Mom’s Home Frozen Cooking

Back in 1948, Don Callender started his business Marie Callender’s—named after his dear mother—to sell pies, wholesale, to restaurants. Eventually, of course, he turned it into a chain of restaurants and finally into some of the finest frozen food you can buy for less than two dollars. Indeed, Safeway has all of their Marie Callender’s dinners on sale for $1.89. I couldn’t pass up that deal, so I bought a couple. As I was microwaving this dining delight[1}, I noticed something: the picture of the woman and child cooking on the back.

<%image(20110130-marie.jpg|350|243|Marie and Child Reunion)%>

Of course, it is kind of funny in and of itself. It is almost as though the makers are saying: this is the culture that we are proudly destroying with our products! But there is something more. I know from years of looking at models pretending to be Marie Callender, that the woman in this picture is supposed to be Mrs. Callender. That’s why it isn’t really funny that this frozen dinner has a picture of people actually cooking as opposed to mindlessly scooping potatoes out of a dish while they watch reruns of The Biggest Loser; it’s a picture of Callender doing the home cooking that we all are just too busy to do.

But let’s move in a little closer on this pretend mother of Don Callender:

<%image(20110130-mariecu.jpg|250|280|Close-Up of Pretend Marie Callender)%>

Note anything strange? The hair looks okay: sort of “active person’s gray.” But her face! She’s younger than I am! She can’t be more than late thirties! I guess it is no longer true that sixty is the new forty. Now eighty is the new thirty.

I am now determined to die old, just so I can get as ugly and old-looking as possible. If I get the money, I’m going to start my own old-person’s network where people look their age and don’t give a damn. And we’re going to stage demonstrations against Marie Callender’s and anyone else who pretends to be old. There are so many great things that go along with getting old. One of them is becoming knowledgeable. A world run by 80-year-olds wouldn’t need over a gram of salt to make frozen food taste better than cardboard.

Long live the old, and anyone under thirty is best neither seen nor heard!


1What was this dining delight? It is hard to say. I could read what it says on the box, but they are all pretty much the same. There were mashed potatoes, some kind of meat product thing, and then a vegetable medley that was mostly corn. And 1.09 grams of salt, which I think is your recommended monthly allowance.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “Mom’s Home Frozen Cooking

  1. "I am now determined to die old, just so I can get as ugly and old-looking as possible. If I get the money, I’m going to start my own old-person’s network where people look their age and don’t give a damn. And we’re going to stage demonstrations against Marie Callender’s and anyone else who pretends to be old."

    I want to join your revolution, televised or not! One thing that makes me want to wretch is all those commercials with these "vital, sexy" women in their forties, who have NO WRINKLES, except for some picturesque, "acceptable", barely-there "laugh lines" denoting the worry-free, vital, healthy lives they’ve lived, all full of "wisdom" which is portrayed by two tiny, almost imperceptible eye crinkles, which they are working diligently on "kicking out" with their enlightened, sassy, wise, educated, ways, using "science" to make them look "as young as they feel." Ugh!! Why doesn’t anyone just say, "Look, I feel about ninety some days. Leave me be, already!"? And no, a I am not apologizing for over-using quote marks. I am too old and crabby to care what you think of my grammar. So there! Ha.

  2. Dr FM — You poor old coot, the woman in the photo is, quite obviously, somewhere between 55 and 65. The photographer was kind with the lighting and there was most definitely a little Photoshop "magic" sprinkled about, but the woman has crow’s feet that nearly reach her jaw! (Lucky her. I can only hope for laugh lines — I’ll look like Droopy Dog any day now.) And while I agree that it would be more realistic (and comforting) to see a woman who doesn’t appear to have been frozen along with the potpies and thawed out for photo shoots, at least she looks like plausible well-preserved grandmother. Twenty-year-olds selling hair color to "cover the gray" they won’t even have for another twenty years is far more insidious.

  3. I’m just glad that all my old friends (as opposed to "old friends") are so funny. You both make my frozen food consumption all worth while!

    In my defense to Andrea’s vicious, but not unexpected attack: "Marie" looks a hell of a lot better on the box. My scan was bad–I had to "Blur More" her in Photoshop to get her to look as good as she does. I didn’t really think she was in her thirties, but I do think she’s in her forties and that means that by Hollywood standards, *she’s old*. (Note the reference to *His Girl Friday*.)

    Kristen is right about finding these spit and polished "old" people. And it isn’t just women. Have you seen the men in the erectile dysfunction ads? How about that retired guy playing his Stratocaster like anyone cares?

    As for Kristen’s comment: "quote marks"? Really? In a rush or something, girl? You are right to fear my wrath! To me, "quote" is *always* a verb. "He quoted me verbatim." The use of "quote" as an abbreviation for "quotation" is the primary cause of the fall of both the British and American empires. It ain’t *Bartlett’s Familiar Quotes*! We all must stand for something and I stand for this. And it’s easy to remember: you always quote a quotation. So there! Ha.

  4. And check out the front of the box. There is a picture of a much older woman. I swear! But since the picture is small, it is okay for her to look old. Tiny old people, it seems, are okay.

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