"It's pretty to look at, but the stuffing has a sawdust aftertaste. All rights reserved. Average Butterball Turkey Breast, 2.5 lbs. "Heavy on the dried herbs, and the turkey is pretty cardboard-like." Swanson took full advantage of this trend, with TV advertisements that depicted elegant, modern women serving these novel meals to their families, or enjoying one themselves. "As frozen turkey dinners go, this is the least depressing. There's a reason that the 26 grams of protein is advertised on the front of the box — it's the only relatively healthy thing this dinner has going for it. ", "Very classic flavors and elements. Family Size Homestyle Gravy & Sliced White Meat Turkey Dinner. "Most bang for your buck: Good tangy cranberry sauce the others don't have. Betty Cronin, Swanson’s bacteriologist, helped the meals succeed with her research into how to heat the meat and vegetables at the same time while killing food-borne germs. Libbyland Dinners. I used to eat these all the time but when I made this particular TV dinner I would only eat the peas and the potatoes I would throw the turkey out the turkey … The National Wild Turkey Federation is committed to protecting the well being of our volunteers, members and event attendees. ... Banquet Frozen Turkey Pot Pie - 7oz. Privacy Statement "The vegetables are terrible -- spongy, flavorless. We've taught you how to cook the perfect turkey, plan the perfect meal, and be the perfect hostess. California Do Not Sell My Info The stuffing is serviceable. "The vegetables are sad and watery. The potatoes are gummy and sweet. : Calorie breakdown: 35% fat, 41% carbs, 24% protein. 4.2 out of 5 stars 14. The TV dinner. Is This Your Brand? Continue Banquet. The turkey is actually okay." "The turkey is too sweet and the vegetables are watery." The stuffing sucks, though." Banquet first hit the store shelves in 1955, offering frozen dinners. But perhaps that was never the main draw. Banquet Turkey Meal. “The best fried chicken I know comes with a TV dinner,” Barbra Streisand told the New Yorker in 1962. But now we've tasted five popular brands, and we can say without … Top image: AP PhotoIn 1954, Swanson revolutionized the American meal with its TV Dinner. Price: $2.99. According to the most widely accepted account, a Swanson salesman named Gerry Thomas conceived the company’s frozen dinners in late 1953 when he saw that the company had 260 tons of frozen turkey left over after Thanksgiving, sitting in ten refrigerated railroad cars. A Brief History of the TV Dinner Thanksgiving’s most unexpected legacy is heating up again. A TV dinner (also called prepackaged meal, ready-made meal, ready meal, frozen dinner, frozen meal and microwave meal) is a packaged frozen meal that comes portioned for an individual. The turkey is made of barf and plastic." My only complaint is a slightly off aftertaste from the mashed potatoes, but that's to be expected with frozen food." And the TV dinner was born. Give a Gift. When tragedy strikes, be ready with a Plan B. (The train’s refrigeration worked only when the cars were moving, so Swanson had the trains travel back and forth between its Nebraska headquarters and the East Coast “until panicked executives could figure out what to do,” according to Adweek.) Specialty stores like Williams Sonoma now stock gourmet TV dinners. Stouffer's. Courtney Sexton, a writer and researcher based in Washington, DC, studies human-animal interactions. Discover the best frozen meals today. Cornbread Dressing, 2 lbs. Banquet features delicious frozen breakfasts, snacks, and dinners that the whole family will love. Hungry Man Classic Fried Chicken, 16.5 Ounce -- 8 per case. Turkey Tv Dinner Banquet English Deutsch Español Français Português (Brasil) Italiano Norsk Nederlands Pусский Svensk Dansk 한국어 日本語 中文(简体) 中文(台灣) $99.89. The first TV dinner featured turkey… ", "This is the only offering that includes all the necessary Thanksgiving dishes: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables and cranberry sauce. 115. Banquet… Vote Now! A TV dinner in the … Tastemakers, of course, sniffed, like the New York Times food critic who observed in 1977 that TV dinner consumers had no taste. Hungry Man Roasted Carved Turkey Dinner 16 oz Pack of 8 3.9 out of 5 stars 2. The next big breakthrough came in 1986, with the Campbell Soup Company’s invention of microwave-safe trays, which cut meal preparation to mere minutes. (50) Leave a Review. Check out the results of our taste test below to find out which brands to buy and which ones to leave in the freezer case. Ultimately, it was the Swanson company that transformed how Americans ate dinner (and lunch)—and it all came about, the story goes, because of Thanksgiving turkey. They had about two dozen women armed with ice cream scoops filling the new trays at night. For many families, though, TV dinners were just the ticket. 3.4 out of 5 stars with 115 reviews. The first production order was for 5,000 dinners, thought to be a big gamble at the time. It's the best turkey of the bunch. Description. Terms of Use Smithsonian Institution, Smithsonian Magazine There are 280 calories in 1 meal (283 g) of Banquet Turkey Meal. Subscribe to Smithsonian magazine now for just $12, Study Rewrites History of Ancient Land Bridge Between Britain and Europe, For the Only Person Ever Hit by a Meteorite, the Real Trouble Began Later, Melting Ice in Norway Reveals Ancient Arrows, In the Ancient American Southwest, Turkeys Were Friends, Not Food, Tens of Thousands of 12,000-Year-Old Rock Paintings Found in Colombia, Hegra, an Ancient City in Saudi Arabia Untouched for Millennia, Makes Its Public Debut, New Prehistoric Marine Reptile Resembled a Miniature Mix of Loch Ness Monster, Alligator and Toothy T. 