September 23, 2010


I hate to cook. To me, cooking for one person is an absolute bore. Mark, my publicist, feels otherwise and looked askance when I confessed I ate a lot of frozen dinners [editor’s note: But in a nice way!]. We were on the book tour to eastern Oregon at the time. But honestly, I don’t even think it’s economic to cook for one person. I saw a recipe in a magazine for Broccoli Three-Cheese Pizza Pockets which sounded interesting, as I am a vegetarian, but when I read the list of ingredients – broccoli florets, red and yellow peppers, parsley, parmesan cheese, frozen whole wheat pizza dough and mozzarella cheese — I realized that for $2.99 I could buy two frozen veggie pockets with the same ingredients and avoid all that chopping and cleaning up afterwards. One organic red pepper alone costs $1.99 at the super market. .

Apparently other seniors agree with me. A lot of them fill their baskets with frozen dinners at the grocery store. From my informal survey, a reliance on frozen dinners seems to be the one preference shared by old and young householders alike.

Modern times have provided many conveniences, like the frozen dinner. The microwave is another. I couldn’t live without it. I wish I loved my computer as well I love my microwave, but I don’t. An uneasy détente exists between us.

Oddly enough, my favorite technological advance is hundreds of years old: the printing press. Books existed before its invention but access to them was limited to the wealthy. Not to put too fine a point on it, I’d argue the printing press made democratic institutions possible. When everyone has access to the same information, individuals can make informed decisions for themselves.

Today, there is a surfeit of information. It buzzes past through the radio, television, newspapers, magazines, books and the Internet. With so many claims on our time, we can feel assaulted by them. We’re forced to make decisions about what gets our attention and what doesn’t. The temptation is to accept information that coincides with our point of view and ignore the rest. But experts advise us to explore thoughts contrary to our own (See October Woman’s Day, pg. 105). Ideas should never be treated like our favorite frozen dinners, apparently. We need a variety of labels to challenge our brains.