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Cafe Jetson: 1959

Cafe Jetson: 1959

        "The Planning Center -- this is the heart and the brain of the RCA-Whirlpool Miracle Kitchen. For example, there's a button that turns on a built-in color television set that brings entertainment into your Miracle Kitchen of the future. Other buttons select recipes, request an inventory of food stock, select food from storage, or complete the automatic meal from the Magic Meal Maker."

March 1959. "Home economist Anne Anderson demonstrating appliances and features of RCA-Whirlpool 'Miracle Kitchen of the Future,' a display at the American National Exhibition in Moscow." Kodachrome by Bob Lerner for the Look magazine article "What the Russians Will See." View full size.


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Now for a main dish

that uses zweiback, rotten bananas, Jello, and ketchup. And serves 12. In 15 minutes.


Regarding those bananas "about to go bad", keep in mind that most Soviet subjects rarely, if ever, saw bananas, pineapple, boxes of cereal, other packaged foods, makeup, jewelry, hose, and the like. In terms of "our system is better than yours," this exhibit was completely "in your face."

For a picture of life there, the September 1959 National Geographic has a nice article on one professor's visit to the USSR in 1957 and 1958.

Waiting ...

Still no Magic Meal Maker in my kitchen.

We all talked about this one day

Back in my bbs days during the ’80s, I hung out a lot in the cooking newsgroups, as did a lot of other people. Many of us talked about how, someday, we would have a special computer in the kitchen, where we could have all our recipes stored on disk and pull them up to read and use without ever having to print out anything.

Fast forward to today. I wanted to cook stuffed pork chops but didn’t really want to improvise. I’d poked around in my recipe database application until I found one I liked and that seemed possible, given what I had on hand. But instead of cranking up the printer and making a hard copy to work from, I grabbed my laptop and hauled it into the kitchen with me. I called up the recipe I wanted on his screen, and referred to it as I cooked.

Working from the recipe on screen, I got the pork chops prepared and in the oven just as fast as if I’d had a cookbook or a printout at hand, and when I was done I just washed my hands, picked up the laptop, and left the chops to bake. It took twenty years, but the future we talked about has come to pass.

[And one day, instead of a bulky laptop, perhaps we'll have some sort of slim, tablet-like device to display our recipes! - Dave]

Rotating Stock

The bananas are about to go bad. Presumably the computer takes care of that.

Honeywell Kitchen Computer

ca. 1969:

Surprisingly, neither of them caught on.

Nor did this (40 years later):

My wife and daughter do, however, use their MacBooks in the kitchen, when they're testing out recipes they find on the 'net.

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