In response to President Obama’s scathing indictment of corporate greed, executives immediately responded by shrugging shoulders, and pointing fingers—then, of course, gave themselves bonuses.
Well, as the culture further embraces the notion of a blameless society, I have taken this as a cue to lash out at the frozen food industry for its increasingly prominent role in my free-fall from mediocrity.
Last week, I had the opportunity to address the Association of Frozen Foods, Real Cold Foods, and Firearms. I was there to accept its Iron Gut award for consecutive dinners “handled previously.”
I was the second speaker, following Clifton Briggs, an authority on the separation of meat and peas.
After stepping to the podium, I acknowledged the applause, nodded graciously to my fellow nominees, then launched into my speech:
“President Feller, Chairwoman Miles, esteemed members of the frozen food community—thank you for inviting me here. While preparing my remarks, I had simply intended to accept my award, and recognize the technical achievements of Boilable Pouch & Magic, which received its award earlier in the week.
This, however, is not a time for the standard ‘thank-yous.’ We, as an industry, must become leaders in the community, and not just provide assurances to preparers of the mistakenly thawed.
We must encourage people’s independence—to allow them to think for themselves. I hope, in the years to come, we will purge ourselves of the ‘serving suggestions.’ It is the right of the individual to determine the most effective display for his or her Hot Pocket.
And, two decades from now, we will look back in horror at our blatant discrimination against toaster-oven loyalists. How many times can we say ‘not recommended for toaster ovens,’ and hide behind a cloak of anonymity?
No, ladies and gentlemen, this is no longer the industry I grew up with—and remain with. We must return to the days of ‘compartmentalize and freeze,’ and not yield to stockholder pressures—as exemplified by Green Giant’s foray into rice.
We must lead the way to an industry renaissance, to a second vigorous boil!!
(Several minutes of applause. I calmly sucked on a Blow Pop.)
I’d like to discuss for a moment an issue that all of you have long swept under the rug. I see by your faces, you know where I’m going. For generations, unsuspecting consumers have removed TV dinners from their ovens, looked at the dessert portion, and, in a blow to their collective self-confidence, mumbled shamefully, ‘Isn’t this a food that’s normally eaten cold? Why is this 600 degrees? I’ve done something terribly wrong.’
I notice no one seems to be paying attention over in the Hungry Man section. Perhaps, gentleman, what I’m about to say will be of some interest to you. As Hungry Men, you have naturally assumed a leadership role within the industry. But leadership must be handled responsibly. To instruct good and decent people to turn your dinner one-quarter turn every 15 minutes is an act of despotic whim not seen since the days of Salisbury steak dominance.
In closing, I’d like to once again thank the association and, in particular, the Committee for Better Chow Mein, for this award, which will stand proudly on the mantle next to my nail clipper.
And as much as my words may have been unwelcome today, I need to you consider the source. I love you people. And let us hope there will come a time when I’ll be looked at as the woman who had the courage to punch holes in our plastic film.”
Bye for now.
Julie Dafydd Stars in Miss Margarida’s Way
Lavender columnist Julie Dafydd stars in Roberto Athayde’s Miss Margarida’s Way: A Tragicomic Monologue for an Impetuous Woman, running May 6-9, 7 PM, at the Whitney Fine Arts Center Stagedoor Theater, Minneapolis Community and Technical College, 1424 Yale Place, Downtown Minneapolis. Directed by Scott M. Rubsam, this allegory about totalitarianism uses at its central metaphor a biology classroom where the teacher is the dictator, and the audience is the student body. Miss Margarida, an engaging though grotesque monster, often digresses from biology to taunt and harangue. Admission is free, although donations are accepted to benefit Metropolitan State University Theater Underground. For reservations, call (612) 659-7222.