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Northwest Bank Building
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Moline, IL 61265

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Moline, IL 61265

Birdeye's discovery fits our lifestyles

By Kurt Allemeier, Dispatch/Argus Staff writer

Marianne Mather
The introduction of frozen foods has helped change our lifestyles.

What do we owe Clarence Birdseye?

Absolutely nothing.

The man who launched the frozen food industry thanks to a keen eye while ice fishing, started his own company and became a multi-millionaire. His discovery has become a lifesaver for bachelors and on-the-go families.

Mr. Birdseye worked as a naturalist for the U.S. government and was stationed in the arctic, where he observed the way of life of native Americans. Watching them ice fish, he saw how the combination of ice, wind and water almost instantly froze just-caught fish.

When the fish were eaten, he learned their taste and texture were scarcely different from freshly caught, since they froze too quickly for ice crystals to form.

Returning to New York in 1924, he founded the company that bears his name, eventually selling it for $22 million.

Mr. Birdseye left a legacy that goes beyond foil-wrapped dinners. He gave us refrigerated grocery display cases and time to spend with family or the television set.

Now those refrigerated display cases hold vegetables, pizzas, burritos, Lean Cuisine, Chinese food, ice cream, fish sticks and more -- a veritable treasure trove of quick meals -- nutritious or not.

Cell phone-calling, Internet-surfing, soccer moms and dads have time to work and play. Harried parents only have to hear the time-honored children's mantra -- ``What's for dinner?'' -- for a fraction of the time.

Struggling bachelors do not starve.

Come home late from work and don't feel like cooking? Thirty seconds of preparation and a short amount of cooking time, and you can be curled up on the couch and ready for Must-See-TV in record time.

Plus, single people do not have to listen to parents ask when they are going to get a better job or get married. Put the television on mute, and you can eat in total silence.

Home-cooked meals cannot escape the icy grasp of frozen food. Frozen vegetables are a dinner table staple that go with meat loaf or tuna casserole. There is, however, nothing like a home-cooked meal, and most TV dinners are nothing like a home-cooked meal. Many tend to be bland, but can be cooked quickly.

Frozen food has made life easier. It fits in with the on-the-go lifestyle of singles and families alike.

No cooking. No problem. Just nuke it.

Copyright 1999, Moline Dispatch Publishing Co.