#132 Peas & Carrots

132 Peas & Carrots
#132 Peas & Carrots
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 Peas&Carrots&MashedPotatoesAllSpilledTogether

Well, that’s what hap­pened to those ear­ly TV din­ners after you took them out of the oven: the veg­eta­bles & mashed pota­toes (or what­ev­er that white stuff was) were hard­ly sep­a­rat­ed by the com­part­ments in the alu­minum trays, and would inad­ver­tant­ly cross over to mix with each oth­er. The gravy would also get into the act some­times, too. 

Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner was Swanson’s original TV Dinner, 1953

Sumptuous, and how! Have you ever seen such a Thanksgiving spread? See how ultra-​white those potatoes look? They really were that color! Notice how the package resembles a TV screen. From the Chicago Sunday Tribune Magazine, January 20, 1957.

To me, that was the sec­ond best part of the TV din­ner fla­vor, where the dif­fer­ent foods would inter­min­gle. (It’s prob­a­bly why I like peas & mashed pota­toes mixed togeth­er.) But my favorite sen­sa­tion was the smoky fla­vor of the mashed pota­toes that always got burned on top, cre­at­ing a tasty, crispy crust. Of course, that meant that the veg­eta­bles got singed too, giv­ing them the fla­vor of today’s trendy roast­ed veg­eta­bles. (Were TV din­ners ahead of their time?) Unfor­tu­nate­ly, it also meant that in selec­tions such as “Roast­ed Turkey with Stuff­ing” the “stuff­ing” was more like toast where it got burnt, espe­cial­ly when it did­n’t even get mixed with the gravy in the pro­duc­tion line. (Is that why I also like my toast and Eng­lish muffins charred all the way to black?)

Named & marketed for an entertainment phenomenon

from Wikipedia:

The first Swanson-​brand TV Din­ner was pro­duced in the Unit­ed States and con­sist­ed of a Thanks­giv­ing meal of turkey, corn­bread dress­ing, frozen peas and sweet pota­toes[3] pack­aged in a tray like those used at the time for air­line food ser­vice. Each item was placed in its own com­part­ment. The trays proved to be use­ful: the entire din­ner could be removed from the out­er pack­ag­ing as a unit, the tray with its alu­minum foil cov­er­ing could be heat­ed direct­ly in the oven with­out any extra dish­es, and one could eat the meal direct­ly from the tray. The prod­uct was cooked for 25 min­utes at 425 °F (218 °C) and fit nice­ly on a TV tray table. The orig­i­nal TV Din­ner sold for 98 cents, and had a pro­duc­tion esti­mate of 5,000 din­ners for the first year.

The name “TV din­ner” was coined by Ger­ry Thomas, its inven­tor. At the time it was intro­duced, tele­vi­sions were sta­tus sym­bols and a grow­ing medi­um. Thomas thought the name “TV Din­ner” sound­ed like the prod­uct was made for con­ve­nience (which it was), and the Swan­son exec­u­tives agreed.

Wikipedia arti­cle (ver­ba­tim)

New & exciting: dessert!

Dessert was introduced in 1960. Note the 99¢ price. What’s interesting, is you can still find TV dinners on sale for 88¢, over 50 years later. 

In 1960 a small com­part­ment was added between the veg­eta­bles and pota­toes which con­tained anoth­er course: dessert! It was usu­al­ly some­thing like a choco­late brown­ie or fruit cob­bler. I always looked for­ward to the dessert, but some­times it was a total fail­ure when, unlike the deli­cious acci­den­tal com­bi­na­tion of peas & car­rots & pota­toes, it turned out to be peas & car­rots & apple crisp & mashed pota­toes. (The apple crisp was nev­er crisp, either — always mushy or down­right burnt.)

Innovation & end of a deliciously baked (or burnt) era

Around 1967 the microwave oven forced the TV din­ner tray to switch from alu­minum to plas­tic (unless you want­ed to destroy both your din­ner and your brand new appli­ance) . I miss eat­ing out of a met­al tray (I have no idea why), but the real down­fall for me was how the food tast­ed after it was cooked. No more over­baked pota­toes, no more scorched stuff­ing. Once in awhile I’ll pur­chase a TV din­ner (when they’re on sale for 88¢) and I still missed those fla­vors. (I almost placed a microwave TV din­ner in the oven once to relive that fla­vor but real­ized my dumb idea in time. Burnt pota­toes, yes; burnt plas­tic, no.)

Amana Radarange 1976

Amana Radarange circa 1976.
NO ALUMINUM TV DINNER TRAYS, PLEASE!
Image from the​hen​ry​ford​.org

To this day, peas & car­rots is one of my favorite veg­etable side dish­es. Some­times I even make it my main course. In fact, some­times I’ll fin­ish off peas & car­rots & mashed pota­toes in an oven to get that burnt fla­vor and crispy crust. Much as I love fresh & frozen peas, I detest the fla­vor of canned peas. (No, I don’t slice and dice my own like I should.) 

Do you remember the original TV dinners where all the compartments mixed everything together?

Or the excit­ing new dessert com­part­ment? Do you miss the old alu­minum trays like I do? Ever blow up your microwave like I almost did? Share your mem­o­ries with fel­low amper­sand fans & TV din­ner fans.

