×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Single Man's Guide To TV Dinners

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the between-ramen-and-alton-brown dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 252

yokimbo writes "The Food Network had a show about TV dinners and how they're prepared, their history, etc... But, what about the useful information, like how they taste? Ray Cole has your solution at The Single Man's Guide to TV Dinners. Although, I think he needs to visit Web Pages That Suck." (Of course, TV dinners don't scream out the way ramen does for improvement and improvisation.)

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

252 comments

The amount of time guys waste on this stuff ..... (4, Insightful)

phoxix (161744) | more than 9 years ago | (#9288970)

.... could be used in learning how to make real food.

Cooking is like UNIX, invest the right amount of time and you'll be thanking yourself for the next few lifetimes.

Sunny Dubey

Re:The amount of time guys waste on this stuff ... (4, Informative)

velo_mike (666386) | more than 9 years ago | (#9288993)

.... could be used in learning how to make real food. Cooking is like UNIX, invest the right amount of time and you'll be thanking yourself for the next few lifetimes.

Exactly, repeat after me "Life is too short to eat crap". Anyone who can follow basic directions can learn to cook. Cooks Illustrated [cooksillustrated.com] was a huge help in this process for me.

Re:The amount of time guys waste on this stuff ... (3, Informative)

Richard_L_James (714854) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289023)

Totally agree. I didn't cook much until my girlfriend started to encourage me... Then I found this very funny book which has been a great help - Cooking for blokes: Duncan Anderson and Marian Walls [amazon.co.uk]. Note: It even includes a detailed section dedicated to explaining all those weird "gas mark" settings and spoon sizes!! Now I just wish they would write "ironing for blokes" :-)

Re:The amount of time guys waste on this stuff ... (2, Insightful)

sydb (176695) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289309)

ironing for blokes

Seriously, don't. Find a local laundry or dry cleaners and find out how much they charge.

I pay 5.50 UKP for the washing and ironing of 5 shirts. When I iron shirts myself - and I used to iron them all the time - it took me 15 minutes per shirt (OK I'm a perfectionist). That's 1 hour 15 minutes of my life per week, just to start off. Add the time spent loading the washing machine and hanging out to dry, the cost of the washing process and the cost of the electricity to power your iron and it's a no-brainer.

And when I outsourced ironing I realised I did not need to iron any of my clothes. Properly folded and hung or stowed, there is no requirement to iron casual clothes.

I invested in two decent, identical, M&S, non-iron suits (yes I have to wear a suit to work, no I am not a suit) and so far (two years) they have lived up to this claim. Hung properly they dry from the wash with a crease and no wrinkles.

So I got rid of my iron and ironing board and freed up more space that I can live in rather than sweat in.

No-one with a job requiring them to wear a shirt should be paid so little they can't easily afford to get someone else to iron it.

Re:The amount of time guys waste on this stuff ... (1)

henrik (98) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289470)

Didn't you learn anything in elementary school or didn't they teach you all that then?

Cooking is also fun! (1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289107)

I couldn't agree more.

Cooking is fun! Trying to get your favourite dish just right should appeal to any geek who has the same drive for perfection when building computers or coding. Get the base right from a book or a magazine and then start tweaking the recipe until it's perfect.

Sauces, in particular, are rewarding. They either make or break your dish.

Re:Cooking is also fun! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9289181)

Sauces, in particular, are rewarding. They either make or break your dish.

They sure do. My local Chinese restaurant can disguise the most disgusting bits of leftover beef in a fantastic sauce. Makes all the difference. Just need to not think about what's underneath.

Re:The amount of time guys waste on this stuff ... (2, Insightful)

hendridm (302246) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289335)

I dunno, my fiance and I eat TV dinners often enough. It's not that we don't know how to cook, it's that we don't care to waste the money, prep time, and worst of all, cleaning dishes. To make most decent meals, you end up buying all sorts of different groceries (expensive). Then you get home and have to cook it (we usually don't mind this part a whole lot). Then the best part - you eat it. Then the worse part - cleaning dishes.

We both absolutely hate doing dishes. You say life is too short to eat crap? I say it's just food, and life is too short to spend hours a day on shopping, preparing, and cleaning for a single meal that only feeds two people. TV dinners are cheap, are easy to cleanup, and get the job done.

(And before anyony mentions a dish washer, forget it. As much as I hate doing dishes once, I really hate doing them twice.)

Re:The amount of time guys waste on this stuff ... (2, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289643)


I say it's just food, and life is too short to spend hours a day on shopping, preparing, and cleaning for a single meal that only feeds two people.


