Are Tovala meals just better TV Dinners?

Remember TV Dinners? Whenever I see a Tovala commercial, I think that they’re just selling TV Dinners but made better, and you have to have their special oven. ISTM that I could make the same thing from scratch, and save a ton of money while I’m at it.

I haven’t tried them, but it does seem like a gigantic investment on the consumer’s part just to avoid cooking. But I guess that’s the point, same as for getting takeout or eating out – you pay more for the results than if you did it yourself, because you don’t want to do it yourself. It depends on how much you value your own time and labor which you would be spending shopping and cooking.

Some of us don’t enjoy cooking. I get no satisfaction from it, and I’d rather not do it. Ever. I’ll make a sandwich or fry an egg, but the things many of you do in the kitchen isn’t going to happen in my house. (my wife does cook, and is good at it, so I’m over generalizing)

We don’t get those meals delivered, but I can imagine doing something like that. Instead we go to a lot of restaurants and do take out other nights.

Looks about as appetizing as frozen meals you get at the supermarket, at nearly twice the price, not counting cost of the “special oven”.

Good observation. To be fair, and just having a quick look at their menu, they do have things that Marie Callender doesn’t. But yeah, the current supermarket offerings (that aren’t ‘TV Dinners’) also look like better versions of TV Dinners. And regarding Tovala, I prefer to choose my own meats.

Tovala meals are delivered fresh, not frozen, which can make a significant difference in the quality of the finished product. So i would say they are a step above tv dinners.

$250 is pretty steep for a fancy toaster oven, but it looks like you can pick one up for $50 right now if you’re inclined to give them a try.

It’s good for people who mainly eat pre-prepared food and have the money to spend to get the best tasting product. A typical frozen meal is heated on high for X minutes. This oven knows what’s being cooked and can load up the specific reheating instructions for that specific meal. It also does stuff to control the humidity to ensure that the textures of the food are optimized. It will vary the temperature over the heating cycle to produce better results. It’s for people who want the convenience of microwaved meals but with the taste of freshly made.

If you’re inclined, you can do some of the same things with most frozen meals to get better results. Most frozen meals are not best when cooked on high for the total time. The outside will overcook while the inside is still cold. So instead of heating something on high for 4 minutes, you could improvise 50% for 2 minutes and then finish in a 350 degree toaster oven for 10 minutes. But how to improvise would take time and experience to know what to do. And it might be different for each meal. Frozen enchiladas might be best one way while chicken pot pie may be better a different way. All that stuff takes time to figure out and most people would find it a hassle. So they cook it for 4 minutes on high and be done with it. Or they buy an oven like this that knows all the tricks to get optimum results.

Argh, and now my FB feed is full of Tovala ads.

This. I hate cooking, but it turns out I hate wasting stupid money on awful and unhealthy food even more.

My great COVID takeaway was to get a bread machine and craft various lunch sandwiches. I only use the best ingredients and refine my method to my tastes and as time has passed I’ve only gotten faster at making better food quickly and for pennies.

I had never heard of this until just now. That it says “This is one of Oprah’s favorite things” makes it suspect in itself.

I don’t think it’s something that should be compared to frozen dinners - they seem more like the dinners sold by a catering operation that I know. In addition to their catering, they sell hot take out meals - and also microwaveable meals that are packed fresh each day. It’s been a while since I’ve been there, but IIRC each single serving meal is $10- $15. Which is absolutely more than it would cost me to cook myself - but I’ve also had three meals this week using roast chicken and three more of broiled salmon. I’m not sure either the caterer or Tovala costs more than me eating just one meal and tossing the rest of the salmon/chicken out.

I suspect her real favorite thing is being able to afford a private chef.

A weight fluctuating billionaire? What ever do you mean?

Safeway has a selection of “fresh” Ready Meals in their deli case for about $8 a pop. I imagine other chain supermarkets have similar offerings. The food is decent, if unspectacular, but better than TV dinners. So I could buy 30 of them & put them in my convection oven or microwave instead of spending $250 on a single-purpose appliance.

Enchiladas are good, so is the chicken – but watch out for that sauce…

Ever heard of the Z-grade movie (no pun intended) “I Was A Zombie For The FBI”? It was a film school project done a couple years before this video, and the monster in this video was also featured in the movie.

USA Network’s “Night Flight” used to show it, and I think it’s on YouTube. It’s in B&W, and all the clothing and hairstyles are from the early 1980s, when the movie was made, but all the cars are from the 1950s.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming: This Tovala gadget sounds like another variation of the Juicero.

I looked it up because of this thread and the ovens are on sale now for $49 and free shipping. Each meal comes with a little card with a QR Code that the machine reads so it knows the exact heating cycle for it. The meals actually look pretty good and are $10 to $13 each. It’s not something I’d do but I can see the appeal.

ETA: you can use the oven as a regular convection oven for other stuff too.

I know some of the Trader Joes branded meals have the Tovala codes. There’s probably other meals that also have the codes. So someone may be able to get meals with codes in the normal freezer section of a local store rather than having to order meals sent to them.

I assume the converse is also true? Can you put a Tovala meal in a regular oven if you follow directions?

Me too! The food looks tasty though I suspect the actual meals aren’t as good as their pictures. (The Royale with cheese looks delicious in ads too.) It’s a moot point anyway since there is no way I will be buying one. You hear that, Tovala! Never! Crap, now I’m more on their radar, aren’t I.