TV Dinners Then & Now
Monday, August 27, 2012
When I was a kid and my parents went away, I was never too sad about them being gone because it meant I would get to eat a glorious TV dinner. My choice (of course) was Swansons fried chicken with mashed potatoes, peas and carrots, and cherry cobbler, all tucked inside it's beautiful aluminum nest. I can still see the little compartment with the mashed potatoes and the perfectly square, frozen pat of what I'm certain in 1980 could only have been a disgusting oil-bomb of yellow margarine. The only downside to eating my frozen treasure was the hour long wait it took to heat up in the oven before I could finally pull back the tinfoil curtain on my lip-smackin'-finger-lickin-culinary delight.
Today, things have certainly changed. The freezer section of any grocery store now offers every frozen entree you could ever possibly desire (with the added bonus of only 3-6 minutes cook time in the microwave), but nothing matches my generation's first frozen experience. Now I've started to see crazy cool chefs serving their own versions of the classic TV dinners, things like buffalo "salisbury" steak with gruyere mashed potatoes, root vegetable sauté, and a summer berry crisp, all served on a reusable, environmentally-friendly, ceramic compartmentalized tray, trying to evoke the look and feel of times gone by. While I'm sure the new wave of gourmet TV dinners are absolutely delicious, nothing beats the memories of me comfortably stretched out on the couch watching the Brady Bunch and happily devouring my artery clogging, finger-licking, prized TV dinner.