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I've done this many times: buy food in a plastic box covered by a very thin plastic film. The instructions say simply:

  1. stab the film with a fork, several times
  2. microwave it
  3. eat it

I was very skeptical about the first step, because the fork makes such miniature holes in the film. I've tested this out myself of course, I left out the first step, however, the food was much cooler than when the first step is properly executed. Can someone explain this to me? Does it have to do something with releasing the pressure of the air inside as it gets hotter? Because the little holes couldn't have caused that much of a difference in insulation of the food, right?

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The holes allow the steam created to be released gradually.

If they were not put in there would be a possibility of a sudden messy explosion, or someone getting burned by a sudden release of steam when they opened the lid.

Why your food didn't seems as hot might need more 'experiments' to decide.

Microwave ovens create hot and cold spots in the food, the heat then disperses. Perhaps by chance you eat some from a colder area than before.

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  • $\begingroup$ Oh I see! It's true that I haven't repeated the experiment. So the holes have actually no connection to the temperature (at least, not theoretically). $\endgroup$ Aug 16, 2021 at 11:19
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    $\begingroup$ @ Captain Trojan that could be the case, perhaps you'll post again if you have more data, Bon Apetit! $\endgroup$ Aug 16, 2021 at 13:13
  • $\begingroup$ In at least one product I microwave, the instructions say to remove the plastic film and the film is pierced with a pattern of tiny holes... $\endgroup$
    – DJohnM
    Aug 16, 2021 at 16:14

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