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You have a hangover. What kind of foods do you crave the next day?


History lesson

Ever hear your grandparents talk about TV dinners?

Alright, darling, grab your TV remote, and let's take a trip down memory lane! If you thought the "girl dinner" was the ultimate in convenience, then honey, you haven't met its granddaddy: the microwave dinner. Let's dive into this deliciously retro world!

Back in the day, before TikTok and even before color TV, the world was introduced to the marvel of the TV dinner. And no, it wasn't just a plate of leftovers you ate while binging your favorite show. The TV dinner was a revolution in the kitchen, and it all started with a surplus of Thanksgiving turkeys. Can you imagine? A mountain of turkeys and nowhere to go! Enter Gerry Thomas, a visionary from Swanson, who had the brilliant idea of packaging these turkeys into individual meals. And just like that, the TV dinner was born!

Now, if you're picturing a plastic tray that goes "ding" in the microwave, think again. The original TV Dinner came in an aluminum tray and was heated in an oven. That's right, darling, no microwaves back then! And the price? A mere 98 cents. Talk about a bargain!

But wait, there's a plot twist! While Gerry Thomas claimed the fame for inventing the TV dinner, there were whispers and rumors. Some said it was the Swanson brothers themselves, while others whispered names of smaller companies that had dabbled in frozen dinners before Swanson entered the scene. The drama, the intrigue! It's like a soap opera but with more gravy.

And speaking of gravy, let's talk about the menu. The first Swanson-brand TV Dinner was a feast fit for a king—or at least a very hungry couch potato. Picture this: a succulent serving of turkey, cornbread dressing, frozen peas, and sweet potatoes. Each delicacy had its own compartment, making it the perfect meal for those who can't stand their foods touching. And the best part? You could eat it right out of the tray! No dishes, no fuss. Just pure, unadulterated convenience.

As the years rolled by, the TV dinner evolved. Swanson, being the trendsetter, added desserts to their meals. Apple cobbler, anyone? And then came the breakfast TV dinners because why should dinner have all the fun? Pancakes, sausages, and even breakfast sandwiches made their debut. And for those with a bigger appetite, the "Hungry-Man" dinners were introduced. More food, more flavor, more fun!

By the time the 1980s hit, technology had caught up with our insatiable appetite for convenience. Enter the microwave-safe tray. No more waiting for the oven to preheat. Just a few minutes, and voila! Dinner was served.

Across the pond in the UK, the frozen meal trend caught on a bit later in the 1970s. But when it did, it took off like a rocket. From traditional British dishes to exotic Indian and Chinese meals, the UK embraced the convenience of the frozen meal with open arms.

So, the next time you're munching on a "girl dinner" or popping a frozen meal into the microwave, take a moment to appreciate the rich, flavorful history behind it. From a surplus of turkeys to a global phenomenon, the TV dinner has truly earned its place in the culinary hall of fame. And who knows? Maybe one day, we'll be telling our grandkids about the "girl dinner" trend, and they'll look at us with wide-eyed wonder, just as we do when thinking of the first TV dinner. Bon appétit!


Quiz WriterHaven

As a child, Haven enjoyed learning everything they could about many subjects, though the best resource was her grandma’s old stack of encyclopedias in those days. Today, Haven still likes to know a bit about everything. When they're not researching information for their posts or flexing that history degree, Haven's going through the quizzes of other authors on the site - because this is where the facts are found! Visitors to our site turn to Haven's fun and factual articles to learn about all kinds of things, from do-it-yourself ideas to the wider world. Those who prefer to get their facts in article format can find Haven all across the web, as well.

Did you know?

What are the origins of the charcuterie board?

The charcuterie board wasn't always the glamorous array of delicacies that it is today. The platters of fine cheeses, figs, and expensive deli meats is not a modern way of dining. In fact, the trendy charcuterie has been around for centuries and dates back to 15th century France. Around the 18th century, the much-loved charcuterie board became popular across France and its neighboring countries. When Millennials arrived on the scene, they ensured the charcuterie board became a way of life.

Derived from a French word meaning "cooked flesh," charcuterie first started in butcher shops. French butchers refused to waste any part of the meat, which meant serving up everything from heart to kidneys and brain. These less tasty parts were often cured and served on a platter with other meats. It was mainly pork that was used for charcuterie. It was also customary to serve all the meats with wine. Aren't you glad that the charcuterie board has changed from organs and offal to deli meats and delicious cheeses?

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