I recently stumbled across a surprising entry into the frozen food marketplace: Joy of Cooking branded meals. In one of the odder developments in food marketing, it seems that the venerable American cookbook has licensed its name to a prepared food product. Its tagline is "the taste of homemade without all the work."
A website marketing the products (letjoyin.com) gives life to the cookbook by creating an actual character named "Joy," an iconic/ironic fifties housewife pitted against her fast-food loving dolt of a husband, nemesis, "the Kitchen Dragon of Dinnertime Stress."
Using sitcom-grade humor, the website pitches the Joy of Cooking meals as a solution to the eternal domestic conflict over what to make for dinner.
Thanks to some excellent volunteer sleuthing by reader Sarah (@killerzucchini), the frozen meals don't appear match up to as direct recreations of the original recipes. A spokesperson from the Joy of Cooking Consumer Relations Department confirmed as much in an email, indicating, "The recipes are 'inspired' by the Joy of Cooking cookbook, but are not exact recipes from the book."
I can understand the appeal of frozen meals that would mimic restaurant foods, but associating frozen meals with a cookbook -- no less one that asserts there is pleasure in cooking -- is a hard idea to get one's head around.