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Encyclopedia > TV dinner

A TV Dinner (also called frozen dinner, microwave meal or ready meal) is a prepackaged, frozen or chilled meal which usually comes in an individual package. It requires very little preparation and contains all the elements for a single-serving meal. For the coarsely ground flour, see flour. ...

The term TV Dinner is a genericized trademark originally used for a brand of packaged meal developed in 1953 for C.A. Swanson & Sons (The name in full was TV Brand Frozen Dinner). In the United States the term is now synonymous with any prepackaged dinner purchased frozen in a supermarket and heated at home, even though Swanson stopped using the name "TV Dinner" in 1962. A genericized trademark, generic trade mark, generic descriptor, or proprietary eponym, is a trademark or brand name which has become the colloquial or generic description for a particular class of product or service. ... For other uses, see Swanson (disambiguation). ... Exterior of a typical British supermarket (a Tesco Extra) Exterior of typical North American supermarket (a Safeway) This Flagship Randalls store in Houston, Texas is an example of an upscale supermarket. ...

The original TV Dinner came in an aluminum tray and was heated in an oven. Most frozen food trays are now made of microwaveable material, today plastic material. Aluminum is a soft and lightweight metal with a dull silvery appearance, due to a thin layer of oxidation that forms quickly when it is exposed to air. ... It has been suggested that this article be split into articles entitled Microwave oven and Microwave heating. ...


History of the TV Dinner

The first TV Dinner was produced in the United States and consisted of a Thanksgiving meal of turkey, cornbread dressing, frozen peas and sweet potatoes[1] packaged in a tray like those used at the time for airline food service. Each item was placed in its own compartment. The trays proved to be useful: the entire dinner could be removed from the outer packaging as a unit; the aluminum tray could be heated directly in the oven without any extra dishes; and one could eat the meal directly out of the same tray. The product was cooked for 25 minutes at 425°F (220°C) and fit nicely on a TV tray. The original TV Dinner sold for 98 cents, and had a production estimate of 5,000 dinners for the first year. Swanson far exceeded its expectations, and ended up selling more than 10 million of these dinners in the first year of production. Their early packaging featured the image of a TV set. The First Thanksgiving, painted by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863-1930). ... Binomial name L. Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults. ... Binomial name L. “Camote” redirects here. ... An Airbus A380 of Emirates Airline An airline provides air transport services for passengers or freight. ... Packaging is the enclosing of a physical object, typically a product that will be offered for sale. ... Oven depicted in a painting by Millet An oven is an enclosed compartment for heating, baking or drying. ... For other uses, see Fahrenheit (disambiguation). ... Celsius is, or relates to, the Celsius temperature scale (previously known as the centigrade scale). ... A TV tray or TV dinner tray is a type of collapsable furniture that functions as a small, portable table. ...

Jacqueline Kennedy's love of "TV Dinners" [citation needed]was credited with increasing their sales during the 1960s. Much has changed since the first TV Dinners were marketed. For instance, a wider variety of entreés — such as fried chicken, Salisbury steak and Mexican combinations — have been introduced. Competitors such as Banquet began offering prepackaged frozen dinners. Other changes include: First official White House portrait. ... KFCs Fried chicken with french fries. ... Banquet logo used from 1999 to 2006. ...

  • 1960 – Swanson added desserts (such as apple cobbler and brownies) to a new four-compartment tray.
  • 1969 – The first TV breakfasts were marketed (pancakes and sausage were the favorites). Great Starts Breakfasts and breakfast sandwiches (such as egg and Canadian bacon) followed later.
  • 1973 – The first Swanson Hungry Man dinners were marketed; these were larger portions of its regular dinner products. "Mean" Joe Greene, football player, was its spokesman.
  • 1986 – The first microwave oven-safe trays were marketed.

