Friday, October 21, 2005

TV Dinner

TV Dinner
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
Jack read a book this morning in which a little boy ate a TV dinner. Jack had no idea what one was (I boast) but he became immediately obsessed. He begged for one. He got dressed right away and suggested that we go to the grocery store and pick one out. So, I decided to go ahead and do it. I did need to get some grocery shopping done for the impending in-law visit and I thought a little bribe of a TV dinner might grease it a bit. And, boy was I right. This kid was SO excited about picking out a TV dinner. All day long, he kept asking when it was TV dinner time. It was a riot. I let him watch THE FLINTSTONES (the episode where Fred and Barney enter Pebbles in a beauty contest) while he ate his prized TV dinner. Believe me, it was a HUGE treat for him. He asked me to take a picture of him posing with the dinner and then wanted me to take a picture of him chewing the dinner. Then, he had me take a picture of the dinner itself. I poured myself a glass of wine and cozied up on the couch and watched THE FLINTSONES and just loved the whole thing. He is so incredibly sweet.

So, you are probably wondering, how on Earth did the TV dinner get invented? Well, funny you should ask, because I happen to have the answer right here!

It all happened in 1954. Gerald Thomas, a C.A. Swanson & Sons executive, had a big problem. What to do with about 270 tons of left over Thanksgiving turkey.

"After Thanksgiving, Swanson had ten refrigerated railroad cars-- each containing 520,000 pounds of unsold turkeys -- going back and forth across the country in refrigerated railroad box cars, because there was not enough storage in warehouses. We were challenged to come up with a way to get rid of the turkeys," said Thomas.

He got the breakthrough idea from the trays used for airline food service. And the TV dinner was born.

The first production order was for 5,000 dinners, thought to be a big gamble at the time. They had about two dozen women armed with ice cream scoops filling the new trays at night.

The first TV dinner featured turkey, corn bread dressing and gravy, buttered peas and sweet potatoes. It cost 98 cents and came in a box resembling a TV.

The 5,000 dinners proved to be a gross underestimation. Swanson sold 10,000,000 of them that year.

Of note, most folks didn't own freezers back then, so the dinners were bought and prepared the very same day.

A frozen fried chicken dinner was introduced in 1955. Turkey is still the most popular Swanson TV dinner, except in Fort Worth-Dallas, where fried chicken is the favorite.

Gentle readers, wasn't that interesting? Well, I thought so.

More in the next post, which, I am starting as soon as I publish this one.

1 comment:

Princess said...

OMG your son sounds soooooo adorable!! You never said what he chose as his tv dinner. Did he pick one of the kids ones with brownies and pizza or chicken nuggets and a decoratable cookie? Inquiring minds wanna know! :) Makes me try to recall what I chose as my first tv dinner? lol