FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000

New Materials, New Tools (page 2)

The Sound of the Shortcut

The automatic electric opener, introduced in 1958, made short work of opening cans.

Dazey electric can opener, about 1970

Dazey electric can opener, about 1970

Can-opener Cook Book, 1952

Can-opener Cook Book, 1952

Poppy Cannon promoted the idea that busy housewives could use their can openers to make “unusual dishes” that were quick, tasty, and easy to prepare.

It Slices! It Dices!

The Veg-O-Matic food slicer, invented by Samuel J. Popeil, debuted in 1963 and was sold by his son, Ron, via late-night television.  The device is best remembered for his iconic sales pitch—“It slices! It dices!”

Veg-O-Matic with blades, about 1963

Manually operated, the plastic gadget enabled cooks to push fruits and vegetables through changeable steel-cutting blades. Gift of Lisa S. Popeil for the Popeil Family in memory of Samuel J. Popeil.

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From the Burner to the Freezer

Corning Glass Works formulated a glass ceramic material in the 1950s that withstood extreme temperatures. A single CorningWare dish could be used for cooking, freezing, and serving food.

Corning Ware casserole dish

Received as a wedding present, this casserole dish is from a set used for forty-five years. Gift of Anne L. Bernat.

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Advertisement for CorningWare, 1968

Advertisement for CorningWare, 1968

“It's so good I put my name on it!”

Boxer George Foreman, who reclaimed the world heavyweight title at the age of forty-five, credited his comeback to a healthy lifestyle and eating habits. His story and charisma helped make the portable, electric grill a runaway success of the 1990s.

Grill, about 1995

The grill’s designer sought out Foreman to pitch the product to health-conscious consumers.  Its angled, indented surface drained most of the fat away from the food. Gift of Debbie Schaefer-Jacobs.

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Diet Booklet, 1998

Diet Booklet, 1998

Citing men’s health problems, Foreman urged his audience to “knock out the fat,” and became an example of how men—even prizefighters—cared about low-fat cooking.