Friday Fun Facts- Let’s Freeze Our Food

Good Morning Musetrackers!

Frozen foods. Now there’s a topic you probably would never have thought about researching. Good thing I do the ground work for you! Ha!

Before I regale you with fascinating history, I want to share with you a memory from my childhood. I didn’t grow up in the United States. My younger years were spent in several different countries, but for a huge chunk of it, I lived in Malaysia. Life was very good. That being said, imported foods were sporadic. We shopped once a month and had a large “go-down” at the back of our kitchen. A “go-down” is like a walk-in pantry or larder. When an item was in stock, we bought several of them because we never knew when the next shipment would be. My mother would treat us a few times a year to frozen dinners. Don’t laugh! It was a supreme treat! I clearly remember being able to choose my Swanson fried chicken dinner with such excitement. They weren’t always available and when they were, their cost was quite dear. Ah, the simple pleasures in life.20080631-chicken-tv-dinner

So where did this idea of frozen dinners come from? Well, here’s some fun facts:

-Ancient Chinese and Greeks experimented with cellars made of ice or insulated with snow to keep food fresh longer.

-Clarence Birdseye (a Canadian) used freezing technology with food so it could be sold as a convenience item. Name sound familiar?

– Frozen foods weren’t popular until WWII when the need for metal made frozen foods more appealing than canned.

-After the war, television was invented and people didn’t want to cook as much when certain shows came on.old-skool-tv-set

-TV dinners actually didn’t take off right away. It wasn’t until someone made a HUGE mistake at Swansons and Sons that our modern day dinner came about.

-In 1953 they had an extra 520,000 pounds of left over turkeys after Thanksgiving. Whoops!happy_thanksgiving_MooingTurkeys

-A traveling salesman for the company designed an aluminum tray that looked like a television complete with “control” knobs, filled it with turkey, gravy, potatoes, corn, and a dessert. Bam! The TV dinner!

-Psychologist say that because the tray is segmented and keeps our foods from touching, it reminds us of childhood. We all like things that remind us of being a kid.kidsplaying

7 Responses to Friday Fun Facts- Let’s Freeze Our Food

  1. How funny!! TV dinners were a treat at our house as well! That was in the very early days before they started putting all the crap in them. I shared and tweeted.

  2. It truly was a case of “the simple pleasures”! Thanks for being so supportive of Musetracks.

  3. jbrayweber says:

    Very cool info, Stacey! Can’t say that TV dinners were a treat in my house. I was a teen before I had my first taste. It was one of the Mexican versions, I remember that much.

  4. What?? I experienced an American phenomenon before you? How did that happen? 🙂

  5. pibarrington says:

    Late reading this; was ill. I love it again! I knew that ancient peoples froze or cooled food, but I love the info on the history of TV dinners! I remember them too but don’t remember them as a treat. Still adore all the unknown details of how they came about, especially about the salesman who thought of the idea of making them look like TVs! Great article Stacey!
    Patti

  6. Hi Patti! I have to say, I’ve enjoyed writing these weird tid bits because I’m a history junkie. The stranger, the better! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed our new series here at Musetracks.

  7. An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a co-worker who has been doing a little homework on this.
    And he actually bought me breakfast because I found it for him…
    lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!!
    But yeah, thanks for spending the time to talk about this subject here on your
    internet site.

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