This was not the case in my family. We ate as a family, fresh food prepared by my grandmother, mother, one of my aunts, or the help. Yes, we had help. Dinner time was when the family gathered and discussed school, work, politics, art, literature, music. We were not allowed to watch TV during dinner. Perish the Thought! Oh how I envied the children in the ads and commercials. I was a TV junkie, and the only one in my family. And, although I loved TV, I must reveal, that I have never eaten a TV Dinner. Never. They wouldn’t have been in our freezer, even if someone ‘dropped by’ as it says in one of the ads below. The food on our table was always expandable to accommodate the numerous people who might and did stop in at dinner time. My grandmother was good at stretching everything. She didn’t have to rely on a frozen prepackaged dinner.
The term TV dinner is a trademark originally used for a brand of packaged meal developed in 1953 by C.A. Swanson & Sons (the name in full was TV Brand Frozen Dinner). The original Swanson’s TV Dinner came in an aluminum tray and was heated in the oven. It was an individual portion. TV dinners required very little preparation and contained all the elements for a single-serving meal. A TV dinner usually consisted of a cut of meat, usually beef or chicken; a vegetable, such as peas, carrots, corn, or potatoes; and sometimes a dessert.
Because this is a chocolate blog, I want to let you know that occasionally TV Dinners had a brownie or chocolate pudding for dessert. More likely they didn’t. Here’s a recipe for TV Dinner Buttermilk Brownies.
So in honor of TV Dinner Day, here are several Retro Ads. Always fun to see. Be sure to scroll down and watch the Retro TV Ad!