• Irma Harding, the Woman Who Taught Rural Moms to Kick Canning and Start Freezing In 1935, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the Rural Electrification Administration, almost 90 percent of America’s farms lacked power. When darkness fell, millions turned to fire for illumination. During harvest months, with no electricity for refrigeration, countless farmers’ wives and daughters devoted a good chunk of their waking hours to pickling and canning fruits and vegetabl…
  • 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…