“Even if you have seven people together eating TV dinners, they are eating in a line and that’s not conducive to communication,” Dr Spungin said.
“Eating together has always been a mark of family life. You also eat together as a sign of hospitality and welcome.
“[The TV dinner] is a big problem in the UK and America but I think in countries with a stronger food/family tradition, like Italy and Spain, the concept of the TV dinner is probably regarded with horror.” —Laura Smith-Spark — Death of a ‘TV dinner’ salesman (BBC)
While the article does the usual “tell the story of the unknown person behind a well-known product” thing, it also includes some serious quotes offering alternative opinions. I remember one summer when I was a news intern at a radio station, the new cute blonde TV news reporter did a total puff piece on people eating ice cream. I ran into her at some civic event, and, when she fished for a compliment about her story, I asked her why she didn’t interview a heath food expert or a vegan to get an opposing view. Looking back, I can see that was a bit harsh, but I took my job very seriously.
The title of the BBC story is a cute allusion to Willy Loman, who would probably have been baffled by the concept (as he was by whipped cheese and car radios). (Thanks for the suggestion, Rosemary.)
I’ve never liked TV dinners.
The social component of meals is important. During the school year, I do make it a point to eat in the faculty cafeteria about twice a week… and sometimes when I take the wife and kids to school, we’ll spend an hour or so in the cafeteria, since I like the idea that my kids get to see me interacting with students so they have at least some concept of what I do during the day.
We do the family dinner thing each night, but during the school year my wife often seems to be in the bedroom, where she’s on the phone or doing the bills or otherwise hiding from the chaos in the kitchen while I feed the kids dinner.
As an undergrad, I went through a phase where I ate a lot of frozen pot pies and microwave noodles, but there are less salty ways of minimizing meal prep time. By now, I’ve progressed to the point where my favorite meals are sometimes Powerbars or even sometimes rice cakes and ginger ale.
If I can learn to photosynthesize via the photons coming off my CRT or do some kind of thermal transfer through the fabric of my computer chair, I’ll be happy.
What was I blogging about? Oh, yeah, the TV dinner guy. I think I was originally planning to say something about the design of the box, but I don’t think I’ll go back and edit this digression out. I’ll just leave this rambling online in order to threaten my career. (Take that, Tribble!)