Food - TV Dinners

Did you ever wonder why they're called TV dinners? The truth is, it doesn't have anything to do with your television set. It was just a phrase that was coined by a guy by the name of Swanson who is basically given credit for inventing this idea. Another truth is, the science of heating and freezing food was discovered long before Swanson. But that's another story.

In a nutshell, the reason TV dinners were made was because food had a bad tendency to spoil quickly if it wasn't cooked and eaten right away. We didn't have all the preservatives that we do today in order to slow this process down. So by freezing the food after cooking, it slowed down the spoiling process. Today, this is a pretty common food that we can find in the frozen section in our supermarkets.

And while the Swanson TV dinners are still there, over 50 years later, there are other brands that have come into the market and give Swanson quite a run for their money in terms of price and quality, not that TV dinners are anything you'd want to serve at a fancy banquet. In comparison to most other foods, TV dinners taste rather bland. That's why many of the manufacturers have to load them up with sodium in order to give them some flavor. Just take a look at the label of ingredients to see what's up with these nutritional nightmares.

In fairness, there have been some TV dinners that have come out over the past few years that are a cut above the norm. These are mostly dinners made for people who are health conscious. One of the best and most popular of these is Healthy Choice. The ingredients on these dinners are actually not too bad. They still don't taste much better than the other commercial dinners and in some ways taste even worse, but they are certainly much better for you.

There is certainly a large variety of the types of dinners you can get. Unlike the early days where you were pretty much limited to fried chicken, roast beef and turkey, today there are dinners for practically every type of meal from pasta to Chinese.

I guess the question you have to ask is, "Why do we eat these things if they're so bad tasting and so bad for you?" Well, the answer to that is pretty simple. In today's fast paced society, especially with both the husband and wife working, people don't have the time to prepare a normal dinner, at least not always. TV dinners, especially with the invention of the microwave, allow a family to have a quick meal without all the fuss. How quick? Some of these dinners can be made in as little as 7 to 10 minutes. The ones that are more involved, like the "Hungry Man Dinners" take a little longer. And of course all this depends upon the power of your microwave. Instructions are on the box so it's pretty hard to mess these up.

Good or bad, TV dinners are pretty much here to stay.

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About The Author, Michael Russell
Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Food