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Top 10 Old School Frozen TV Dinners and Bonus Vintage Ads

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Aah yes, remember those glorious days when the television was invented and we stopped having to look at and talk to our families while we ate.

Neither do we. As far we know it's always been that way.

Give thanks to the boob tube for giving food companies a way to capitalize on lazy Americanism. According to Wikipedia, Swanson, an early innovator, didn't invent the frozen dinner, but they damn sure marketed the hell out of it under their TV Brand Frozen Dinner moniker. The company sold over 10 million dinners in their first year of production.

Three cheers for American ingenuity. Here are our Top 10 picks for classic frozen dinner meals.

Many thanks to imaginaryworld.com for fair use of several of their pics. The rest came from various other sources.

10. Dining In - Frozen Sliced Beef Dinner: It comes with beef gravy, buttered peas, buttered corn, and whole potatoes and cost 39 cents.....what a ripoff. That crap looks worse than prison slop. We like it for the tin tray you can use to make one of those tanning things with that you always see in the movies.

9. Banquet Brand - Turkey Pie: Check this old Banquet turkey pie of horrors out. Sucker looks like a scary movie poster. Deep in the depths of the turkey hole abyss, there were peas, there was crust, and there was gravy...dun, dun, dun. And that "turkey pie" lettering? It looks like what you'd see tattooed on the back of a rampaging carnie's neck from your view taped up in the backseat of a rusted out Dodge.

8. Swanson - German Style Dinner: From the highly vaunted International Menu, get your ummlaut on with this sliced beef with sauerbraten gravy....Umm, I'm guessing most Americans from the time of this box didn't have the internet to google Sauerbraten Gravy with. For all they knew it could have meant "blood of a dumb American gravy," or "super grade F gravy," or "expired braten gravy." Maybe that's why they felt the need to write "Improved!" on the box. Nothin like eating something that needed improvement.

7. Morton - Ham Dinner with Raisin Sauce, Sliced Apples, Buttered Seasoned Peas, Sweet Potatoes: Is it just us or does that look like a pancake with rabbit turds on it. What the hell is up with that. Lookin like five black beans in a yellow puddle. Apples look like smashed pig entrails. Sweet potatoes look like some expired gummy slices that have been in the sun too long. The peas look good though. Tight work Morton.

6. Banquet - Macaroni & Cheese Dinner: First of all, what in the name of sex&drugs is a glazed carrot, like, what's it glazed with? Those peas look like the dental extracts from 80 Dade County crackheads. The design of the tray reminds us of the transformers symbol, but we're pretty sure that pyramid in the middle is part of some secret masonic new world order society. Is it just us or is the tri color background a blatant Pepsi ripoff?

5. Swanson - English Style Fish'n'Chips: The fish look like a cartoon caveman's club, an upside down alien autopsy head, and maybe even a couple of fish dicks. Those fries look soggy even in the picture on the box. Is that what "English Style" means? Or do they just get to call them that because they use some kind of Americanized olde english font. And what's with the stupid hat in the lower right? That logo sucks. It looks like a steamboat gear with some flowers wrapped around it.

4. Swanson - Fried Chicken TV Dinner: This one actually looks good. We would legitimately purchase and eat this. However, the fried chicken sign in the lower right might as well be a British Bathing flag, and as upstanding Americans that just don't sit right with us.

3. Swanson - Meat Loaf Dinner: Yeah, yeah, yeah, this one looks like shit too, but check it out, there's a Stainless Tableware Offer. Stainless Tableware would really come in handy for all those TV dinners we been eating, because obviously somebody who'd rather heat than cook would rather wash silver than throw out plastic.

2. Banquet - Salisbury Steak Dinner: We like the fact that this meal doesn't take the easy way out and put peas and carrots in separate compartments. No, no, no, on the contrary, they mix them up together and add a serving of mashed potatoes. Nice job on that. The steak kinda looks like a saucy turd floating in a river of ass juice, but hey, I guess that's why this one is Number 2.

1. Banquet - Veal Parmagian Dinner: We love the spelling used for parmagian. In our heads we're pronouncing it par-may-gi-en. But this meal really won our hearts and minds with the  small print full disclosure on patty makeup. The "Breaded Veal Patty" is made out of veal, beef, soy protein concentrate, water, rehydrated onions, sugar, salt, MSG, spice and garlic powder. Oh food industry you crafty bitch. Veal is baby cow (or bull), beef is grown up cattle, and soy's not even meat. So the question is, how much of each are in the patty, and just because you call it a Veal Patty does it make it so?

We'll let you figure that out for yourself. Here are some more images we find amusing....

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