Today is National Frozen Foods Day. I learned this when planning tonight’s BlogTale party with @wendyscherer. We were looking to see if there was anything special to tie into tonight’s party, and Wendy unearthed that it was National Frozen Foods Day. So, in celebration, we’re asking those local bloggers and twitterers who feel so inclined to write/blog/tweet about frozen food … in whatever way works for you. Here’s my contribution to that vision.
I remember my first experience with frozen food. It was one of those Life Lessons I got really early on in my years.
See, I was just a youngin”. Probably about five years old, maybe six. Whoever was making the TV ads for Swanson frozen dinners had found a tune that sang to my soul. I wanted a TV dinner, and something bad! I wanted-wanted-wanted it.
Well, God hooked me up real good in the healthy-food department. My mother believed in home-cooked meals (and still does) and in providing healthy sustenance to her family. My mom just wasn’t having it.
I’m not quite sure what transpired. It was probably some combination of my whining, needling and her nerves, but she broke down and bought some TV dinners. They were three for a dollar, my mother told me decades later; I picked the one with Salisbury steak with gravy, corn niblets, mashed potatoes and a brownie for dessert. To this day I remember this meal of my thousands-since meals.
Out of the oven came my TV dinner. Yum, yum, yum. How excited I was. And then, I took my first bite. Well, let me just say, that I think I became a natural marketing and communications genius in the split of the second that the frozen TV dinner corn touched my tongue. It was just vile. Everything about it was vile. The taste. The texture. The smell. The Salisbury steak was vile. The mashed potatoes were vile. And, mercy, how can you screw up a brownie for a five-year-old, but the brownie was vile.
I say I became a natural marketing and communications genius because my child’s mind understood a concept with intense visceral experience: I understood that what is said about something (such as a product) and what is true about that thing, are not necessarily aligned. I understood that there was craft (and deceit) involved. And in my child’s mind, I felt it wasn’t nice to lie to people, and to make them want something that wasn’t good.
To this day, and in my near two-decades of professional work, I’ve held true to that early lesson. I believe marketing, communications, business and capitalism are tremendously honorable functions that allow a company to create a product or service, and then in helping people understand what their product is and how it might help others, a customer can make an informed and good choice. I’ve never been, and never will be, someone who can market crap or work for a company that is deceitful in its marketing. The five-year-old who didn’t even want to eat her brownie on that night, back in the late ’60s, just won’t allow it.
Found on ebay: $141.99 for a frozen dinner from the1960s? That’s rich.