The TV Dinner Gourmet Makeover

Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Note to the editors of Family Circle, circa 1971: adding embellishments to TV dinners does not make them ready for Bon Appetit magazine! This wacky article from back in the day shows how you can "glamorize" (their word, not mine) ordinary frozen meals. Some of the pepper-uppers are no-brainers and/or quite odd: rolled up salami cones for macaroni and cheese, and halfed cherry tomatoes mixed with corn. Pine nuts in your fruit compote and pimentos in peas say instant mmmmmmm. Something called onion bits were sprinkled onto the mashed potatoes, and "fish-shaped nibbles" float in the tomato soup. Um, you mean goldfish crackers?

Actually, they don't look all that bad. I admit that I used to love TV dinners when I was a kid - never mind that they were full of salty, processed excuses for meat. My favorite dessert was the chocolate cake/brownie.

Before and after pictures below...quite the inspiration for the aspiring retro chef:


  1. i guess you could try to fool dinner guests by the embellishments. ;) i also loved it when we had tv dinner growing up.

  2. Gotta love how the cutlery, crockery, napkin AND tablecloth all match!

    I think I am too young to have experienced the TV dinner phase. They look, err, interesting!

  3. That chicken was horrible. I did learn to love peas, tho through the TV dinners :)

  4. My world is full of embellishments. :)

  5. The Turkey (with the mashed that would sear your lips) and the Salibury Steak (a hamburger with the industrial brown seal-coat gravy) were my favorites. Mmmm.
    My mom swore by the family size Banquet chicken.


  6. Man I LOVED Swanson Dinners as a kid. To me it was a treat! MUST have been the marketing. LOL!


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