Skip to main content

This video gives a quick look at what we used to cook over the past 100 years

100 Years of Family Dinners ★
It literally starts with meat and potatoes — roast beef and Franconia potatoes, to be exact. Mode created a video that charts the history of U.S. dinners over 100 years.

In 1925, things got a little fancier with chicken à la King. The post-war years of 1945 brought Spam to the table, and things don’t really take a departure until 1955 with the TV dinner. It’s interesting to see just how many varieties of meat plus starch plus green thing the video shows. Fast forward to 1985, and many a childhood dinner are represented with a sloppy Joe and macaroni and cheese (from a box, of course). While a little diversity is shown with taco night in the ’90s and sushi in the ’00s, it isn’t until 2015 that things get uber-healthy, with grilled salmon, quinoa, and kale salad on the menu.

Related Videos

What’s interesting is the advances taking place behind these meals. Though there were a few companies making frozen meals before them, Albert and Meyer Bernstein’s Frozen Dinners Inc., founded in 1949, really got the trend going. They were aluminum trays with three compartments, one each for meat, potatoes, and vegetables, according to the Library of Congress. Swanson started calling its product TV dinners, and its first — a turkey, stuffing, peas, and sweet potatoes dinner — cost a pricey 98 cents. It actually started as way to sell the company’s surplus of turkey it had leftover from Thanksgiving, but it took Gerry Thomas, a company salesman, to redesign a Pan American Airways single-compartment aluminum tray into Swason’s three-compartment tray. By 1954, families were eating over 25 million TV dinners, in front of their sets, a year.

The video doesn’t touch much on the microwave version of the TV dinner, but that appliance didn’t become common until the early to mid-1970s.

As for the 2015 meal, it might not be something you cook nightly, but with the advent of ingredient-delivery services like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, it’s definitely something we can see making it onto tables more often. Pair that with techniques like sous vide that are going more mainstream and tons of options for creating indoor gardens, and the potential vision of a typical 2025 meal starts to take shape.

Editors' Recommendations

Nomiku Meals partners with top chefs for sous-vide home delivery
nomiku meals home delivery top chefs sous chef

Nomiku Meals, the regional frozen meal delivery service in California's Bay Area, announced a partnership to bring meals prepared by local top chefs to area homes.

The Nomiku Wi-Fi home sous-vide cooking appliance uses precise water temperature control by an immersion circulator to cook ingredients in sealed bags. The promise is that Nomiku's prepared meals can go from freezer to the table in 30 minutes cooked in water held at exactly the correct temperature.

Read more
Your Uber Eats delivery fee is going up (or maybe down)
uber eats ando

Uber Eats will now cost you more if you order from a restaurant that's a long way from the delivery address.

The change, which does away with the flat-rate delivery fee of $5, came into effect on Wednesday, Cnet reported.

Read more
Miele’s meal kit shows you how to microwave dinner in the 21st century
miele dialog oven meals 2018 068 01

Last year, we introduced you to Miele's Dialog Oven, a unique appliance that relies upon electromagnetic waves in order to cook food more precisely than a conventional oven or a microwave. And now, 12 months later, Miele is back with its latest offering -- meals that are meant to be made in the Dialog.

Not quite a meal kit and not quite a microwave dinner, these new recipe options come from a startup called MChef, which with Miele's backing, is hoping to deliver some seriously 21st-century cooking to modern families. You can either order expertly plated dishes or, for your entertaining needs, an entire three-course menu. When they arrive at your door, the ingredients will already be carefully presented on porcelain plates (MChef isn't messing around), and need simply to be placed in a Dialog Oven before dinner time.

Read more