Words & Banter

Turkeys & TVs


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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.

Photo by OnTheRunPhoto for iStock


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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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Photo by bhofack2 for iStock

Popcorn! Quite simply, it’s one of my absolute favorite things. Starting when I was a child, whenever I went to the movies, I’d get (and finish!) the largest bucket of popcorn available. And I always thought movie popcorn was far superior to what you could make at home … until a recent trip to visit a close friend in Tennessee, and she introduced me to Great Northern Popcorn (I promise this isn’t a paid ad). Now I’m addicted to it as I can make it on my cooktop. I know Black would be more interested in the science of what makes popcorn pop, but I prefer to just be obsessive about my popcorn …

Popcorn. Just the thought of popcorn makes me smile, makes me want to indulge, makes me happy. And I’m guessing my popcorn obsession makes Black roll her eyes (although she might admit it can be a healthy snack). However, plenty of people must love popcorn as much as I do. Why else would there be a National Popcorn Day?!

Over the past few years, the pandemic posed challenges that none of us could’ve foreseen (and I’ll never forget the dedication of the front-line workers or make light of the sacrifices so many had to make). But part of me has to laugh at the irony because it ended my seemingly easy “escape” from the stresses of life – going to the movies and enjoying the largest bucket of popcorn – when I needed it the most.

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


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You’re going to roll your eyes, but lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about myself.


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That is totally out of character, unless you are thinking of New Year’s resolutions.


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Actually, no. For decades, my priorities, and therefore my life, have always been focused on the girls and Mom. But that’s all changing. And I’m not sure how to “change” with it.
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