Tacky TV Trays On the Comeback Trail?

Tacky TV Trays On the Comeback Trail?

Food & Drink

Tacky TV Trays On the Comeback Trail?


By Cari Martens

!(border left)/files/0003/8463/retroTVtray_thumb.jpg!The TV tray dates back to…well, the invention of the TV. In the 50’s it wasn’t considered all that gauche for a family to plop their dinner down on a spindly TV tray and plop themselves down in front of the tube to watch Ed Sullivan or Gunsmoke in glorious black & white.

Eat, watch, laugh, cry and converse (maybe) during the commercials. Mostly eat and watch is what folks did.

Well, TVs have become both bigger and slimmer, while many of us who watch TV have gotten bigger and thicker (around the midsection). And TV trays went the way of the black & white western drama. Or did they?

Writing for the Toronto Star, food columnist Susan Sampson says TV trays may be making a comeback. She interviews people who still use old trays inherited from parents who bought them back in the 60s. There’s evidently a lot of nostalgia connected with those metal trays with the tubular legs that scissor open and closed like folding chairs.

Sampson notes that ‘Eating in front of the television is considered uncivilized and even unhealthy. But everyone does it, especially during big events like the Olympics.’

Although modern TV tray tables still have a kitschy reputation, they are at least sturdier today. They come in wood, metal, glass and in a variety of designs. Alex Zamayoa, owner of Mi Casa furniture store in Toronto sells an updated version of the TV table called the ‘C-table,’ which has more of a wraparound design. He says he can hardly keep them in stock they sell so well.

Design Sponge

Vintage, second-hand TV tray tables are a big seller at garage sales and flea markets. They can sell for anywhere from $5 to $100 depending on condition—like how rickety they are.

On the home and product design website, Design Sponge, Grace Bonney wrote recently about her wallpapered TV trays, saying she’s ‘not ashamed to admit we’ve eaten our share of meals off of TV trays.’ You can find the details of the Design Sponge TV tray D.I.Y. project here.

Hmmm. On the rare times we eat in front of the tube, the coffee table seems to work just fine. Those old TV trays always seemed on the verge of collapse to me. But maybe I should look into these newer models. I wonder if they have any with built-in remote controls.

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