 Please comment here.


Production notes for #132 Peas & Carrots:
Original size: 20x30 inches

Program: Adobe Illustrator (main illustrations and typography), Photoshop (to modify background watercolor paper)
Font: Desyrel (duplicate letters slightly modified)

Ampersand: watercolor images deposit​pho​tos​.com, pea & carrot shapes by Chaz, watercolor paper background by psd​graph​ics​.com
Credits:
watercolor images deposit​pho​tos​.com
watercolor paper background psd​graph​ics​.com
Swanson Turkey Dinner package: boing​bo​ing​.net
Swanson Turkey Dinner print ad: thewritelife61​.com
Family with TV dinner tray (and TV): i0​.wp​.com/​w​w​w​.​m​o​r​t​a​l​j​o​u​r​n​e​y​.​com
Amana Radarange: the​hen​ry​ford​.org/​c​o​l​l​e​c​t​i​o​n​s​-​a​n​d​-​r​e​s​e​a​r​ch/
Articles about the TV dinner:
en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​T​V​_​d​i​n​ner
i0​.wp​.com/​w​w​w​.​m​o​r​t​a​l​j​o​u​r​n​e​y​.​com
thewritelife61​.com/​2​0​1​8​/​0​9​/​1​0​/​g​i​v​e​-​m​e​-​s​i​x​-​m​i​n​u​t​e​s​-​a​n​d​-​i​l​l​-​g​i​v​e​-​y​o​u​-​s​u​p​p​e​r​-​t​h​e​-​s​t​o​r​y​-​o​f​-​t​h​e​-​t​v​-​d​i​n​n​er/
recipes​.how​stuff​works​.com/​1​0​-​b​r​e​a​k​t​h​r​o​u​g​h​s​-​i​n​-​t​v​-​d​i​n​n​e​r​s​1​.​htm
boing​bo​ing​.net/​2​0​1​6​/​1​0​/​0​3​/​t​h​i​n​g​s​-​i​-​m​i​s​s​-​t​h​e​-​s​w​a​n​s​o​n​-​t​v​.​h​tml
men​talfloss​.com/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​/​5​8​8​0​8​/​1​1​-​r​e​a​d​y​-​d​i​g​e​s​t​-​t​i​d​b​i​t​s​-​a​b​o​u​t​-​t​v​-​d​i​nner
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To download a full-​size high-​resolution 11x17-​inch poster, click on the image.

For pro­fes­sion­al graph­ic design, please vis­it Des­i­mone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!

#80 Believe & Achieve in 2016 — Happy New Year!

80-Believe-&-Achieve-wm


#80 Believe & Achieve
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This is a high-​resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

Happy New Year

First, have a blast cel­e­brat­ing 2015! Then use these tips to keep your New Year’s res­o­lu­tions.

If you haven’t made any res­o­lu­tions yet—because you know they are so excru­ci­at­ing­ly hard to keep—read this won­der­ful advice from a friend, Tam­mi Bran­nan. You might even want to rethink your New Year’s res­o­lu­tions and actu­al­ly look for­ward to keep­ing them in 2016!

When choos­ing New Year’s Res­o­lu­tions that you want to achieve, make sure you do these 3 things:

  1. Iden­ti­fy 2 – 3 areas in your life you’d like to improve.
  2. Pick one action item for each area that you can do now to exact change.
  3. For 5 min­utes, 3 times a day focus on each action item, whether you’re say­ing it to your­self as a promise or you’re tak­ing steps towards accom­plish­ing that action.

The 2 rea­sons why folks fail when it comes to their New Year’s Res­o­lu­tions is because they:

  1. Pick Res­o­lu­tions they don’t care too much about achiev­ing, and…
  2. Sit by in hopes their New Year’s Res­o­lu­tion will come to them, instead of tak­ing active steps to achieve them.

If find­ing the per­fect occu­pa­tion or busi­ness is one of your 2016 goals, Tam­mi Bran­nan offers career devel­op­ment coach­ing for indi­vid­u­als & teams. She says, “Live a life that is truer to you.” You’ll find lots of insight­ful videos & arti­cles at her web­site, Instinc​tiveLife​.com. I endorse Tam­mi as a per­son of high integri­ty & gen­uine con­cern for indi­vid­u­als.


To Do & To Don’t List

AmperArt-TO-DONT-LIST-2016-227w

fea­tur­ing the Pan­tone Col­ors of the Year for 2016

Here’s a TO DO LIST guar­an­teed to sim­pli­fy your life. It’s actu­al­ly my spe­cial­ly designed TO DO & TO DON’T list. This is brand-​new art­work in the two Pan­tone Col­ors of the Year for 2016: Rose Quartz & Seren­i­ty. Down­load the TO DO & TO DON’T list here and print out sev­er­al copies for your friends.


chaz sez ...

My favorite quote about dreams & pos­si­bil­i­ties is by Walt Dis­ney, who real­ly accom­plished some aston­ish­ing feats. (Did you know Dis­ney­land was built in less then one year from ground­break­ing to open­ing day?) Walt said:

 “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”

And he did. Birdies sing & flow­ers croon.

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