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Whereas Maxson had called its frozen airline meals “Strato-Plates,” Swanson introduced America to its “TV dinner” (Thomas claims to have invented the name) at a time when the concept was guaranteed to be lucrative: As millions of white women entered the workforce in the early 1950s, Mom was no longer always at home to cook elaborate meals—but now the question of what to eat for dinner had a prepared answer. Really sweet, out-of-place applesauce." from Forsythkid Critique Banquet Salisbury Steak … Get the best of Smithsonian magazine by email. TV dinners have a surprising origin and at one point dominated American markets. The TV dinner. |, (Advertising Archive / Everett Collection). The Swanson company has offered different accounts of this history. Grab-and-go meals might be all the rage, but the ancients also craved convenience —Courtney Sexton, This article is a selection from the November issue of Smithsonian magazine. or Discover the best frozen meals today. And the turkey is rubbery." But are we falling out of love with them as a country? Green Beans, 1 lb. Maxson Food Systems of Long Island used Birdseye’s technology, the double-belt freezer, to sell the first complete frozen dinners to airlines in 1945, but plans to offer those meals in supermarkets were canceled after the death of the company’s founder, William L. Maxson. That's a lot of salt. ", "Half of this meal is applesauce! All Banquet frozen meals are made with wholesome ingredients and offer a wide variety of flavors to please your entire family! But sometimes, all you end up with is the perfect storm -- you forget to defrost your turkey, your oven fails to turn on, or the fire department ends up spending some quality time at your house. Pop them in the oven, and 25 minutes later, you could have a full supper while enjoying the new national pastime: television. Advertising Notice "The potatoes are actually okay. Hungry-Man frozen dinners are big portion meals packed with protein. Quick and nutritious meals from the freezer. By the 1970s, competition among the frozen food giants spurred some menu innovation, including such questionable options as Swanson’s take on a “Polynesian Style Dinner,” which doesn’t resemble any meal you will see in Polynesia. The frozen, three-compartment platter sold for 98¢, which approximately converts to a hefty … Thomas had the idea to add other holiday staples such as cornbread stuffing and sweet potatoes, and to serve them alongside the bird in frozen, partitioned aluminum trays designed to be heated in the oven. This smothered turkey boasts 430 calories, 11 grams of fat, and a whopping 1,370 milligrams of sodium. Name: Stouffer's Roast Turkey. With restaurants closed during Covid-19, Americans are again snapping up frozen meals, spending nearly 50 percent more on them in April 2020 over April 2019, says the American Frozen Food Institute. See ingredients, nutrition, … Cookie Policy The turkey's fine, but what's up with the disproportionate amount of applesauce?" "This is probably the best turkey of the group, has good texture." “In what other way can I get...a single serving of turkey, a portion of dressing...and the potatoes, vegetable and dessert...[for] something like 69 cents?” a Shrewsbury, New Jersey, newspaper quoted one reader as saying. The brand is best known for its line of TV dinners.. Banquet was founded in 1953, with the introduction of frozen meat pies. Weight: 9 5/8 ounces (31 cents per ounce) … To many Americans, the TV dinner tastes like nostalgia; to others, it still tastes like the future. Because emergencies happen to the best of us, we all need a Plan B on Thanksgiving Day. "The stuffing tastes stale and almost chewy. "The turkey is really similar to deli meat." So what's the best way to get your turkey fix on the quick and easy? ", The best recipes, kitchen tips and genius food facts. Mashed Potatoes, 2 lbs. Learn more today. Serves 6-8 People - Comes complete with oven-roasted 4 lb. Forsythkid Critique Banquet Salisbury Steak Meal. They'll all savor our delicious Turkey Meal, with thick slices of white-meat turkey topped with a home-style gravy. Further reading: 1. Banquet Frozen Beef Pot Pie - 7oz. It's not horrible though, and the turkey is nice and tender." TV dinners had found another niche audience in dieters, who were glad for the built-in portion control. by Banquet. Yet the ultimate convenience food was now too convenient for some diners, as one columnist lamented: “Progress is wonderful, but I will still miss those steaming, crinkly aluminum TV trays.”. "The potatoes taste like KFC mashed potatoes. As always, this taste test was in no way influenced or sponsored by the brands included. "The turkey's not awful, probably the best of them all." In 1925, the Brooklyn-born entrepreneur Clarence Birdseye invented a machine for freezing packaged fish that would revolutionize the storage and preparation of food. Whoever provided the spark, this new American convenience was a commercial triumph. #5: Marie Callender's (LAST PLACE: STEER CLEAR), "This looked promising because of the copious mashed potatoes, but there's something wrong with the flavor. Cronin has said that Gilbert and Clarke Swanson, sons of company founder Carl Swanson, came up with the idea for the frozen-meal-on-a-tray, and Clarke Swanson’s heirs, in turn, have disputed Thomas’ claim that he invented it. Recipes and more delivered to your inbox. Banquet Foods and Morton Frozen Foods soon brought out their own offerings, winning over more and more middle-class households across the country. 17th Annual Photo Contest Finalists Announced. We refuse to order takeout, because Chinese food and pizza will only dampen your soul after spending the entire month of November lusting after turkey and stuffing. Banquet's Frozen Turkey Meal makes for a perfect dinner your entire family will enjoy! Some men wrote angry letters to the Swanson company complaining about the loss of home-cooked meals. $83.27. $0.99. Overall, it's like a school lunch. Banquet Foods is a subsidiary of ConAgra Foods that sells various food products, including frozen pre-made entrées, meals, and desserts. Restaurants from Detroit to Colorado Springs to Los Angeles are offering frozen versions of their dishes for carryout, a practice that some experts predict will continue beyond the pandemic. Keep up-to-date on: © 2020 Smithsonian Magazine. It's so heavy and sweet! Find nutritional information, where to buy, and more. Frozen Thanksgiving-style meals exist -- and before this taste test , that's about all we could say for them. 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