Sadly this statement is the way the majority of the population thinks about eating. Food is what goes into your body, and eventually becomes the stuff you're made of. You may not value the taste, but you certainly should value the nutritional value of it. Most processed food like TV dinners contains a huge of amount of saturated fat and/or trans-fat, both major contributors to heart disease. Not to mention all the preservatives and other crap that's likely not very good for you.

The value in cooking and making your own food is an investment in your own health. What's more important than your, and your wifes health?

Re:The amount of time guys waste on this stuff ... (4, Insightful)

tx_kanuck (667833) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289017)

I'm a good cook. I throw dinner parties for my friends every once in a while. But a lot of time, I just don't want to be bothered cooking a meal for one. All the prep work, the cooking time, then the clean up involved. Sometimes I just want to nuke it , eat it, and toss it. So sites like that are kinda useful for me.

Plus, those meals are a great last resort when you screw up the main meal. :)

Re:The amount of time guys waste on this stuff ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9289038)

I used to be the same way until I got a good gas barbecue. Throw a piece of chicken and a corn on the cob on the grill still in it's husk and you have better than anything you'd ever get from Hungry Man with no cleanup (if you have a dishwasher).

Re:The amount of time guys waste on this stuff ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9289155)

Gas sucks. A regular fire is what's needed. My barbeque is a few concrete blocks stacked together with a grill on top of it, and an old oil pan that used to sit under my car for making a fire on. You need flames for stuff to taste really good. Real flames, not just heat.

No idea what Hungry Man is - you sound fucked up.

Dishwasher - yes. Greatest invention ever.

Re:The amount of time guys waste on this stuff ... (3, Insightful)

Richard_L_James (714854) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289040)

a lot of time, I just don't want to be bothered cooking a meal for one. All the prep work, the cooking time, then the clean up involved. Sometimes I just want to nuke it , eat it, and toss it.

One word "freezer"!

Prepare extra food in advance, freeze, decide what you are eating the night before, thaw overnight, place in fridge whilst before going to work, return, zap, eat. Decent food at the speed of a microwave meal.

Re:The amount of time guys waste on this stuff ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9289219)

Two words: Dollar store and freezer! Ok, that's three or even four words.
I bought a bunch of inexpensive clear top plastic containers at the dollar store. Then I buy food in large quantities, like sausages, salmon filets, frozen vegetables (they're quite good and come in a variety of mixes). I cook the salmon with Paul Prudhomme's Salmon Magic, I grill the sausages, etc... I even make prime rib burgers. Anyways, I toss in one piece of meat and some vegetables per container and freeze em. I spend two hours preparing two-three weeks worth of food.
Think about it.

Re:The amount of time guys waste on this stuff ... (4, Interesting)

LarsWestergren (9033) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289045)

Agreed. Once you are getting a bit better it is great fun. For me, it has ceased to be a chore, and feels more like a time to relax, be a bit creative.

Also, this topic is a great opportunity to copy and paste some fun links.

The worst breakfast ever: "Swanson, producers of some of the world's fattiest TV dinners, is seeking to take over the breakfast market with a new line of microwaveable morning meals. It's called the 'Hungry Man All Day Breakfast,' [x-entertainment.com] and it's threatening to turn people into manatees."

For those who like Mystery Science Theatre 3000, here is a similar take on edibles; The Gallery of Regrettable Food [lileks.com]

Re:The amount of time guys waste on this stuff ... (1)

aixou (756713) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289128)

It's called the 'Hungry Man All Day Breakfast,' and it's threatening to turn people into manatees."


I've gotta try that!!!

Re:The amount of time guys waste on this stuff ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9289201)

You might have planted a seed...

Re:The amount of time guys waste on this stuff ... (1)

RenaissanceGeek (668842) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289580)

Methinks that you assume too much.

I have a hard time thinking about food as other than "provisions."

In other words, I know that I have to eat properly in order to maintain the meat-sack that is my body in order to obtain optimum functionality from my mind, but why would I want to waste time or brainspace by learning special preparation methods for it?

"Cuisine" is simply a form of mental (or is it oral?) masturbation practiced by those who either have too much time on their hands, or for some reason need to distract themselves from the other aspects of their life while they eat.

Which doesn't stop me from watching "Good Eats" or "A Cook's Tour" on Food-Network occasionally: the physical chemistry behind even a simple mayonaise can be fascinating, and the significance that people ascribe to eating raw shellfish is intriguing, psychologically. Emeril, on the other hand, grates on my psyche like fingernails on a chalkboard.

In my opinion, eating is overrated, and I have a hard time believing that I'm alone among the crowd that is /.

hmm (0)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 9 years ago | (#9288971)

I thought we quit calling them TV dinners back in the 70s......

Re:hmm (4, Funny)

TaxSlave (23295) | more than 9 years ago | (#9288990)

I thought we quit calling them TV dinners back in the 70s...

