Wednesday, May 20, 2009
The Swanson Hungry-Man "fried chicken" TV dinner
As a kid, Swanson TV dinners were the staple meal to eat as a result of being a really good and well behaved kid. At least that's what the parents told me. Little did I know it was actually a break for my mom from prepping and cooking food.
It seems like such a ruse now but back then, as a kid, I loved TV dinners. It didn't matter what the reason for having them were. The compartmentalization of food had a space age coolness to please any 9 year old Star Wars brainwashed kid. Plus the meals came complete with some kind of cake desserty thing that you could eat before or along with your meal when the parents weren't looking. Hurray for the TV dinner!
We would gather around the TV with the TV tables set up in front of the couch, tune into whatever Christmas special was on (most likely Charlie Brown) and chow down on the food surrounded by aluminum foil. It was so good.
As an adult one generally does not have the restrictions set by parents. As soon as we move out the limits set on us can go out the window. Dinner after midnight, dessert with no dinner, a dinner with no vegetables, a cupboard filled with jelly logs and Tang, heck even a freezer filled with TV dinners. It's like a dream. I realize as I say this I sound a lot like a single bachelor. That I am and while I am I will take in the full opportunity to stock piling junk food and enjoying it to the fullest.
It's been years since I had my last TV dinner. I keep a look out in the frozen food section every now and then to see what's available but never reached out a grabbed something until today. The TV dinner sale at the local grocery store had the dinners marked at only $2 each. "Wooo" I thought to myself as I started loading my shopping cart with a few boxes.
I only bought three. Partially due to freezer space and partially because I wondered if they still contained the same goodness as when I was a kid. Memory gets all blurred. TV shows you used to watch as a kid do not always hold up as an adult. Food could be the same.
The packaging of the TV dinners were different now. Labelled "Hungry-Man" and boasting one pound of food! They seem more sensationalized than I remember. Even the aluminum foil wrapping was gone. The food is now stored in ergonomic plastic with a transparent plastic sheet covering the food. Ah yes, with the advent of microwave technology aluminum foil can't be used any more.
The fried chicken was more like large chicken nuggets than actual fried chicken as for the rest well you can't really mess up instant mashed potatoes, or corn, and the chocolate brownie still tasted okay.
What worries me is the heating up the plastic which surrounds the food. Even if the plastic doesn't give off cancer forming dioxens and what not, I was a little concerned when it left a bunch of black gook on my place mat. It's possible that the black gook was from something previously burnt on my cookie sheet but I'm not sure.
I suppose I should buy more TV dinners to do more research.