• Easy-Bake Evolution: 50 Years of Cakes, Cookies, and Gender Politics I have a confession: My brother and I destroyed my Easy-Bake Oven. I had the 1981 Mini-Wave model, the boxy, yellow microwave style, which was, in my 7-year-old mind, the only kind of Easy-Bake there was. One day, my 4-year-old brother had a brilliant idea—to “cook” a green plastic steak from our 1972 Mattel Tuff Stuff Play Food set. After all, we should be able to cook a steak, right? It fit into…
  • Mr. Chemex: The Eccentric Inventor Who Reimagined the Perfect Cup of Coffee As part of our modern obsession with artisan-everything, today's pickiest coffee drinkers insist upon a hand-brewed cup made right before their eyes. At the cornerstone of this trend is the undisputed king of pour-over coffee, the Chemex Coffeemaker, which graces the counters of hip homes and cafes around the globe. But this ingenious device is nothing new: In fact, the Chemex company has been mak…
  • Making, and Eating, the 1950s' Most Nauseating Jell-O Soaked Recipes Poring over vintage cookbooks and food advertisements is equal parts intriguing and repulsive: People willingly ate things like "Shrimp Aspic Mold" and "Chicken Mousse"? Unlike the menus on contemporary food blogs and in best-selling recipe books, mid-century cooking seems guaranteed to make you gag, thanks to its mismatched flavors, industrial ingredients, and gelatin overload. Often the…
  • The Cold, Hard Truth About Popsicles During the past couple of years, artisan ice pops, what you and I know generically as popsicles, have outpaced those hipster favorites, cupcakes, in the race to be America’s most popular nostalgia dessert. Like cupcakes, popsicles are portioned controlled, which limits over-consumption by those watching their waistlines. Unlike cupcakes, today's ice pops are a healthy sweet, usually made from orga…
  • The Colors of Fiesta I started as a collector and I’m a web designer, so I thought I would design a website from my passion. I threw it up there and people just found me and it started to take off. Fiesta is made in West Virginia, and I’m from West Virginia originally. I was a thrift store fanatic in college, and I would see this unmarked colored dishware that just really caught my eye. That was probably Riviera, beca…