What about computer-desk-dinners?

  • Bowl-o-cereal
  • Bag-o-Funyuns
  • Vat-o-M&Ms
  • Tudayold(tm) Pizza

Re:hmm (3, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289006)

I guess I am old enough to remember the real TV dinners. Aluminum tray, aluminum wrap, always tiny meat pieces and some of the peas and carrots always get mixed with the apple "thing" they call dessert (lots of dough, some apple like gravy, and one apple wedge). They were either overcooked, or cold in the middle.

Seriously, I was in the military, the old C rations were better than TV dinners before the microwave became popular. At least you got a decent wedge of chocolate or a good cookie.

Back when I was a kid, we always held any mom who served TV dinners as suspect. Any mom who served them regularly was considered rather lazy or "low class" in the 60s/70s. You know, the single mother type, who we all knew must be a bad person or she would have a man around.... the times, how they change.

Re:hmm (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9289086)

"I thought we quit calling them TV dinners back in the 70s......"

Slashdot dinners...

Best use of "tv dinner" by a politician (2, Informative)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289242)

Here is a quote regarding TV dinners ripped from yesterdays headlines.

Mr Chalabi argued that "the IGC is the forces that opposed Saddam Husain and, allied with the US, overthrew him. Now the US wants to overthrow us?"

To which another - and more realistic - IGC member, cleric Ghazi al-Yawar replied: "They think they are entitled to a role because they believe they overthrew Saddam Husain. It was the US that overthrew Saddam while we were eating TV dinners."

so apparently the term TV dinner is not only in use its internationally in use. Plus its damn funny in this inconcrous use.

Ramen improvement begins at home (4, Informative)

TaxSlave (23295) | more than 9 years ago | (#9288983)

Over the years, I've gone from making ramen a meal to making it a carbohydrate base in the occasional meal. I use it similarly to a base of rice for my favorite stir-fry recipe.

Sliced squash and zuchinni, with eggplant, stir-fried with soy sauce and optional sesame seeds. It's a basic ingredient for several dishes. Use it atop ramen or rice. Add drained black beans and rice and roll it in a burrito.

Squash season is here. Yum.

You gotta WORK that ramen. Make it work for you.

Re:Ramen improvement begins at home (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9289085)

Ramen is not a good carbohydrate base. Ramen is mostly fat. I'm not kidding, look at the ingredients next time.

Whole rice or regular pasta is a much better carb base.

Re:Ramen improvement begins at home (1)

jpmkm (160526) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289582)

Ramen noodles are cooked and then fried to dry them. All the 3 minute boiling is doing is rehydrating the noodles. All the fat from the frying oil is still there.

fav tv/ at the computer meals and approx cooking t (3, Interesting)

shione (666388) | more than 9 years ago | (#9288985)

hot dog + cheese (2 minutes nuked)

Ramen noodle (cooking time 2 minutes nuked)

frozen lasagne (10 minutes nuked)

grated cheese on bread (5 minutes toasted)

pasta mix (12 minutes nuked)

potato salad straight out of the tub (instant!)

and of course the chips and biscuits

Re:fav tv/ at the computer meals and approx cookin (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289144)

I use a bit of a different method on the ramen.

I generally fill the bowl with water and then nuke for about five minutes. It usually sits in the microwave for about five more minutes.

After that, I drain the water and pour generous amounts of whatever cheap hot sauce I've come by.

This last batch has been Texas Pete's hot sauce.

Re:fav tv/ at the computer meals and approx cookin (1)

twoslice (457793) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289149)

That is really great stuff man but... but I tend to eat higher up on the food chain. You need some protein man! That hotdog does not cut it - you know what those are made of don't you? All beef does not mean all meat!

Oh, and that lazanga does not have any real meat in it too. I found that out from my vegan girlfriend, who also had me over once for thanksgiving dinner. She put this thing on the table and when I asked her what it was she proudly say's Tofurkey! Tasted like crap.

Vegans, go figure, when you try to tell them that what you were really hankering for is a deep fried "real" turkey dinner for thanksgiving. They go ballistic with all this health crap mumbo jumbo!

Re:fav tv/ at the computer meals and approx cookin (4, Insightful)

beforewisdom (729725) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289189)

  • hot dog + cheese (2 minutes nuked)
  • Ramen noodle (cooking time 2 minutes nuked)
  • frozen lasagne (10 minutes nuked)
  • grated cheese on bread (5 minutes toasted)
  • pasta mix (12 minutes nuked)
  • potato salad straight out of the tub (instant!)
  • and of course the chips and biscuits
  • doctor's appointment to get high blood pressure medication for all of the sodium you ate( 2 hours off work )
  • going to drug store to get high blood pressure medication( 1 hour every few weeks )
  • recovering from the stroke/heart attach you may eventually get from the transfats and salt(6 months - 1 year)

microwaved dinners (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9288995)

isn't plastic meant to created & leach carnsonagenic material when run through a microwave oven?

