I can’t be the first person who has thought of this.

I went to make a grilled cheese sandwich, but didn’t have any soft butter. Now, the Thing To Do in this situation is let the butter sit out for a little while in the butter dish so it gets nice and soft. But that kind of defeats the whole purpose of a grilled cheese sandwich, which is supposed to be a food item you can prepare and consume in about ten minutes. If I wanted to wait an hour to eat, I’d go to a restaurant.

And trying to soften butter in the microwave never works. Like, ever. Even if you just pop it in for a few seconds it comes out all melted and uneven; half of it unusable because it’s still too hard, the other half unusable because you can’t spread liquid butter on with a knife. And then the melted butter re-congeals in the dish, and that’s bad news for your next grilled cheese. It’s just a bad situation all around.

Of course, you can soften the butter if you play around with the power settings on the microwave. After some experimentation today I found that my particular microwave can perfectly soften enough butter for a sandwich if you zap it at 60% power for 15 seconds. Your microwave is probably different of course, and it’s not like most people even know their microwaves have power levels to begin with.

You know what your microwave does have though? Fancy buttons! There’s a “defrost” button, a “popcorn” button, an “add minute” button… you see where I’m going with this.

Why is there no “soften butter” button? Surely the microwave builders can run their science-tests and figure out the exact setting required to soften a standard-sized stick of refrigerated butter. Every person in the country has had this problem at one point or another, and every one of us is too lazy to just leave the butter out properly. Hell, the argument could be made that if we weren’t lazy we wouldn’t need to own microwaves in the first place!

So yeah. “Soften butter” button. Write your congressman.

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7 comments to I can’t be the first person who has thought of this.

  • Gredlen

    My favorite thing about the popcorn button is the fact that every single bag of popcorn I’ve ever microwaved has explicitly said not to use the popcorn button.

  • But what about using spray butter?!

  • Kayin

    Man, I just throw the hard butter in the skillet and fry the grilled cheese in the butter. Works perfectly for me, though I never ever have soft butter.

  • EtherealMoon

    I thought most people substituted mayonnaise for butter for this very reason?

  • ThricebornPhoenix

    One day, we will have microwave ovens that we can can configure to have whatever settings we want (they will be downloaded from the internet, and our bank accounts will be charged). Until then, we must fall back on experimentation, as our primitive ancestors did when they were learning how to cook mammoth steak. And people who don’t bother to learn how to use the devices they purchase are just plain out of luck.

  • Elfir

    I get the “spreadable butter” with canola oil, which is always a good texture for spreading right out of the fridge. For baking, of course, there’s no choice but to wait till it reaches that magic consistency…

  • Kaiterra

    Berlap convinced me to start using Promise instead of butter. That comes out of the fridge nice and soft.

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