Words & Banter

Tune In Again For … Turkeys & TVs

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.

Image by farakos on iStock

Even though Red’sthe warm and fuzzy one and Black’s extremely pragmatic, we both think of hearts on Valentine’s Day. Just not in quite the same way …



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Happy Valentine’s Day. And before you say anything, yes, I know you don’t celebrate holidays, so just humor me.


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But, I do “celebrate” February being American Heart Month since heart disease is the leading cause of death – for both men and women.


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Gee, that’s one way to turn a “fun” holiday into a real downer. Today’s supposed to be about letting people you love and care about know that you’re thinking of them. Think Hallmark cards, squishy teddy bears, chocolate hearts.
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Photo by OnTheRunPhoto for iStock

Are you taking the Dry January challenge and not having any alcohol for the month? Or, maybe you plan to drink less (but not nothing), which makes it Damp January. Or, maybe this is the first you’ve heard of it. (If so, there’s still time to start!)

Well, nothing much has changed from our approach to Dry January last year, except the one who had started drinking more last year is continuing the trend …



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I keep getting emails about where to go for mocktails. I know alcohol-free cocktails, like Virgin Margaritas, have been around for a while, but I’d never heard that term before. Do you think it has to do with New Year’s resolutions?


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It can if any of your resolutions are to lose weight, save money, sleep better. Or, drink less. Psychologically, January is the month when we “reset”, so a UK-based organization, Alcohol Change UK , started Dry January , where you abstain from drinking alcohol.


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Perfect timing since many people shop, eat, and drink more than usual over the holidays.


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I know you used to drink a glass of Cold Duck on New Year’s Eve, a tradition going back to our childhood, but that hardly counts as drinking. But, I have always wondered why you rarely drink, but never asked.
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It’s January, and everyone’s probably tired of reading about New Year’s resolutions.

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Not me. Since I never make them, I never feel the need to read about them.

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Of course, you don’t. So, what should we write about?

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How about that we celebrate some of our favorite things in January?

So many “National Days” in January are fun (we’ve written about them over the years) and remind us of some of our favorite things. (Can you pick which are Red’s favorite holidays and which are Black’s?) And whether or not you make resolutions, it’s always important to have a sense of humor and enjoy the simpler things in life …

Answer: Red’s favorites are Bagels, Popcorn, and Hugging. Black’s are Clean Desk, Bagels, and Backward.