You’ve probably enjoyed a few Swanson TV dinners. They feature everything from chicken or turkey to corn or green beans. An employee who worked at Swanson in 1953 mistakenly ordered several turkeys. He wanted to figure out a way to get rid of all of them without wasting any. Gerry Thomas decided that he would put the turkey with dressing and gravy into aluminum trays that had compartments. He also included a few vegetables and a dessert of sweet potatoes. Each dinner was sold individually for 98 cents. People across the country thought that they were delicious, making the small dinners a big hit, especially with people who didn’t want to cook. That’s where the idea of the TV dinner originated from. A mistake of ordering more turkeys than needed resulted in a hit among many who still consume them at other times during the year. The dinners now include a variety of vegetables, desserts, and meats. They can be cooked in the microwave or in the oven and enjoyed anywhere. There were over 10 million of the convenient dinners sold in the first year of production. Thomas thought about the packaged dinner after seeing meals on an airplane and the design of the items in each compartment.
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