When is a TV Dinner Okay?

When you’re going through a bad breakup?

When you’re barricaded in your house waiting out a nuclear winter?

When you have a family to feed and ten dollars to do it with?


For some, definitely. For others, a tv dinner is no big deal, a quick solution when there’s seemingly no time to prep and cook a proper dinner. Or for someone on a diet, the pre-portioned calorie counted Weight Watchers fettucine alfredo helps keep them on track. But think about fresh food for a minute. Imagine a table covered in fresh ingredients, there’s bright green broccoli and pale purple shallots, yellow wax beans, wild mushrooms and soft green favas, bright orange carrots and red chili peppers. Take those ingredients and cook them up, stir in some preservatives, portion and freeze. Wait a few weeks then take them out, thaw, heat and eat. You don’t have to actually do this to know the difference in taste, compared to just prepping and cooking and eating those veggies right then and there, we all know which one is going to taste better and be better for us.

fresh fava beans and morel mushrooms

One of the biggest stumbling blocks to getting away from processed foods is simply not knowing how to cook. I’ve met a few grown men and women who can’t cook and I’m shocked.

It’s like meeting someone who has stayed with the same employer for more than twenty years, it seems impossible in this day and age.

I’m terrible at math, I avoid anything to do with math if I can help it. Tax time is a nightmare and I put off doing it forever. I imagine if I couldn’t cook I’d feel the same way about dinner, and unlike tax time, dinner happens every night. Frozen dinners, eating out or ordering in are easy alternatives to cooking but in the end they don’t deliver the way a freshly prepared home-cooked meal does.

never underestimate the power of a home cooked meal

Think I’m being a little too romantic about home cooking? Go eat a frozen tv dinner then tell me what you think about home cooking. Nothing will make you miss homemade food like a tv dinner. It will fill you up and keep you alive but that’s about it.

If you can’t cook, take a class, or watch some youtube cooking videos, or gather a group of friends and start a weekly dinner party where you all prep and cook together. If you can cook and know someone who can’t; your kids, your babysitter, some hapless soul in your building, show them how. Get in the kitchen and give them a knife and show them the basics. Because not knowing how to cook means not knowing how to eat and not knowing how to eat is the reason we’ve got MacDonald’s and Burger King and Hungry Man Dinners and Olive Garden.

Not knowing how to eat is killing us. Grab a knife and a head of broccoli and save yourself.

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