Sunday, April 15, 2018

TV Time/Jiffy Pop Popcorn (food)

(1950s-60s)

TV TimeThe 1950s were a time for food experiments, not so much in new flavors, like today, but in new and more convenient ways to prepare it. And in the time when a TV Dinner was the rage, it was unsurprising that TV Time popcorn was made.

Popcorn before this required that you pour oil into a pot (or popper if you had one and wanted to do it over a fire), heat it up, add the corn, and then shake it until it stopped popping.  Not a complicated process, but too much for the time

TV Time made the process simple.  It was a plastic container with a two-pocket pouch. The right pouch held nut oil (in solid form); the left held popcorn grains and salt.*

You’d squeeze the oil into the pan, heat it, and then add the popcorn.  You’d shake it until it stopped popcorn and ended up with a bowl of it.

Not much different from the traditional method, but it saved the step of measuring out the oil. Plus the nut oil was more flavorful than vegetable oil, so the end result was very satisfying.. 

This was our go-to for many years, up until Jiffy Pop came in 1959.  It was an aluminum pan that you just put on the heat. As a bonus, the foil covering the popcorn expanded as it popped, turning a flat pan into a big ball of aluminum-covered snack.

Jiffy Pop Before and After

TV Time couldn’t compete in the convenience game, and and Jiffy Pop popped it out of the water for spectacular presentation.  And later popcorn makers and microwaves made stovetop cooking of popcorn as obsolete as home churning butter. 

Like most products, there’s little information on what happened to it. It went through various owners.  The last seems to have been Great Western Foods, which still seems to sell similar products called “Portion Packs,” but which use canola oil, so it’s not the same.**

Jiffy Pop is still around, since it’s owned by agricultural giant ConAgra. 

But for many years, TV Time was what we mean when we wanted popcorn at home.

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*Later iterations had a place to cut off one corner to pour out the excess salt. For some reason, that always impressed me.

**It also looks like the sell primarily in bulk.

14 comments:

Unknown said...

I'd put forth the extra effort with TV time popcorn for the extra flavor ( and nostalgia ).

Unknown said...

I sure wish tv time popcorn was available today. Growing up my family would make this every Saturday night watching Jackie Gleason. Delicious.

Unknown said...

Obviously NOT forgotten on the least. We buy food for taste not health.

Unknown said...

No other popcorn tastes like t.v. time. It was the best and would be again today with people steering away from microwave popcorn. Pls bring it back.

Anonymous said...

I remember melting an extra stick of butter and pouring it over our TV Time popcorn.....wow that was buttery, salty, heaven......We almost reproduced that taste with pop secret and some extra butter but it wasn't quite right.

Unknown said...

Wish it was still available.

Anonymous said...

Every Saturday night in the 80’s with my family...they’re all gone now, and I wish I could still get this.

Anonymous said...

I wish they had the picture of the ingredient list. I know coconut oil and beta carotene were two of the main ingredients, but I can't remember the others.

Unknown said...

I worked st TV time in bremen indiana as maintenance on the packaging machines in 1981 before they sold out to Mcormicks...always had a garbage bag with popcorn and cheddar popcorn around from the test lab...best popcorn ever to this day..

Unknown said...

We lived in the second floor apartment at my Italian born grandmother. She was thrilled when I would make it and bring it to her. I wish I could make her a batch now.

Popcornopolis said...
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Unknown said...

Like everyone else lots of good memories and it was the best popcorn around. Please bring it back

Helen said...
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Anonymous said...

We used to have this popcorn all the time in the 70’s...wish we could still get it