Re:microwaved dinners (1)

mulesex (722028) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289046)

You are irradiating your food 1 second prior to eating it. Plastic or not, common sense would suggest that this whole process of food preparation is carcinogenic. Apart from being in bad [ighawaii.com] taste ...

Re:microwaved dinners (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9289072)

I believe that you've invoked Godwin's law by linking to this:

"Microwave ovens were originally developed by the Nazis for use in their mobile support operations."

This thread must now be cancelled. Please move on, thanks.

Most Important Single Guy Food Tip (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9288996)

Don't whack off after handling hot peppers.

Re:Most Important Single Guy Food Tip (1)

castlec (546341) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289070)

This is a serious comment from experience: Make sure you wash your hands very thoroughly before touching certain female body parts. Just normal washing after handling peppers isn't good enough. Luckily, there is a quick cure........ just chew on a few tums and then go to town :o)

Re:Most Important Single Guy Food Tip (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9289093)

Actually, if you wash off with a bit of milk it will neutralize the pepper oil.

I usually wash off like normal, put a little milk on my hands, then was off again.

Re:Most Important Single Guy Food Tip (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9289111)

Or accept oral sex from a girl chewing cinnamon gum.

hes also black (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9289000)

so take this page with a grain of salt. (no pun intended)

*FYI* NIGGERS ARE UNRELIABLE

Learn how to cook properly... (5, Insightful)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289002)

You'll eat better, more healthy and more tasty food plus you'll acquire a social skill that might - note: might - help you get and hold onto a girlfriend.

I've yet to meet a woman who's impressed by a man who can work a microwave. However, women do go for a guy who really can cook.

Re:Learn how to cook properly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9289008)

However, women do go for a guy who really can cook.

Not true...sort of. What are the women supposed to use to impress the guys then?

(without thinking raunchy)

Re:Learn how to cook properly... (4, Funny)

harmonica (29841) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289043)

What are the women supposed to use to impress the guys then?

Parallel park properly?

Re:Learn how to cook properly... (1)

LarsWestergren (9033) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289206)

Do you know why women are so bad at parallell parking? It's because us men keep telling them that this is 8 inches/20 centemeters:
<--------------------->
Hey, I would have made the line slightly longer if the Slashdot junk filter would have let me. ;-)

Re:Learn how to cook properly... (2, Funny)

CCIEwannabe (538547) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289401)

What are the women supposed to use to impress the guys then?

They are called boobs.

Re:Learn how to cook properly... (4, Funny)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289523)

"What are the women supposed to use to impress the guys then?"

They are called boobs.

Okay, okay... What are the women supposed to use to impress the boobs then? ;)

Re:Learn how to cook properly... (1)

mulesex (722028) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289053)

Yes by all means be an excellent chef, But do it so that you can feed yourself well.

More importantly, try to find yourself a woman who is impressed by who you are, not by what you can do.

Re:Learn how to cook properly... (1)

sydb (176695) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289336)

A lof of who you are is what you can do.

Or better, what you actually do.

Re:Learn how to cook properly... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9289416)

Gotta add the female perspective to this. Usually, guys that can cook real food are in better shape than those that can only cook microwave burritos or leftover pizza. Almost all microwave food(and a lot of delivery food) compensates for the fact that theres no fresh ingredients to taste good by adding fat and salt. I know very few guys who live off it and don't have a pot belly/spare tire. While a guy who can occasionally cook me a meal is nice, its really nice if he doesnt weigh enough to smother me.

Re:Learn how to cook properly... (1)

tuxette (731067) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289476)

Here's the proof [slashdot.org] ;-)

Lots of good random recipes to be found on the same journal in case anyone is interested.

Re:Learn how to cook properly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9289617)

However, women do go for a guy who really can cook.

Well, to a degree I can vouch for this. My chicken parmigana has made a woman's clothes fall off once or twice, but that was years ago. Now I have a few clients where there are some attractive women, and I occasionally whip up goodies (choc. chip cookies, cheesecake, chocolate-dipped fruit, etc) to bring to those places-- but it's more because I'm a praise-whore than because I'm trying to get a date with anyone there.

I love to cook, but doing it when you work 9 to 5 (or later) sucks ass. When I come home after a long day of visiting clients, I don't want to then have to stand over a stove making dinner, finally sit down to eat it at 7:30 or 8pm, and then have to clean up the kitchen when I'm done. I want to walk in the door from work, eat relatively quickly, and then relax. Burger King, Wendy's, Taco Bell, and the local pizza/hoagie/cheesesteak place help me to achieve that goal-- cooking stuff myself does not.

