According to the American Frozen Food Institute, the average American consumes six frozen meals each month. So if getting up off the couch to make dinner is enough to give you “freezer burn”; you’re among friends here.
All puns aside; TV dinners are quite popular in North America—so much so that September 10th has been deliciously dubbed “National TV Dinner Day” across the U.S.
The frozen TV dinner was initially trademark by C.A. Swanson & Sons in 1954. However, Swanson can’t take credit for the first compartmentalized meal—those were served on airlines long before.
Initially, before the invention of microwave ovens, TV dinners were packed in aluminum trays and heated in a conventional oven. However, as microwaves grew in popularity, the aluminum trays were replaced by plastic “microwavable” trays.
And because you all like to sit back and be entertained, here are a few tid-bits of TV dinner trivia…
- The first mass marketed TV dinner from Swanson & Sons, in 1953, is still housed at the Museum of American History.
- The very first TV dinner on market was a Thanksgiving-themed meal of turkey, peas, sweet potatoes and cornbread dressing.
- Desserts put the finishing touch on consumer-bought TV dinners starting in 1960.
- In 1987, a replicated TV dinner tray was installed in the Smithsonian’s permanent collection, in honor of the convenience meal’s impact on U.S. culture.