Here’s something else to be thankful for today… Thanksgiving is responsible for the birth of the TV dinner! We haven’t called them that in a long time, but before there was a Healthy Choice or Marie Callender’s, there were Swanson TV dinners.
According to the Smithsonian Magazine, the first pre-packaged dinners were invented in 1953 when the Swanson company had 260 tons of leftover frozen turkeys from Thanksgiving that they didn’t sell that year. A company salesman came up with the idea to get trays and put together pre-cooked dinners with the turkey, plus cornbread dressing, gravy, peas and sweet potatoes that people could just heat up in the oven.
Their only goal was to find a way to get rid of the extra meat without losing money… but by the next year, the company had sold 10 million dinners and started an industry.
Back in the day, my favorite TV dinner was the one that had the apple pie that you had to keep covered in foil while it was in the oven!