Modern day frozen dinners tend to come in microwave-safe containers. Product lines also tend to offer a larger variety of dinner types. These dinners, also known as microwave meals, can be purchased at almost every supermarket. They are stored frozen, then when it is time to prepare them, the plastic cover is removed or vented, and the meal is heated in a microwave oven for a few minutes. They are very convenient since they require no preparation time other than the heating, but they can be more expensive than preparing ingredients from scratch. TV dinners today have increased in quality considerably since the early 1960's. Even dinners of very low quality still exceed the original TV dinners. Not to be confused with Desert. ... Charles Edward Greene, known as Mean Joe Greene (born September 24, 1946), is a former all-pro American football defensive tackle who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL. Throughout the early 1970s he quickly developed into the most dominant defensive player the NFL had ever seen. ...

In the United Kingdom, pre-prepared frozen meals (usually known as "ready meals") first became widely available in the late 1970s. Since then they have steadily grown in popularity with the increased ownership of home freezers and microwave ovens. Demographic trends such as the growth of smaller households have also influenced the sale of this and other types of convenience food. [2] In 2003, the United Kingdom spent £5 million a day on ready meals, and was the largest consumer in Europe. [3] This article or section should include material from One-Hour Thanksgiving Dinner. ... For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ...

Unfrozen pre-cooked ready meals, which are merely chilled and require less time to reheat, are also very popular and are sold by most large supermarkets such as Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury's and Tesco. Chilled ready meals are intended for immediate reheating and consumption. Although most can be frozen by the consumer after purchase if required, some may have to be fully defrosted before reheating. Marks and Spencer plc (known also as M&S and sometimes colloquially as Marks and Sparks) is the largest retailer in the United Kingdom by sales. ... J Sainsbury plc is the parent company of Sainsburys Supermarkets Ltd, commonly known as Sainsburys, a chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom. ... For other uses, see Tesco (disambiguation). ...

Many different varieties of frozen and chilled ready meals are now generally available in the UK, including "gourmet" recipes, organic and vegetarian dishes, traditional British and foreign cuisine, and smaller children's meals. A gourmet is a person with a discriminating palate and who is knowledgeable in fine food and drink. ... An organically-grown apple. ... For animals adapted to eat primarily plants, sometimes referred to as vegetarian animals, see Herbivore. ...

Invention of the TV Dinner

Hungry-Man frozen dinner.
Hungry-Man frozen dinner.

The identity of the TV Dinner's inventor has been disputed. In one account, first publicized in 1996,[4] retired Swanson executive Gerry Thomas said he conceived the idea after the company found itself with a huge surplus of frozen turkeys because of poor Thanksgiving sales. This account is still listed on the website of Pinnacle Foods, Swanson's newest owner.[5] Thomas' version of events has been challenged by the Los Angeles Times,[6] members of the Swanson family[7] and former Swanson employees.[8] They credit the Swanson brothers with the invention. Download high resolution version (2908x1564, 3514 KB) A Swanson TV dinner. ... Download high resolution version (2908x1564, 3514 KB) A Swanson TV dinner. ... Gerry Thomas (1922-2005) was an American salesman who was credited -- over the objections of the Swanson family and former Swanson employees -- with inventing the TV dinner while working for Swanson in 1954, even though he did not own a television himself. ...

Gastropub ready meal from Marks & Spencer.
Gastropub ready meal from Marks & Spencer.