IMHO, it's just not worth the trouble to cook when you live alone. When I've cooked large amounts of things to freeze some for subsequent meals, I quickly get tired of eating the same thing and end up throwing it out.

Needs an O'Reilly book (4, Insightful)

gavri (663286) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289005)

I'm serious. How tough can cooking be? One definitive resource for the basics is all we need.
A "Learning Cooking" book from O'Reilly would rock.

Actually, a pretty good way to lose weight (4, Interesting)

ahertz (68721) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289011)

Over last summer, instead of going out or cooking food for myself, I had a TV dinner almost every night, and it helped me lose a lot of weight. Why? Portion control. If you're counting calories, it's dead easy with these - just read the label. Plus, if you're like me, you always feel like you have to clean your plate. With one of the low-calorie tv dinners (Lean Cuisine is especially good tasting, compared to the others), you can - and still not overeat.

So, if you're looking to lose a few pounds, I highly reccommend them.

Re:Actually, a pretty good way to lose weight (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9289035)

Ew.

To be honest, I've always found that method wanting.

Those calorie counting diets have always failed. I eat my portion, and within an hour I'm feeling literal pains of hunger, so I finally say to hell with it and have another TV dinner.

The reason why traditional dieting doesn't work for a lot of people is because they don't balance out their diets. There is little nutrition in a TV dinner, even with the 'veggie' portions because the real nutrition is cooked/processed out.

What I am doing now, which works very well is a simple diet with two simple rules. No wheat, no sugar. I've learned how to make good food that re-prepares quickly for snacking at the computer. Learning how to cook, and learning how to make snacks that are quickly re-heatable for later, and learning how to eat a well rounded diet is the best, healthiest way to lose weight. When you can win the war on (your own) hunger, then you've made progress on losing weight.

Re:Actually, a pretty good way to lose weight (1)

ahertz (68721) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289054)

I'm not arguing against the necessity of good nutrition (far from it). Indeed, my routine tended to be:

Breakfast - cereal with milk and a banana Lunch - Big salad from the cafeteria at work Dinner - Lean Cuisine / Healthy Choice frozen dinner

It's certainly not easy, especially when you're first getting used to it. But, check out The Hacker's Diet [fourmilab.ch]. His thesis (which makes a lot of sense to me) is that weight gain or loss is directly proportional to calories burned - calories eaten. I suspect that if you look at it, by cutting out wheat and sugar you're cutting calories by proxy.

But, if it's working for you, stick with it. Congrats.

Re:Actually, a pretty good way to lose weight (2, Informative)

sydb (176695) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289373)

If you eat small quantities of high-calorie food then of course you will be hungry and then pig out.

Instead, eat large quantities of low-calorie food.

The answer, of course, is vegetables! You can eat two whole lettuces at one sitting and consume only 40 calories! The same goes for cucumber, celery, peppers, spring onions, carrots, tomatos (not too many) and so on.

So make huge salads each day and munch on that. You will not go hungry, and you will be able to eat something fattening like a (little) cheese and bread supper and still be in calorie defecit.

Try Quorn cold-meat imitations. They are tasty and fairly low calory too. The "faux-turkey" slices are particlarly good, at around 50 calories a 4-slice portion.

Things to watch:

A glass of fruit juice can be around 100 calories. I used to drink a whole carton a day thinking it had only a few calories - until I read the label.

Yogurt - healthy food? Again, around a 100 calories for a LOW FAT yogurt. I used to eat four a day thinking I was helping myself lose weight. Read the label!

Re:Actually, a pretty good way to lose weight (1)

beforewisdom (729725) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289252)

I bought a plastic measuring cup for about $1.5 and a food scale for about $5 that let me do the same thing.

Counting calories is a lot easier then people think.

Most people don't vary their diets beyond more then a few things.

After a week or two you know what the portions.

Steve

No TV dinners (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9289020)

I'm a guy, I live alone, I have never purchased a TV dinner or package of ramen. When I was getting my place set up, I did have a few frozen pizzas, but not any more.

It's really easy to cook. Pasta's easy, hamburgers are easy, even homemade pizza is easy. The crock pot and bread machine are great time savers. Pork chops are easy: be sure to brine them before cooking (put them in water with some sugar and salt; osmosis does the rest). Just throw them in a pan and brown them, then add some chopped onions and other vegetables. Goes well with rice.

