September 10

National TV Dinner Day


“TV dinners aren’t as good as they used to be.  The classic meals sat in a foil tray, the food all in proper compartments.  You heated them in a real oven, so everything got crisp — not the mushy stuff that comes out of a microwave.

“My favorite was a fried chicken entrée that also came with a hunk of chocolate cake in the top middle compartment.  The company got rid of the cake when they shifted to microwave, and after that the chicken skin was like a wet paper towel draped over each drumstick.

“With the ‘classic oven’ meals, you didn’t have to do any fancy preparation.  No heating half-way through then stirring or quarter-turning, lifting and replacing the plastic film.  With the foil meals, you just stuck them in the oven and waited until they were done.  They came out almost as tasty as you’d get at the corner cafeteria.

“None of those peas or carrots jumping the barrier and mixing with the meatloaf gravy.  Everything in its proper place, I say.”

The seated gentleman keeps talking as the attendant carries a tray down the line of chairs.  He’s the oldest survivor on the ship, so the staff tends to humor him.  The other passengers, however, have grown weary of his nostalgia.

The attendant hands over a plastic disk of small, lidded compartments.  Various initials identify each of the sections.

In his time at the nursing home, the old man has seen enough of these organizers. “My pills,” he says.

Next to him, a teenage boy smiles.  “That’s your dinner, Pops.  Protein under the ‘P’ tab, dairy under ‘D.’  ‘GV’ stands for green vegetable.”  He can’t stop himself from adding, “No stirring or flipping.  They’re all in separate compartments, just the way you like it.”