#FoodieFriday: 5 Kitchen Appliances and Food Creations that Transformed Women’s Live in the 20th Century

By: Sydnee C. Winston, Project Coordinator

1. The Refrigerator

Refrigerators started popping up in some middle-class households as early as the early 20s.  The conventional methods that women used to store food (ice boxes, root cellars) gradually became a thing of the past. In 1923, the cheapest refrigerator on the market cost about $450!

2. The Electric Stove

Electric stoves were still uncommon during the 1920s, even though they had originated around the turn of the 20th century. Fewer than one in 10 US homes were wired for electricity at this time. As America began to “plug in” more and more especially during the 1930s due to decreased cost of electric power, the electric stove gained popularity.

3. The TV Dinner

The modern frozen dinner entered the American home in 1953, when Swanson and Sons figured out a way to address the irksome conundrum of leftover turkey after Thanksgiving. TV Dinners did more than just feed families, their convenience and quick cook time gave women (who usually did all or most of the cooking) more time of their own to pursue jobs and other interests, while still providing a hot meal for their families.

4. Electric Appliances

Electric appliances like cake mixers, waffle irons and toasters began to “pop up” during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The appliances helped to modernize American kitchen’s and make women’s easier!

5. Canned Foods

In the 1920s, many middle class housewives who did their own grocery shopping and cooking relied on new easy-to-prepare dishes and used newly available packaged and commercially processed foods like Wonder Bread, Wheaties, and canned pork & beans.

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