Monday, July 12, 2010

The Electric Kitchen Party Of The Fifties

September 14, 1954

In 1954 my mother was a happy fan of New York State Electric & Gas's "Electric Kitchen Party". She watched this television program every Tuesday at 3:00 PM on WNBF TV Channel 12 faithfully. I think this must have been the beginning of cooking on television. And in her later years, she loved the food network. She constantly was writing down recipes to try, even though she was bedridden. My father ended up being the one who actually made the recipes but never complained about it. Even though he'd rather be outside working in the garden or rebuilding an old lawn mower. She also received these little recipe leaflets in the mail with the recipes on them. I am not sure if they are the actual recipe from the program or not. As you can see though, my mother used these and that is why they are stained. After she died, I put them in my homemade cookbook cased in plastic sheets to preserve them the best I could. I looked for these on eBay and could not find any at all.

Second Page With My Mother's Notes Written At Top

I have been reading a new book called "off the grid" (no capital letters) by Nick Rosen. I have not finished it yet and actually am just in the beginning. But I have to share this as I found it so interesting. When the electric grid was in the early years everyone just wanted it for lights. General Electric manufactured appliances that were hardly selling. Light bulbs were their hottest sellers. Everyone wanted electric lights and that is how they initially got into our homes! I know my mother-in-law used to say that her father loved his electric lights. I am sure he did. So GE kept trying to figure out how to reach the housewives to get them to want the refrigerators, electric stoves and washing machines. They campaigned long and hard figuring out how to make her not only WANT these appliances but how to NEED them. They did it too.

Written By The Star, Marjorie Burns

The viewers had a connection with the star, Marjorie Burns, as her notes were included to make it more personal. It appeared that the electric company cared about them, and offered not only recipes, but a friend too.

Since their campaign centered on the American housewife they created the Home Service department and I see it mentioned through out these little recipe leaflets such as:

Available For Your Greater Homemaking Enjoyment"

This service was available to homemakers who might need help with any area of homemaking. They created it for you to contact them for help. I am sure they gave you good advice and the homemaker would get the help she needed. It probably steered her to using an electric appliance. Good business strategy! Can't fault them for being good business men. 

They had these little tips and hints of things to do to make your chores easier.........and most of them included the use of an electric appliance, of course! They would have little messages printed on the bottom like this one: 

Gives You More LEISURE TIME"

Oh yeah? They were working on the housewives with that statement!


I think that must have been a stab at women still cooking with wood! LOL

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
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