These 8 vintage frozen TV dinners look strange and unhealthy and we want to eat them all
Peel back the foil and dig into these beans, franks, crisps, peas, chopped meats and Twinkies.
Top image: AP Photo
In 1954, Swanson revolutionized the American meal with its TV Dinner. The frozen, three-compartment platter sold for 98¢, which approximately converts to a hefty $8.65 in today's dollars. At least the aluminum trays came packaged in a nifty box that looked like a television, with the U.S.D.A. seal and price emulating knobs.
At first, the selection offered the staples — turkey, beef, chicken. But the industry quickly branched out, giving people a taste of "International" cuisine.
We are all a little nostalgic for TV dinners, the peeling back of the foil, the tongue-burning hot apple desserts that we would always eat first. Here are some of the more creative frozen meals from the 1960s and 1970s.
1. Morton 3-Course Chicken-N Dumplings
The "handy salad tray" could be removed to keep a cool portion. Wait… that's a salad? It looks like a fruit cup in Elmer's glue. It draws our attention away from the main course. We are not quite sure which chunks are the "Chicken-N" and which are the dumplings.
2. Morton Beef Pattie Twinkie Supper
This comes from a 1974 ad for Morton. One could get a Twinkie with a burger, some spaghetti, pizza or a hot dog. A.k.a. the breakfast of champions.
Image: Flickr / Dan Goodsell
3. Swanson Beans and Franks
The arrangement of the hot dogs looks like an emoji for a sad face. Flipping the frank would have done wonders for the subliminal messaging.
See how much happier this looks?
Image: Flickr / jasonliebigstuff
4. Swanson Corned Beef Hash Dinner
Sad Hot Dog Emoji had a friend, the Chunky Triangle Loaf.
Image: Etsy / PrintAdStudios
5. Swanson Polynesian Style Dinner
For a taste of the Pacific, Swanson bundled chow mein, an orange tea cake and fried meat chunks into a mouth luau.
6. Swanson German Style Dinner
The dessert is typically the big draw on a TV dinner, but this one looks like a petrified egg. This looks like something from Grimms' Fairy Tales.
7. Libbyland Safari Supper
Libby's went after the younger set with their playful Libbyland meals. Originally, they came with "Magic Milk," which was later replaced with the branded Nestle's Quik. The box popped up into a cartoon backsplash, and the options included Pirate Picnic, Sundown Supper, Sea Diver's Dinner and Safari Supper. Putting images of monkeys and lions on a box of a mystery meat might not be smart marketing. The kid in the ad does not seem exactly jazzed to eat this.
Image: Flickr / jbcurio
8. Swanson Mexican Style Frozen Dinner
They say your meals should be colorful. Well, this tray was a rainbow of brown, burnt orange, burnt sienna, rust, brick, ochre and umber. It was basically camouflaged in the shag-carpeted, wood-paneled living rooms of the 1970s.
Image: Vintage Adventures