expo 67 lounge

Mid-century fashion, vintage pop culture and retro cool... from Expo 67 and beyond.

26 May 2006

TV Dinners

One of my favorite things to eat for lunch, as a kid, was a TV Dinner.

When I was little, my mom bought me the TV Dinners that just had meat and potatoes (kid size) and the regular ones for herself (adult size). I would have turkey, occasionally, but my favorite was fried chicken (my love of fried chicken began at an early age).

We even had the metal TV Dinner trays (what else would you eat a TV Dinner off of...?)

TV Dinners were invented over 50 years ago by two brothers named Gilbert and Clark Swanson. Inspired by space saving trays used for airline food, these pre-packaged dinners tied themselves in to the novelty that was sweeping over America in the 1950's: the television.

Betty Fussel, food historian and author of "Kitchen Wars" writes: "The childlike packaging makes it appealing. The food is segmented, just the way we seperate food on our plates when we're children and don't want things mixed. It's a form of comfort to us. Everything is in it's place." (source: "At 50, TV Dinner is still cooking" by Mary Dixon Lebeau)

I couldn't have summed it up better myself.

Unfortunately, as with many things, I find TV Dinners have gone down in quality over the years. The replacement of the aluminum trays with plastic ones in the mid 1980's was, for me, the beginning of the end...

images: flickr.com



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm Lin, Cheng-Hui, a junior in NCCU, living in Taipei, Taiwan.
Now I have a course named "Advanced Oral Traing: American culture" and I have to do a presentation next week. My topic is TV dinner and I happen to find your accounts about it. I just want to thank you for introducing me the precious idea about TV dinner. ^__^

(this is my e-mail, in case you want to contact me: 94501011@nccu.edu.tw)

3:59 am  

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