March 6th is Frozen Food Day–and we fantasize a lot about the Golden Age of that new technology, when moms could buy an entire weeks worth of dinners in little boxes and look cutting edge! Actually, that probably was never really true. Even back in the ’60s, there was Steve McQueen in Bullit showing his disdain for life by casually grabbing frozen food boxes and throwing them in his cart without even looking at them. We’d probably be considered bad mothers back then, too. Besides, frozen foods had actually been around since 1930, courtesy of Clarence Birdseye.
That’s a name that ended up on many a frozen food package. Birdseye wasn’t some guy in Marketing, though. He actually got the idea of frozen foods while he was on a fur-trapping expeditions in Canada. He saw the native there preserving their food supply by freezing. Then his humble idea became revolutionary with the invention of television back in the 1950s. It seems like a joke now, but America really did become entranced by frozen TV dinners, with an entree and side dish and dessert all heated up at the same time.
Frozen foods kept up with the times, too. Lean Cuisine began back in the ’60s, and Weight Watchers had their own line of diet frozen foods back then. Then the microwave came along in the ’70s, and there were more healthier options in the ’90s, and…well, we just don’t understand why we’re still cooking at all.
Interestingly enough, Frozen Food Day wasn’t even declared back in in the product’s freeze-dried heyday. The official proclamation was issued by President Ronald Reagan back in 1984. That was the decade when frozen food became frozen entrees, along with other attempts to seem upscale. A national holiday couldn’t have hurt. We’re fooling around with a few recipes in our kitchen for tomorrow. For today, though, let’s look back at the good old days of marketing frozen foods. Back when it was fun to be in the kitchen, and mothers might have even told the occasional white lie about slaving over a hot stove all day. Yeah. We’ve done that a few times nowadays, too. Thanks, frozen food! Someday we’ll get the nerve to try it with take-out…