoes and pie.

Naturally, it also does popcorn and you can manually set the time and power settings if you want.

Unfortunately, my time with the Panasonic was all too short and I didn't have a chance to try as wide a variety of delicacies as I'd have liked, but this definitely appears to be a microwave to be reckoned with.

Now you're cookin'!

Jim Bray's technology columns are distributed by the TechnoFILE and Mochila Syndicates. Copyright Jim Bray.


Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think













Support TechnoFile
via Paypal

TechnoFILE's E-letter
We're pleased to offer
our FREE private,
private E-mail service.
It's the "no brainer"
way to keep informed.

Our Privacy Policy

January 31, 2006