ACCORDING TO AMERICA’S KITCHENS, many of the things we take for granted today in our kitchens were introduced or became widely available in the 20th century, driven by emerging technologies, consumer demand, and commercial marketing that influenced people to update frequently and to buy the latest gadgets. Electric stoves and refrigerators made their appearance in the 20s, 30s, and 40s. The postwar years brought freezers, refrigerators with freezer compartments, and an explosion in small appliances like mixers, blenders, and waffle irons. Tupperware, Saran Wrap, and plastic sandwich bags were introduced in the 40s and 50s, and the first countertop microwave oven arrived in the 60s.
Erica Donnis is an independent historian and museum consultant based in Burlington, Vermont. This is her fourth vignette from America’s Kitchens — the book and the traveling exhibition.
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