Jalapeno poppers are pretty good to make once in a while, too. Pancakes, bacon, and hashbrowns are 100 times better when made at home, compared to fast-food or frozen variants. The best thing about cooking at home is the leftovers: you're making a meal not only for today, but you're rescuing yourself from pulling a mystery-meat burrito from the vending machine at work tomorrow.

Initially it takes some time, but you'll grow much more efficient. It's a good life skill to have, and you'll eat cheaper and healthier. Just make sure to buy small portions of food that perish quickly, and use them up before they go bad. You need some good tools, too. Sharp knives are a must. The first and only thing I've ever considered buying from Ronco is this huge knife set [ronco.com], and I'd have to say that for the price, they're a good deal and decently made.

TV Dinners are So 1950s (4, Insightful)

Schlemphfer (556732) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289022)

Here's my advice on purchasing TV Dinners: Don't.

TV dinners are industrialized, mass produced slop made from the cheapest ingredients. Even school lunches are gourmet by comparison. And the oddest part about TV dinners is that, even though they are billed as being convenient, since they are frozen food it takes forever until they are ready.

It's Sunday morning and I'm feeling cranky, and I'd like to write several more paragraphs about how awful TV dinners are. But instead, I'm going to rise to the occasion and try to write something genuinely helpful. Below, I'll offer some suggestions on what to eat instead of TV dinners, which are always your worst choice. Everything below is tastier and healthier than TV dinners -- while being just as convenient.

Spaghetti & Tomato sauce -- in the time it takes to boil water and heat up a jar of sauce, you're in business. Usually, I'll take a couple more minutes to mince up some garlic, and saute it in my pan with some olive oil before adding sauce. You can also buy pre-minced garlic in jars in any grocery store.

Most of the time, I'll also grill some fresh peppers in my George Foreman grill to add to the sauce. You can start the peppers as you heat up the water to boil, and they'll be ready to cut up and add to the sauce well before the rest of the meal is ready. Anaheim or bell peppers are great choices.

Grilled Veggies speaking of the George Foreman grill, which you can buy for less than $30 on Amazon, I use this thing all the time for ultra-healthy snacks. You can grill up just about any type of vegetable. My favorites are broccoli and cauliflower. I'll usually break them into pieces, then grill them give minutes or so. Then flip them around in the grill, turn off the power, and keep the grill on them for another five minutes or so. I'll then top with some non-transfatty acid margarine and some flax oil in a serving bowl.

Bread Machine.Amazon.com offers a West Bend bread machine that makes a small loaf suitable for one or two people in less than an hour. You can modify the recipes so that the breads are nearly all whole grain. And it takes only about five minutes to measure out the ingredients. Then, just go away for 45 minutes, and when you get back you've got a piping hot loaf of bread, that costs something like 30 cents even if you've used organic flour.

I hope some of this is helpful. If this inspires you, you can also try some cookbooks geared to convenient and healthy eating. There's one called _The Everyday Vegan_ which I think is especially good as a source of convenient recipes to replace TV dinners. I have no financial interest in the sale of this book; I just think it's great.

Re:TV Dinners are So 1950s (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9289116)

Yep, good tips there. However, my main problem is cleanup. Everything single thing you're doing requires cleanup. Clean the grill, clean the pans, clean the bread machine.

Ugh, too much time. That's why a lot of people choose pre-made meals. Pop, eat, and go. No mess, nothing to clean up.

more suggestions (1)

tuxette (731067) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289505)

Apropos spaghetti and tomato sauce - the time it takes to boil the water and cook the spaghetti is the time it takes to make a good simple tomato sauce. Forget about the crap in a jar (which usually contains more sugar and other crap than your body needs).

Apropos bread machines, boyfriend of tuxette makes a wonderful wholegrain bread in his machine, using beer as the liquid.

Get a wife, geek !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9289039)

That's women-work boy. In Soviet china we have too many woman.

ramen.... (1)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289042)

Of course, TV dinners don't scream out the way ramen does for improvement and improvisation.

The operative word here is scream. I've known people who lived for months on ramen noodles but I still haven't figured out how they didn't get rickets or scurvy or something similar. There isn't much in the way of nutrition in those things.

Re:ramen.... (3, Funny)

xs650 (741277) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289519)

Salt is a good preservative. Eat enough top Ramen and your body won't even dacay after you die.

real folks guide to surviving unprecedented evile (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9289044)

lookout bullow.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators... cooking with newclear power since day one. see you there?

to avoid turning into a pillar of salt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9289052)


try this strange brew [kombucha.org], that's good for you, & freely distributable too.

Something for everyone!!! (1)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289118)

Even in a war in the middle of Siberia you can have TV Dinners.
Except that they Call them MREs. Meal Ready to Eat. Almost. I've never had one, but as far as I know, the soldiers don't like them, and the ones that stay downrange for a long time take out as much food as the can and take away almost all the packaging, to cut down on weight.
Now they buy food from the camping stores.

