TV Dinners

The boys and I love to watch Masterchef together. On a recent episode, the contestants were given old school TV dinners and asked to recreate them into an elevated meal. Silas and Davis immediately asked, “What’s a TV dinner?” Now when I was growing up, my mom was an excellent southern cook. People loved to come over on Sunday after church for some fried chicken and biscuits. She also cooked every night of the week, except Fridays when we went out to eat. But, occasionally, we did have a TV dinner. My favorite was Salisbury Steak with mashed potatoes accompanied by some sort of dessert. I figured that my children could not grow up without at least having this American culinary experience once. I told them that we would all go to the grocery store and select our own TV dinners. When we got there, I first of all prayed that no one would see me purchasing TV dinners. (Tracy later told me that I was such a snob.) The boys excitedly perused the TV dinner case. Silas chose a meal by Kid Cuisine which included chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, corn, and chocolate pudding. Davis chose basically the same meal made by Banquet, but his was missing the dessert. I reluctantly placed the meals in the buggy purposely without reading the list of ingredients. I moved over the Stouffer’s section and selected one Salisbury Steak meal and one Meatloaf meal for Tracy and myself. After several days of having these “meals” in my freezer, the boys finally wore me down and last Friday night, we broke out the TV dinners and ate them while watching a movie. The boys loved their meals, claiming it was some of the best food they had ever eaten. Davis even tried the meatloaf and thought it was great! I was dismayed, feeling as if I had failed them as a mother. Everyone polished off their food except Silas who left a bite of his pudding. Davis wanted to know if he could have it, so I scooped up the last bite for him. After swallowing, Davis said, “Hmmm, there was a piece of corn in that bite,” which to me, was a quintessential TV dinner. Alas, even though the boys thought this was a stellar culinary experience, I won’t be purchasing TV dinners in the near future.