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Location: South Amboy, New Jersey

I am deeply involved in trying to solve the discrepancy between being interested in zen and trying to acquire all the things I've been accumulating

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Mr. Know It All, Part the First

If you were Mr. Know-It-All you'd already know the answer to the following two questions (I'm not embarrassed to admit that I didn't know either of them):

1) What was the origin of the TV Dinner?
2) What the hell is Spam made of?

The story behind the TV Dinner comes from a really cool book that I picked out of the Barnes & Noble clearance section: 50s: A Perfect View of the Past (Barnes & Noble Books, 2004). This is an attractive little hardcover with a $14.95 cover price. It comes with a DVD and was only $4.99. Anyway, here's what it says about the TV Dinner:

In 1953, C.A. Swanson & Sons had a problem -- 270 tons of left over Thanksgiving turkey! After Thanksgiving Swanson had ten refrigerated railroad cars -- each containing 520,000 pounds of unsold turkeys -- going back and forth across the USA because there was nowhere to store them.

A breakthrough idea came from the trays used to serve airline food -- and the TV Dinner was born. Swanson sold ten million of them that year.

And now for the grisly truth about SPAM courtesy of W.C Privy's Original Bathroom Companion Number 2 edited by Erin Barrett and Jack Mingo (St. Martin's Grifffin, 2003): Seeing pork shoulders piling up in the coolers of the George A. Hormel Company in 1937 gave one of its executives an idea. Why not chop the meat up, add some spices and ham from other parts of the pig and form it into small ham-like loaves? Put it in a can and fill the excess space with gelatin from the pig's leftover skin and bones -- you could probably keep the meat edible for months without refrigeration.

Coming up next: Who is actually Mr. Know-It-All and which writer/critic thinks he's really Mr. Know-It-All? (he isn't even close).


Blogger Bill said...

I don't know Mr. Know It All, but I love that kind of trivia.

4:45 AM  
Blogger Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Both of these subjects have been covered on the Food Channel recently. One wonders why there isn't a Spam TV dinner, but I guess you can't have everything.

12:13 PM  

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