Thursday, May 19, 2011

TV Dinners

You’ve got to be pretty old to know what TV Dinners are. They are now called Frozen Meals. My mother was a freak about family dinner (gee, I’ve never blogged that before). We’d eat every day at 5:30 and it would be homemade food. Nothing from a box or jar. Granted, we had easy stuff like tacos once a week, but there was never boxed mac and cheese, or spaghetti sauce from a jar. On special occasions, we were allowed to have TV Dinners. I can still hear her saying, “Do you know what kind of shit is in there?” But we adored those meals. And we'd burn our mouths on that dessert every time. 

Good old fashioned TV Dinner.
Who didn't eat the dessert first? 
Modern-day frozen meal. YAY

My personal favorite was a Morton’s Chicken Pot Pie. I remember taking that frozen rock out of the freezer and cooking it in the oven for an hour. But I never lasted that hour. I’d pull that sucker out early and dig in, the bottom was usually still cold. But oh, that pastry, the gravy, even the vegetables. I always put the meat aside for the dog though. Mostly because my mother had once worked in a factory that cut up the bits of chicken for canned soup and would tell us, “You know what kind of shit meat they use?” I avoid the meat in most processed foods just having heard that all my life.
My beloved Chicken Pot Pie. Notice they've changed the
wording on the packaging. 

I can remember my mother going away to visit her mother. My sister and I were left alone with my dad. We’d drop her off at the train station and hit the commissary. It felt like we wandered those aisles for hours and we bought all the things she wouldn’t let us eat: Spam, Tuna Helper, Hamburger Helper, Chef Boyardee, an entire BAG of individually wrapped pieces of grape-flavored Bubble Yum. Then we’d have serious discussions about what we were going to eat first. The only meal I remember specifically was the Tuna Helper. And it’s not the meal I remember, it’s the after-effects. I don’t know if there was something wrong with the way my dad cooked it, or if our delicate constitutions weren’t used to all those preservatives, but we all got sick. All three of us… living in military housing with only one bathroom. It wasn’t pretty. None of us have ever again eaten Tuna Helper. Nor have we gorged to that extent. I do however, invite my dad over for fish sticks when my mother is traveling. We weren’t ever allowed to have those either.

It’s surprising then, that I have decided to follow my doctor’s advice and rely on frozen meals (that’s what we call TV Dinners now!) so that I can better track my caloric intake. For the last week and a half, I’ve been having one of these meals for lunch and sometimes one for dinner too. Since I am the world’s pickiest eater, it’s slim pickins’ on food choices. I won’t eat anything considered meat, like the chicken or turkey, but Salisbury Steak and meatloaf are ok, because that’s shit meat ground up to be processed looking. If I were to open up a box of Chicken Pecan, I would expect a gourmetish meal with decent meat. Instead you get a rubber slab disguised with some kind of sauce. When I eat the meat loaf, my expectations are met.

Then there’s the other foods I won’t eat. I don’t eat cheese, so there goes 90% of the frozen meals right there. They put cheese on EVERRYTHING to fool people into believing the meal has taste. They put cheese on Butternut Ravioli and even salmon. I would never ever desecrate a piece of salmon with cheese. Just ain’t right. I don’t like many green vegetables either, but when you limit your caloric intake to this extent, you will be so hungry that you will chow down on those frozen-then-microwaved green beans like they are bon bons.

Stop reading now if you already think I’m a princess bitch and mean to EN, this will seal the deal for you. He still does the grocery shopping and I have added these meals to the weekly list. Because he is patient and kind, he will spend all kinds of time reading ingredients and trying to choose a variety of frozen meals for me. We text back and forth and he sends me different options and I’ll either give a thumbs up or “That’s fucking bogus. Do you really think I’d eat that?” I’m beginning to think he has a secret deal with the grocery store. He’s probably in the frozen food aisle, sitting in a lawn chair drinking beers while we do this.

But the news is good. I was down nearly four pounds last week and this week is looking good too. 

Ice Princess

No comments:

Post a Comment