Anyway, when asked to think of a happy food memory, I recalled the days in my childhood when I was allowed to have a TV dinner. Not the plastic tray kind that microwave in a few minutes that we have today; the old foil tray meals of the '70s-'80s that had to be cooked in the oven. These:
Well, not this exact meal, but the kind that came with an entree, a veggie, a starch (almost always mashed potatoes), and a dessert. It came in the same cardboard box, but the tray AND the wrapping were foil. You had to cut the foil around certain pieces so they baked correctly, and then they took 25-40 minutes depending on what kind they were. My all-time favorite was Salisbury Steak, with mashed potatoes, corn (or green beans, can't remember which), and a brownie. I was sooooo fascinated by the fact that everything cooked perfectly together!
TV dinners were even more special when I was visiting my grandma, because mealtimes were always at the table with the TV off. However, for an occasional treat she would bring out the TV trays, and we would eat TV dinners in the living room (while watching TV, of course). Her house was always spotless, so we had to be super super careful with our meals. I even got soda when we had TV dinners! And we usually had a bowl of ice cream after dinner, even though our TV dinners included a dessert.
I kind of miss the specialness of those old dinners. The quality of the food has certainly improved since then, but with microwave speed and dinners eaten away from the table on a nightly basis, it's just not the same. Oddly, my mom thought of those dinners as junk food....but compared to a super-sized fast food dinner, the portion-size and quality of the food in TV dinners is actually better for you today!
Some days, I really do yearn for the "good ol' days".....