TV Dinner Night: When Convenience Trumps Homemade

And everyone was happy. (Image source: S. Bielanko Private)
And everyone was happy. (Image source: S. Bielanko Private)

I don’t make too many homemade meals at my house. I don’t have time for that.

I’m divorced now, with three kids between one and six depending on me to keep them alive three or four days a week. And by alive, I mean alive — living/breathing/something in their guts/some clothes hanging off their bones.

At first, I told myself that I would be this Super Dad. But that was me just bullshi**ing myself, okay?

Looking back now, I think it all hit me on the very first night we were here, boxes stacked all around, the kids chucking toys all over the place.

“I have to feed these monsters,” I grumbled to myself.

I was exhausted. (And guess what? I still am). I opened the fridge that first night and stared at what I had thrown in there that day.

Frozen dinners. (Cue ethereal heaven music).

Boom. Done. Little boxes of God-knows-what that cost me about a buck-a-piece down at the Walmart now appeared to me as visions of merciful angels gazing at me from my freezer box.

“Hello, Angel Swedish Meatballs! Good evening, Angel Fish Sticks with Like No Fish in Them But Maybe a Shred of Farm Raised Rat Snake That Smells Like Fish!”

Go ahead and judge me if you want to or need to, I don’t give a damn. I knew they weren’t the best meals to give my kids if I wanted them to be raised with a deeper appreciation of the wonders of culinary delights. I knew right then and there that nutritionally speaking, these TV dinners weren’t nearly as life-extending as a hot bowl of garden fresh greens drizzled in olive oil and herbs and teamed up with a nice piece of fresh (not frozen!) fish that wasn’t raised in a big muddy concrete lake somewhere in some Third World country or whatever.


And it felt so good. I’m sorry to admit that to you if you’re someone who thinks that all kids should be fed wholesome meals every time they lift a fork or a spoon.

But also I’m actually not really sorry at all.

I love them. I love frozen dinners so much that I buy them by the truckload and hand them out to trick-or-treaters.

See, what people don’t realize anymore is that kids are more or less bullet proof when it comes to all of this over-protective parental showboating too many moms and dads are making a big fuss about in the Internet Age. It’s all a racket. Of course, I don’t feed my gang TV dinners or Ramen noodles exclusively. That would be very hard-core. But still, I could see the benefits in it for me as a parent. And I seriously doubt it would affect my kids all that much at all.

I’m a fan of convenience at this stage in the game. You might froth at the mouth hearing a parent say that, but that’s okay. No one cares. People have to raise their own kids the way they best see fit, and the way I see it, trying to make homemade dinners every night would make my life a living hell. It really would.

My kids like the food I serve them. It tastes pretty good to them. And they get vegetables too, in case you’re wondering. Mostly frozen ones. Why? Because they’re easy for me. Because I don’t have to walk out into the damn forest or the garden and grow the measly things myself and then stand there as the evening sun goes down and wonder where my three children disappeared to since they’re not in the house anymore and I was way too busy out tending to my celery stalks to monitor what they were up to when they finally just wandered out the front door and marched down the road into some perilous night of mystery.

Parents, hear me roar.

You don’t need to feel guilty about feeding your kids instant mac-n-cheese that looks like Sponge Bob. You don’t need to have fresh cut carrot sticks and organic hummus for them for their snack. You aren’t going to Hell if you don’t bake your own stupid bread, you fool! And last thing. Your kids won’t end up brain-damaged and dragging 300 pounds of lard around on their skeletons if you are at least reasonably smart about what you serve them and they get some good exercise every week and you don’t give them a slice of cake every time they want one which is all the time between the ages of 3 and 23.

Buy the TV dinners. Buy the frozen stuff as long as you need to. It’s an American tradition, you know? Hard-working parents have been feeding their kids all the food groups from a deeply frozen state for a long time now. No one has died. No one has gone crazy. At least not as far as I can tell. Homemade is better, we all get that. But homemade is harder, too, and often, it’s actually damn near impossible. Use the time you save serving TV dinners and other frozen meals up to catch your breath, maybe grab a shower since you haven’t had the chance to get one in three days. Raising kids shouldn’t leave you smelling like an NFL linebacker or feeling like one either. But when it does, just remember what I told you:

Fish sticks. A brownie. Less than four minutes. Everyone survives. Everyone is happy, yo.

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Article Posted 5 years Ago

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