toy food
n. A food dish that comes premeasured and premixed and so requires only a minimal amount of preparation.
From world openness to open fridge: Globalization does not necessary lead to homogenize [sic] cultures. Composing a dinner mix with toy foods from the whole world illustrate [sic] a creative aspect of the cosmopolitan culture.
—“Research and Markets: Life Attitudes to 2006 — Volume 1.0,” M2 Presswire, March 04, 2003
1992 (earliest)
In the mood for a fajita? Just rip open the bag of Tyson Foods' frozen Fajita Kit. Toss the already marinated and cooked chicken in a skillet with a little bit of water and cook for five minutes. Add the frozen sliced peppers and onion, stir for another three minutes. Meanwhile, warm the tortillas in the microwave, set out the toppings of your choice and you've created your own Mexican meal in far less time than it takes get a pizza delivered.

Or you prefer something fancier — Beef Burgundy perhaps? Thinly slice a half pound of lean meat, brown it in a skillet for a few minutes, add two tablespoons of wine or water, the frozen package of sauce and vegetables — potatoes wedges, pearl onions, carrots, peas and sliced mushrooms — from Birds Eye's new Easy Recipe box, cook for about eight minutes and you have dinner for two.

Want a salad as well? Simply buy the Caesar salad kit in the produce aisle. It comes with croutons and salad dressing. Just rip open and toss.

If those don't meet your tastes, there's a stir-fry chicken kit, a chicken pasta salad kit, a fresh oriental vegetable kit and a gyro sandwich-making kit, just to name a few.

"It's truly toy food," says Martin Friedman, editor of New Product News. "You get a little piece of this, a little of that, put it all together and make something, just like it was an Erector Set."
—Caroline E. Mayer, “Kit cook = convenience,” The Washington Post, August 05, 1992
Filed Under