The concept was not original. In 1944, William L. Maxson's frozen dinners were being served on airplanes.[9] Other prepackaged meals were also marketed before Swanson's TV Dinner. In 1948, plain frozen fruits and vegetables were joined by what was then called 'dinner plates' with an entrée, potato, and vegetable. Later, in 1952, the first frozen dinners on oven-ready aluminum trays were introduced by Quaker States Foods under the One-Eye Eskimo label. Quaker States Foods was joined by other companies including Frigi-Dinner, which offered such fare as beef stew with corn and peas, veal goulash with peas and potatoes, and chicken chow mein with egg rolls and fried rice. However Swanson, a large producer of canned and frozen poultry in Omaha, Nebraska, was able to promote the widespread sales and adaption of frozen dinner by using its nationally recognized brand name with an extensive national marketing campaign nicknamed "Operation Smash" and the clever advertising name of "TV dinner," which tapped into the public's excitement around the new device.[10] Image File history File links Gastropub_readymeal_1. ... Image File history File links Gastropub_readymeal_1. ... The Eagle, the first pub to which the term gastropub was applied Gastropub ready meal from Marks & Spencer A gastropub is a British term for a public house (pub) which specializes in high-quality food a step above the more basic pub grub. ... Marks & Spencer plc (sometimes colloquially known also as M&S, Marks and Sparks, Marks or Markss) is a British retailer, with 760 stores in more than 30 countries around the world. ... Year 1948 (MCMXLVIII) was a leap year starting on Thursday (link will display the 1948 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Popular Japanese fashion magazine throughout the 1990s; the photography of which has recently been reissued in two collections from Phaidon press. ... A plate of vegetables Vegetable is a culinary term which generally refers to an edible part of a plant. ... For the university exchange program ENTREE, see European Network for Training and Research in Electrical Engineering. ... For other uses, see Potato (disambiguation). ... Year 1952 (MCMLII) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Beef Stew A stew is a common dish made of vegetables, meat, poultry, or seafood cooked in stock and water. ... Binomial name L. Corn (Zea mays L. ssp. ... Binomial name Pisum sativum A pea (Pisum sativum) is the small, edible round green seed which grows in a pod on a leguminous vine, hence why it is called a legume. ... Veal is the meat of young calves (usually male) appreciated for its delicate taste and tender texture. ... Goulash Goulash with gnocchi Goulash is hell on a plate, originally from wisconson, usually made of fried rice, mangos, teenage mutant ninja tutles, and turd powder. ... “Omaha” redirects here. ...

Health concerns

The freezing process tends to degrade the taste of food, and the meals are thus heavily processed with extra salt and fat to compensate. In addition, stabilizing the product for a long period of time typically means that companies will use partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, which are high in trans fats that can adversely affect cardiovascular health. The dinners are almost always significantly less nutritious than fresh food, and are formulated to remain edible after long periods of storage, thus often requiring preservatives such as BHT. There is, however, some variability between brands.[11] A trans fatty acid (commonly shortened to trans fat) is an unsaturated fatty acid whose molecules contain trans double bonds between carbon atoms, which makes the molecules less kinked compared with those of cis fat. Research suggests a correlation between diets high in trans fats and diseases like atherosclerosis and... A trans fatty acid (commonly shortened to trans fat) is an unsaturated fatty acid molecule that contains a trans double bond between carbon atoms, which makes the molecule less kinked compared to cis fat. Research suggests a correlation between diets high in trans fats and diseases like atherosclerosis and coronary... The circulatory system or cardiovascular system is the organ system which circulates blood around the body of most animals. ... Nutrition is interpreted as the study of the organic process by which an organism assimilates and uses food and liquids for normal functioning, growth and maintenance and to maintain the balance between health and disease. ... Flash point 127 °C R/S statement R: 22-36 37 38 S: 26-36 RTECS number GO7875000 Related compounds Related compounds butylated hydroxyanisole Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa) Infobox disclaimer and references BHT is the common...

In recent years there has been a push by a number of independent manufacturers and retailers to make meals that are low in salt, fat and free of artificial additives. Healthy Choice is one company that markets to the health conscious niche. In the UK, COOK Trading Limited, EazyCuizine and Chef On Board serve a similar niche selling their products either over the internet, through their own retail stores or in farm shops. Most British supermarkets also produce their own "healthy eating" brands. Healthy Choice is the name of a brand of refrigerated and frozen foods owned by ConAgra Foods, Inc. ... COOK Trading Limited is a manufacturer and retailer of Frozen Ready Meals, established in 1997 and based in Tonbridge, Kent and Sittingbourne, Kent. ...

