Created by Black
Red loves Thanksgiving, turkey, and TV dinners, but last year she never expected that they would somehow be connected (thanks to Black!) to a history lesson. This year, even though it will be a more "normal" Thanksgiving dinner, we decided to rerun the column, while Red can't help but wonder if Black still prefers sushi over turkey …

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I know it can't be avoided, but I feel bad that Mom's spending Thanksgiving alone, but given the coronavirus it can't be helped.


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Unfortunately, there are many people in that situation this year. Myself included.


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Please. You only "do" Thanksgiving because it's expected of you. Unlike Mom, you don't even want me to make you a Thanksgiving dinner care package.


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Not a fan of turkey – but did you know that TV dinners were created because of Thanksgiving?



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Sorry, but you can't convince me that someone thought lonely people would want to sit in front of their TVs eating Thanksgiving dinner. Or are you going to tell me it's related to all those televised football games?


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Neither. Swanson, the frozen food company, had greatly overestimated demand for Thanksgiving turkeys in 1953, and in desperation put out a call for ideas to its employees. A salesman suggested they turn the turkeys into frozen dinners using three-compartment aluminum-foil trays similar to what airlines used for in-flight food service.


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I used to love TV dinners as a kid! My favorite was the fried chicken. But as long as there were mashed potatoes, I was happy. Although, I remember them having four compartments – a meat, two veggies, and dessert. Usually apple cobbler.


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They added desserts in 1960. But, admit it, you loved that the different foods did not touch each other. And, I bet you ate the food one compartment at a time.


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Of course, I did. But does it really matter why I loved them? And since you've become a TV dinner expert, what inspired them to call them "TV" dinners?


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Marketing. Frozen meals was not a new idea, it just never gained traction. But, this was 1953 – television was a new phenomenon. So, tying the two together was brilliant and TV dinners quickly became a huge market.


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That's an understatement as I remember eating them a lot growing up.


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It was a major convenience for women – whether or not they held a job outside the home. Although, eating dinner in front of the television may have contributed to the decline of family meals together. But that is another topic altogether.


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Well, Thanksgiving's supposed to be celebrated with family. And with a big turkey!


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This year Thanksgiving will be different. And, I plan to celebrate with sushi.

P.S. – Black loves to do research, and while looking for an image of Swanson TV dinners, came across this wonderful television ad from 1955 for Swanson TV dinners. Boy, how times have changed.

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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So, I had to smile when Sawyer came to visit us at Mom’s estate sale. And even though I had seen her only a few hours before, I gave her a hug.


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Yes, you make it rather obvious that you are warm and fuzzy. And, a hugger.


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But what made me laugh was when she greeted you by acknowledging that you weren’t a hugger. Now there’s an understatement.


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No, it is merely a fact.


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I never realized, though, just how much both Natasha and Sawyer are like you. Although they begrudgingly let me hug them, they’d both be just as happy with a handshake. If that.


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Maybe a fist bump?
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Credit: Photo by Maha1450 on iStock


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I know you celebrate Labor Day by just, well, laboring away on Red & Black. But that’s how you celebrate most holidays. For me, I always enjoy celebrating the last three-day weekend of the summer, although the challenge will be deciding what to do this Labor Day. Escape to a movie (ok, my passion’s the popcorn), go to Dunkin’ for a leisurely coffee (it always brings back memories of growing up in New York), read, or climb into bed and watch old episodes of Downton Abbey. Or, maybe “all of the above”!

But before you say anything, yes, I’m well aware that today’s more than a day off and a potential “cut-off” for wearing white (😊). It’s about honoring American workers and all the many contributions they’ve made and continue to make.


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I know you love history, but do you know the history of Labor Day includes violence and a deadly railroad strike? And, was a way for politicians to “prove” they cared about workers? It is too bad people do not typically walk around thanking others for the work they do (imagine the impact if we did), but maybe you will get inspired by these Labor Day quotes.

And, in terms of me “laboring” today. Of course, I am. I look forward to the quiet time of weekends, especially long ones, to work on strategic projects needing large blocks of uninterrupted time or one of my passion projects. To you, it might appear as if I am “working”, but I am doing what makes me happy. Although tomorrow morning, you may not be happy when you find all my emails that will be waiting in your inbox.


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You know how I like to blah-blah-blah, barely letting anyone get a word in edgewise?


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Is this a rhetorical question? Or, a trick question?


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Neither, I leave those to you. And, you know how things happen to us that seem accidental but probably aren’t coincidences?


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Is there a point to these questions? If so, can you please get to it?


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As you often tell me, “Patience, grasshopper.” Although I know that’s not your strong suit. Especially not in conversations. Anyway, the other day you sent me a video about stutterers. Well, that same day, I happened to speak to someone who stuttered, and it was just what I needed.


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The video? Or, the conversation?
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