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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I can’t believe it’s already May, which means hot and humid weather is just around the corner. All I can say is … ugh.


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Not a scientific term, but descriptive nonetheless. And, I hate to break the news to you, but the science of climate change and global warming means summers will keep getting hotter.


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I can remember growing up in New York and summers being hot, but not like now. Of course, it didn’t help that Mommy didn’t run the air conditioning until it got into the 90s.
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Photo by Epiximages on iStock


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I appreciate that bullet points may not be the typical approach to Mother’s Day, but it seems appropriate to me …
  • Be sensitive to those people whose mothers may no longer be with us, especially given how many have been lost to COVID
  • If you have lost a mother, remember they are always with you – in your heart and in your memories
  • Remember Mother’s Day also includes all those “unofficial moms” and “mother figures” who are like second (or replacement) moms
  • And, last but not least, If you’re a mom, try to enjoy the day by doing something for yourself, as today may be the one day you can get away with it


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This year I write about Mother’s Day with a heavy heart and still much raw emotion, as our mom passed in December. My pragmatic side (yes, that’s usually Black’s area although she did sound somewhat warm and fuzzy above) knows that she had been 94 and led a full life, but that really doesn’t make it any less sad or fill the emptiness. But I find myself, when I least expect it and triggered by the most unexpected things, finding comfort in wonderful memories. And although Black’s first bullet point hits too close to home for me, I’ll try my best to focus on the other bullets.

Wishing all moms a very Happy Mother’s Day!

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

At speaking engagements, Black will often ask, “Who likes math?” followed by, “Who likes money?” As you can imagine, a lot more hands go up in the air for the second question than the first. But imagine if she asked if money made them laugh. It’s probably safe to say no one would say, “Yes.” Although they’d be wrong because people laugh (and learn) at basic, but potentially life-changing, stories about Red and how, when it came to money, she was clueless and intimidated.

It could be the story of Red putting her theater degree to good use as she freaked out about vocabulary. Especially since she was a straight-A student and avid reader who prided herself on her vocabulary. (If words set her off, Black could only imagine the “scene” that would have occurred if she had asked Red this handful of questions.) But Red’s financial crisis did prompt the ever-pragmatic Black to envision the power of a sitcom with entertaining money episodes because … Money IS A Laughing Matter!

Want to read other columns? Here’s a list.