Not for dinner, tv, or single men anymore (2, Funny)

beforewisdom (729725) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289122)

At work I see almost everyone eating something from a little black plastic tray that came out of the microwave.

I am considered to "cook" because I usually reheat something I boiled the night before.

Steve

Do you know how this stuff is made? (4, Interesting)

xyote (598794) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289150)

Nobody I know who has ever worked in a processed food plant will ever eat the stuff. When pressed for a reason they just say "You don't want to know". I suppose it's somewhat analogous to restaurants where you don't want to know what goes on in the kitchen. But with restaurants you can at least select on the external quality of the place. With processed food the same places that make the upscale stuff also make the cheap crap you wouldn't feed to your dog. Dogs will eat anything and come to think of it, so will geeks, so maybe this really isn't an issue.

Re:Do you know how this stuff is made? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9289496)

This documentary [guardian.co.uk] put me off processed food for life. The scary thing is that it was hospital food they were producing.

The Ramen Recipe That Got Me Through Hard Times (2, Informative)

FauxReal (653820) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289171)

Yeah, I'm making this for breakfast today...

Poor Man's Egg-Foo-Yung 1 packet ramen 1 1/2 cups of cheap frozen mixed veggies 1 egg Some water Put about a 1/2" of water in a frying pan and turn it on high. Once the water starts boiling throw the whole brick on top and reduce heat to medium and let it cook. Turn it occasionally so it sucks up all the water evenly. When the pan getting close to dry but the noodles are still a bit firm but soft, dump in the frozen veggies (you can put in half a seasoning packet and/or a tsp. sesame oil for flavor at this point) and stir cooking off the water from the frozen veggies. Once they appear thawed, dump in a scrambled egg adding salt and pepper for taste. Let this cook either stirring it up or flipping it omlette style for a filling but cheap entree.

*Bonus tip, adding a bit of milk to the crambled egg (or two) makes it fluff up nicely. You might have to experiment wtih the water amounts a bit... I kinda freestyle my cooking without any measurements.

Egg drop soup (2, Informative)

xyote (598794) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289456)

I use a slightly altered technique. Put the veggies in first and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and drop in ramen noodles and set set for 3 min and add in seasoning. Less pot watching when you do the heating this way.

If you want egg drop soup bring back to a near boil and stir in one raw egg making sure it gets cooked properly. What I do is actually mix the egg and some lemon juice together (shake in a small closed jar is easiest technique) and stir that into headed soup mixture. You get a creamier soup than the regular egg drop soup. Don't overheat though.

Travels Through Asia (2, Informative)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289254)

On my travels through asia I have had a chance to try many of the Ramen of diffrent Asian countries. So far China has made an Excellent showing as has Japan.

Unfortunatly some Japanese ramen tends towards the $3 soup that eats like a meal mark which is so much crap.

It's important that ramen coniseurs get their hands on some Shin-Ramen comming out of Korea as it is definitly a staple.

Re:Travels Through Asia (2, Informative)

Bob-o-Matic! (620698) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289311)

Shin Ramyeon is about the spiciest ramyeon commonly available in the US. If you find yourself in Korea, I recommend (man I hate romanizing!) Balgaemyeon- much spicier than Shin-- even the noodles are red! Also, if you like Deokbokgi, try RaBokgi!

Damn, I am totally jonesing for some decent Korean food-- Damn you, San Antonio!

What is in the carrots? (3, Funny)

thogard (43403) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289259)

A pet cat the knew well enough to stay away from anything veggie based, loved the cooked carrots found in TV dinners. That makes me wonder just what they made them out of and how they were made.

TV Dinners a US phenomenon? (2, Insightful)

bangalla (648729) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289277)

Here in Australia frozen meals really had a late start, they certainly don't have the cultural identity they seem to in the States.

Because eating out has traditionally been an expensive way to eat in Australia everyone knew how to cook. The growth of fast food chains through the 80s and 90s into smaller and smaller towns has eroded this a little, but not to the point that the microwave is the cooking appliance of choice.

Having cheap access to good quality ingredients also helps to encourage decent cooking. An uncle of mine who is a chef spent 12 months in the UK, he was amazed how difficult it was to source quality fruit, vegetables and meat.

In Australia the culinary joke is 'meat and three veg' which a lot of us grew up on. Thinking about it though, steak and veges most nights of the week really isn't a bad way to eat.

Re:TV Dinners a US phenomenon? (1)

gtoomey (528943) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289526)

Nope, "TV Dinners" were available in Australia in the '70s.
They were made using an aluminium tray for reheating in the oven, and were often meat & three veg.

