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TV Dinners

When I lived in New York City and I was too lazy to make anything for dinner I would turn to Swanson’s TV Dinners. Among my favorites were Salisbury Steak, Fried Chicken and Turkey Dinner. These dinners had me eating everything including the veggies and desserts. Frozen TV dinners date back to 1954 and the idea of Gerry Thomas, who also named them Swanson’s TV Dinner.

As more and more people were watching TV these frozen dinners became a big hit. It is an amazing fact that more than 10 million of these dinners were sold in the first year. Now they were great for bachelors and for people living alone but it makes me wonder what was happening to all those happy scenes we see in TV serials and movies where families sit down together to eat dinner.

Each dinner cost only $.98 cents and there was a choice of Salisbury steak, meatloaf, fried chicken or turkey all served with mashed potatoes and green peas. Those special desserts were added later. Each dinner came in a divided aluminum tray. In the 1960s the Swanson Company removed the name “TV Dinner” from the packaging and in 1986 the Campbell Soup Company changed the aluminum trays with plastic microwave-safe trays.

To represent the impact that these trays had on American culture a representative aluminum tray was inducted into the Smithsonian Institution in 1987. Swanson even found a place on the Hollywood Walk of Fame receiving their star in 1999.

At present Swanson, products are owned by the Pinnacle Foods Corporation and they just recently celebrated 50 years of TV Dinners.

  • Question of

    Have you eaten Swanson’s TV Dinners?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    Do you have frozen TV dinners in your country?

    • Yes
    • No

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