Thinking of Dad in the Frozen Food Aisle of an Empty Supermarket

An empty frozen food aisle in a supermarket.

Walking through the frozen food aisle

of an empty supermarket

in the afternoon

allows my mind to wander.

Looking at the frozen dinners,

I check the sodium content

and complimentarily project my thoughts

on the people who aren’t there

to buy them:

I wouldn’t buy this salt mine.

You shouldn’t either.”


passing the Lean Cuisine™,

I become nostalgic about the products

my father used to buy

when he didn’t feel like cooking:

A variety of the same Lean Cuisines™

that he would lay out on the kitchen island,

a microwaveable Smörgåsbord

Feeding Our Phenomenals (unsure of the specific phenom).

The thaw and eat shrimp

and microwave mac and cheese,

The boil and serve country sausage

with packaged hash browns and canned green beans.

From time to time, Dad would switch up the combinations

(Country sausage with mac and cheese,

Thaw and eat shrimp with hash browns)

but most of the heat and eat meals stayed the same.

These convenience foods

are in stark contrast

to Dad’s younger, foodie days

when the word gourmet

became a thing.

He subscribed to cooking magazines

with French clichés as titles,

neatly stacked in the spare bedroom bookshelves.

Later on,

he reverted to recipe cards handed down from

his parents-

Meatloaf, stuffed green peppers, the dreaded cabbage rolls.


Dad had no aversion to eating out.

He enjoyed the high falutin’ joints

(even though he pronounced foie gras foe gras instead of fwah gras)

but had more of an affinity for “restaurants”

that served steamed hamburgers

or chili dogs heaped with raw onions.

In his twilight years,

cooking became more of a chore

than a passion.

He needed a stool to cut up his go-to vegetable, broccoli.

Dad adored broccoli and cooked it three times a week.

Mom thought it was cruciferous overkill

and would tease him about it.

And, devoted husband that he was,

Dad would make amends

with a Reese’s cup for dessert.

Now, staring at the Lean Cuisines™

in the empty supermarket,

a void envelops me. 

Dad and I often butted heads over cooking-

cooking steak, making gravy, boiling pasta.

Nonetheless, food bonded us.

So, attempting to fill the void,

I buy a head of broccoli.

Mom and Dad on their 58th wedding anniversary.
Mom and Dad on their 58th wedding anniversary.

2 thoughts on “Thinking of Dad in the Frozen Food Aisle of an Empty Supermarket

  1. Peak Freans do it for me, in the cookie aisle. When Dad bought his favourite cookies, we’d get a stern look if we dared to snatch one. Loved this piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Funny how childhood food evokes such strong memories. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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