Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Jane Jetson's Kitchen

You know what? I'm actually glad I don't live in "the future" as it was seen through the eyes of 1955.

Don't get me wrong: flying cars would be cool. But it seems that everybody in the '50s was so obsessed with time-saving and efficiency that they didn't realize that maybe, we'd actually want to spend time on certain activities. Like cooking.

I've written here before about the evolution of cooking from chore to hobby - which had something to do with time-saving techniques that allowed women to get out of the kitchen at least some of the time. Based on this Popular Science slideshow of "kitchens of the future," the real attitudinal shift - when people started thinking of cooking as fun - didn't happen until well after the mid-20th century.

The kitchen above was designed in the mid-50's and it takes efficiency to a whole new level. The idea was that with the push of just one button, an entire meal - seasoned and all - will be prepared. No need for Wifey to toil away over the stove. Now she's got more time for vacuuming and hospital corners (or martinis).

Do I want it? No. Does it represent a time and a place I'm glad I don't live in? Yes. But am I so, so glad that scanners were invented so that we can preserve it? Absolutely. It's a pretty great reminder that when my grandmother was making dinner, it was a much bigger pain than it is for me today.

Plus, even if the actual technology behind the kitchen misses a few late 20th century trends, I'll tell you what I do like: that mid-century aesthetic. Look at those cabinets and all that stainless steel. Why, it looks like...my kitchen.

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