I hope your mama doesn’t cook manufactured Italian food. It would be an insult.
In the Venezio family (I’m a Venezio by birth and a Preston by marriage, but I’ll always be a Venezio), Italian slang is common. My dad throws it around like confetti, and alot of it has rubbed off on me. My mom uses it to some extent, and I’m pretty sure I’ve heard my brother use some words.
One of my personal favorites, just because I like how it sounds, is “Medigan” (meh-dee-gaan). a “Medigan” is quite simply, a non-Italian, or an Italian that has lost his or her roots. My dad uses this word to describe Olive Garden’s food, and while that may be the truth, it is still delicious. My husband and I enjoy it, even if it earns that reaction from my dad. Sure, it is Chain Italian, but it isn’t Manufactured Italian. That’s a whole other kind of Medigan.
Like the product in today’s commercial (and yesterday’s – mean, come on jarred tomato sauce that supposedly tastes like dearly departed Italian Grandmother’s sauce?)!
The year is 1986, the company is Prego (which means “you are welcome” in Italian), and the product is…frozen and boxed Italian entrees.
But are they like his mama’s homemade?
Oh no, she’s fallen into the “Medigan” trap!
Introduced internationally in 1981, Prego is a trademark brand name of the Campbell Soup Company, and the result of an effort by Campbell Soup Company to expand its work with tomatoes beyond soup. Knowing the company had no advantage manufacturing ketchup (Senior management originally wanted to make something to compete with Heinz), Campbell’s succeeded in creating a sauce that not only didn’t “weep” (separation of water from solids), it didn’t thicken its sauce with starch.
(And it is also the brand where Clara Peller finally “found the beef!”)
There are currently nineteen different flavors of Prego sauce – marinara, traditional, mini meatball, zesty mushroom, and roasted garlic Parmesan. There are also two Organic flavors – Organic Mushroom and Organic Tomato and Basil.
Prego’s frozen entrees were introduced in the summer of 1986, with eight different items, and could be prepared traditionally, or in the microwave.
I can’t find any information on when these meals were discontinued, but I have never seen them in the grocery store. That says nothing of what I look for when I’m shopping, but I’ve never seen these before.
These days, Prego doesn’t have a presence in the freezer aisle, but they do have Prego Ready Meals, which are pouch meals made in the microwave. They’re apparently just as homemade as mama’s cooking.
Just…don’t tell papa.
Have a fantastic Flashback Friday, and a great weekend, capisce?