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5 Inventions that Burst Our Culinary Bubble

5 Inventions that Burst Our Culinary Bubble

A look at five inventions that changed our lives - from the microwave to the toaster, the blender to fast food restaurants and beyond

By FDL on

The world of kitchen inventions and technology is constantly evolving and with it comes a whole list of exciting concepts. Fridges with a brain, ovens you can text, laser cutting devices and toasters that can be rolled up and carried under your arm.

The rate of innovation is exciting but the possibilities of what the kitchen of 2050 may contain are still rather hard to predict. Forks that tell us when we've eaten too much, smart plates for the blind, machines that can print cookies and in some cases meat.

As we all get excited about a future full of robots that deal with our every kitchen whim, it's important to remember the past. The Historical kitchen inventions that have changed the way we eat, everyday objects that have impacted our culinary culture...Here's a look at five of them:

The Toaster

Often taken for granted the Toaster as we know it today was one of the first ever electronic appliances to invade the home. Figures from 2005 suggest that the toaster can still be found in 90% of American homes and there's no denying the effect it's had on eating - especially at breakfast time.

It was developed by Albert Marsh in 1905 and was manufactured under the name El Tosto by Pacific Electric Heating. The toaster found commercial success four years later when a patent was granted to General Electronics, however, many argue that it's real success came in 1933 after the invention of sliced bread.

Toast is seen as one of the most popular breakfast options throughout England and America and according to the Grain Foods Foundation, around 75 million Americans enjoy it for breakfast everyday. Toast dates back as far as 5,000 years to Egypt but the act of popping some bread in a metal box, waiting two minutes and hearing that comforting pop as it's released light and crispy is something that is relatively new.

The Food Blender

The flood blender we know and love today, the trusted masher of veg and fruit, the creator of smoothies and soups galore - was actually invented for a completely different reason.

The first blender, invented by Stephen J. Poplawski, came to market in 1922 and was created as a way for soda fountain stores to make Horlick's malt based milkshakes. A year later the first liquefier blender was born and in 1932 Poplawski finally received the patent for a machine that could  reduce vegetables and fruit to liquid - the blender as we know it today was born.

An invention that has reduced cooking times, increased the amount of homemade soups we make and a technology that, after the Waring Blendor company published recipes for banana and pineapple fruit drinks in 1940, has given rise to the smoothie we all know and love today.

The Microwave

Loved and loathed by millions, the radar zapping microwave cooker has certainly had a drastic effect on the way we perceive and consume food but did you know that it may never have been invented if it wasn't for World War Two?

Taking radar technology developed as part of the war effort, Percy Spencer invented the first microwave in 1947, it was patented for home use in 1955 but it wasn't until 1967 that the device became small and cheap enough for general domestic use.

It's discovery was an accident - working on the Raythean radar - Spencer discovered that a chocolate bar in his pocket had melted, it was after this that he realized the same technology could be used to heat foods.

Although the first TV Dinners, made in 1953 by C.A. Swanson & Sons, were designed for the oven. There's no denying that the microwave with it's quick and effective cooking technique has accelerated the popularity of frozen ready meals around the world. Even the famous chef Heston Blumenthal recently launched a range of microwave meals.


It was Earl Silas Tupper from Massachusetts who in 1946 invented the food storage device found in almost every kitchen, in every possible shape and in almost every conceivable style and design.  

Tupperware changed the way we store food -  adding extra life to uneaten leftovers, fruits and soups - let alone ensuring that workers lunches remained fresh throughout the 50s and 60s.

The storage devices were originally patented with a "burping seal" - the trademark sound made when the lids are popped off - and quickly became a household name thanks to their direct marketing policy and sale of products through female driven Tupperware parties.

Fast Food

It's hard to credit any one person with the invention of fast food, especially because eating quick, ready made snacks, is something that takes place all over the world. However, looking to the world's largest Fast Food nation of America, we see that it was Walter Anderson of White Castle who built the first fast food chain restaurant in the states back in 1916.

It wasn't until 1948 that today's fast food giants Mcdonalds was redesigned to resemble the restaurants we know today.  With their cheap, tasty and quick meals, fast food chains have had a huge impact on the way people eat.

Drive Thrus came in the 1930s, an idea borrowed originally from banks, customers could now pick up their food, pay and eat it without ever leaving their car.

Fast food sales in the states consistently top a hundred billion dollars a year and what started as a quick way to grab a snack has changed the way people eat around the world.

Let us know your views....Which inventions of the past 100-years do you think have changed our culinary lives?

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