Packaged Frozen Meal Preparation Requires…Food Thermometer?

When I throw a frozen meal in my messenger bag on my way out the door for work, it’s because I don’t have the time or the facilities for complicated meal preparation at work. Marie Callender’s may not be aiming their new “Pasta al Dente” frozen meals at the key lunch-at-work demographic.

Reader Aaron in Portland brought one of the meals to work, and noticed that the instructions asked for something that he didn’t exactly keep in his desk. He writes:

There are 5 steps to cooking pasta dish. Step 5 reads:

“CHECK that product is cooked thoroughly. Internal temperature needs to reach 165° F as measured by a food thermometer in several spots.”

There’s even a cute illustration of a food thermometer.

I’m at work, Marie. Do you really think I’ve got a food thermometer in my desk? Of course not.

There are two possibilities here: Either a) the microwave pasta I just enjoyed is more truly dangerous than the raw sushi I’m going to have for dinner, or b) the lawyers are so paranoid that someone might eat a half-cooked frozen dinner that it’s worth pretending your customers have food thermometers at work.

So do I need to keep a thermometer in my desk along with my plastic forks? Maybe a colander, some spatulas, and a crock pot, too.