McDonalds & Pizza Hut were in Australia in the '70s too. Chinese takeaways have been very popular since the '50s.

Boston Market (1)

billyradcliffe (698854) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289323)

The best frozen dinners, no contest, are the Boston Market frozen dinners. I've been eating them regularly for the past several months, and I'm telling you, in a taste test I doubt you could tell that it was a frozen dinner. It tastes just like a home cooked meal. Cook em in the oven for the best results. The food actually tastes real unlike the other frozen dinners. A++++++++ highly recommended!!!!

Adam 48.1-2 (1)

nomannerofmanatall (784027) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289344)

"There will be things for men,
including comfortable chairs
and remote-controlled television
sets, and bowling balls, and
baseball caps, and thick sweaters,
and girlie magazines, and
beer, and bourbon, and scotch,
and potato chips, and cheese
curls, and pretzels, and pizza,
and submarine sandwiches, and
fishing tackle,"

The more I think about it.... (5, Interesting)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289354)

There is a REAL need for high-school and adult-education classes to teach how to do basic real cooking and more importantly, how to store multiple portions for later eating!

Kitchen appliances should be your friend, not your enemy. You'll be amazed how just with basic knowledge of cooking skills you could create quite an amazing variety of decent meals. For example, go to the Campbell Soup Company website and there are a huge number of delicious recipes you can make using Campbell's Condensed Soups as a base.

Also, you may want to invest the time and money on decent food storage; when I was living away from my parents I would make a huge pot of chicken a la king, store the portions in small Tupperware bowls, and put them in the freezer for later use over rice and/or toasted bread. You can nowadays do the same with pasta sauce, especially with the new generation of Tupperware containers that are tolerant of the acidic nature of tomato-based pasta sauces.

It's just an extension of the old proverb "Teach a man how to fish, and he'll eat for a lifetime."

Re:The more I think about it.... (1)

tuxette (731067) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289486)

...and once your cooking skills become more advanced, you won't even want to touch the Campbell's soup because your homemade soups and sauces are superior.

Re:The more I think about it.... (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289487)

There is a REAL need for high-school and adult-education classes to teach how to do basic real cooking and more importantly, how to store multiple portions for later eating!

I couldn't agree more. I remember in my highschool you had your choice between home economics or auto mechanics, but NOT both. When asking about the schedualing, the logic was that anyone interested in one wouldn't be at all interested in the other.

I Like TV Dinners (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289391)

I can pop it in the microwave, wait 10 minutes, and have a reasonably nutritious meal. Cleanup involves throwing the box and tray in the trash.

Cooking a similar meal from scratch is much more time consuming and messy, plus the portions are way too big for a single person.

Looking at the prices in the supermarket, buying fresh meat and vegetables is more expensive than buying the frozen dinners. It only makes sense if you are preparing food for a group of people.

Real Sapporo Ramen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9289488)

That dried out stuff that they sell in stores has no resemblance to real ramen whatsoever. I lived in Sapporo Japan, the home of Sapporo Ramen. The real stuff is amazing. The noodles are freshly made, and lightly cooked in a bowl of broth. Add a few veggies, a slice of venison (or pork) and an egg and you have a complete meal.

I can still remember coming in from the cold in the winter and having a bowl of hot ramen in the back of a friends record store.

Amazing!

This guy's got a second website coming.... (2, Funny)

telstar (236404) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289522)

"The Single Man's Guide to Bandwidth Bills - Post Slashdotting"

Voila! meals (aka Bachelor Chow)... (1)

TheRealStyro (233246) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289538)

Voila! meals in a bag are a mainstay in my diet. Whether it is chicken or beef variety it is always very easy to fix and store. Just grab a pan with a lid and apply to a hot stove top with half a cup of water and in 15-20 minutes you have an adequate dinner for two. As for taste - mild to lite depending on how well you cook it. You can usually taste the veggies and the meat and pasta usually do their own thing. I usually fix 2 or 3 bags of this stuff and freeze it for quick meals through the week.

Opportunity (2, Funny)

lildogie (54998) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289621)

When I was single, I had the ability to eat things that were too strange for other people, but that worked for me.

For example, for a low-fat meal that had the prescribed amount of protein & carbs, I would mix dry curd cottage cheese into canned spaghetti sauce, over whole-wheat pasta. Also, storebought burritos with cottage cheese on the side. Grits. Ground turkey.

Now I'm married and eating more traditional foods, and back to being overweight again.

Outdated (1)

ayf6 (112477) | more than 9 years ago | (#9289650)

This show on FoodTV has aired about 100x. This article is incredibly outdated compared to the first airing...
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...