!(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 â€˜Eating in front of the television is considered uncivilized and even unhealthy. But everyone does it, especially during big events like the Olympics.â€™
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 â€˜C-table,â€™ which has more of a wraparound design. He says he can hardly keep them in stock they sell so well.
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 conditionâ€”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 â€˜not ashamed to admit we’ve eaten our share of meals off of TV trays.â€™ 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.
For more insights and innovations check out CultureWavesÂ®, the place to go for the latest observations in the World Thought Bank â€“ events, ideas, trends and more. Add your own thoughts about anything in life â€“ entertainment, design, technology, well-being and, yes, food. And, take a look at a few of our other Hot & Cool Trends.
Have you seen an innovative product that will impact our food lives in the future? Let us know at Editor.