Perhaps as a result of widespread public concern on health grounds, nearly all chilled or frozen ready meals sold the UK are now clearly labeled with the salt, sugar and fat content and the recommended daily intake.

A benefit of frozen dinners is that they are usually fully cooked during preparation, and only need to be reheated by the consumer. This eliminates the possibility of undercooking by misjudging microwave powers and cooking times. More recently, however, frozen dinners have been created that are designed to be used as a steamer, allowing rapid cooking of essentially raw ingredients (typically fish and vegetables) immediately before consumption.

Songs referencing TV dinners

A typical TV Dinner
A typical TV Dinner

Frenchmen eat a lot of bouillabaisse there.
Dutchmen eat a sauce called Hollandaise there.
Smorgasbord in Sweden is the winner.
In America it's TV dinner. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... TV Dinners is a song by Texas rock band ZZ Top, taken from their eighth studio album, 1983s 10-times platinum Eliminator. ... ZZ Top is an American blues rock band formed in 1969 in Houston, Texas. ... Eliminator is the eighth studio album by American blues-rock band ZZ Top, released in 1983 (see 1983 in music). ... Allan Sherman (sometimes incorrectly Alan and Allen), November 30, 1924 – November 20, 1973, was an American musician, parodist, satirist, and television producer. ... Bouillabaisse served in a Brazilian restaurant Bouillabaisse is a traditional Provençal fish stew originating from the port city of Marseille. ... Hollandaise sauce (a French idea of a Dutch sauce) is an emulsion of butter and lemon juice using egg yolks as the emulsifying agent. ... Look up smörgåsbord in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

  • Lou Reed's song of camp ennui, "Goodnight Ladies" mentions a "TV" dinner, which (in the context of the album Transformer) probably stands for transvestism.

Lewis Reed[1] (born March 2, 1942) is an American rock singer-songwriter and guitarist. ... Transformer is Lou Reeds breakthrough second solo album, released in December 1972. ... Transvestism is literally the practice of cross-dressing, wearing the clothing of the opposite sex, and transvestite literally refers to a person who cross-dresses. ...


  1. ^ Swanson TV Dinner FAQ
  2. ^ "Summary of Mintel report - UK Frozen Ready Meals", Mintel International Group Ltd, , March 2006. Retrieved on 2007-04-28. 
  3. ^ "UK meals ‘ready’ for growth", Decision News Media SAS, 2003-11-21. Retrieved on 2006-12-31. 
  4. ^ McMorris, Robert. "Gobbler Glut Spurs Dinners," Omaha World-Herald, May 10, 1996
  5. ^ Swanson 50th Anniversary Celebration 2. Pinnacle Food Brands Corporation (2003). Retrieved on 2006-12-31.
  6. ^ Rivenburg, Roy. "False tales of turkey on a tray", Los Angeles Times, 2005-07-31. Retrieved on 2006-12-31. 
  7. ^ Rivenburg, Roy. "A landmark idea, yes, but whose?" Los Angeles Times, Nov. 23, 2003, p. E1
  8. ^ Library of Congress - Who “invented” the TV dinner?
  9. ^ Ross, Lillian. "Defrosted Dinners", The New Yorker, 1945-08-04. 
  10. ^ Shapiro, Laura (2004), Something from the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America, New York: Penguin Books, ISBN 014303491X
  11. ^ BBC Article - Choose your ready-meal carefully

Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 118th day of the year (119th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 365th day of the year (366th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 365th day of the year (366th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 365th day of the year (366th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links

  • The frozen, chilled and ready made foods industry - business information at the British Library
  • Microwave Meal reviews
  • Healthy Frozen Dinners - A review of the better options in the US

  Results from FactBites:
TV dinner - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (693 words)
The TV dinner is an American invention developed by Gerry Thomas in 1954.
TV Dinners were later celebrated in a song of the same name by ZZ Top on their album Eliminator.
TV dinners, as well as canned soups and broths, are often criticized for having an overabundance of sodium, usually in the form of table salt or soy sauce.
  More results at FactBites »



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