From my article in the April 2012 issue of Gourmet Live
The kitchen of the future has a long past. At world fairs and trade shows going back more than a century, crowds have been tantalized with slick visions of the extraordinary ways we’d be preparing foods in the coming decades. In particular, notes Ruth Oldenziel, a professor of American and European history at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, and coeditor of the book Cold War Kitchen, futuristic kitchens have long been used by marketers to excite us about new technologies. In the 1900s, it was the magic of natural-gas stoves, then in the 1920s and 1930s, the spread of electric and telephone utilities, then refrigeration in the 1940s, on through microwave ovens in the 1950s and even nuclear power in the Atomic Age kitchen (to say nothing of today’s quesadilla presses and single-serving coffeemakers). “In every generation, the kitchen of the future is a sort of passport photo for innovation,” says Oldenziel.
But lost in all the fuss over electromechanical, thermal, and radiative marvels, according to Oldenziel, was much discussion about changes…read more