When Americans Dreamed of Kitchen Computers

An absolutely delightful read, with great photos. And Mrs. Ciarcia’s question is one all women are STILL asking!

When Americans Dreamed of Kitchen Computers
The ultimate appliance turned out to be expensive and impractical.
Gastro Obscura, July 21, 2021
Free access: Dreams of Kitchen Computers



This is a question many American families find themselves asking daily. It’s not a new question, either. Generations have debated the delegation of kitchen duties, often touching on class, race, and especially gender. Most frequently, women have taken on home cooking, which often means hard work for little or no pay. Proposed solutions have ranged from equitable sharing of household labor between all family members, buying pre-made foods, and even kitchen-less homes and communal cooking.

However, one solution to the cooking dilemma has remained in the American cultural imagination: a kitchen computer, one capable of preparing a family’s every meal. Though it might seem like something straight out of The Jetsons, there was a brief period where the kitchen computer was very real indeed.

(Note to moderators: Sorry, I couldn’t figure out how to move this into another category after I created it. Pls move it if you feel it is appropriate to do so)

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uhmmm, , , , I have a kitchen computer.
keeps all my recipes handy, my “cooking info tidbits” file, calculator, Internet access, shopping list . . .

data files are on the network drive so I can access from any of the house computers…

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In the 80s, I was the corporate librarian at Atari, which at the time specialized in coin-operated arcade games and video games. They also developed an early desktop computer, but were having a hard time coming up with uses for it. Someone mentioned it would be a good place to store recipes. Little did we all know what was coming!


From the link; “…the Foodarackacycle machine (also called the Electronicook, Food-O-Matic, and the Menulator) that could cook any dish and had a separate keyboard for programming meals. …”

I’m remembering this;


Thanks for the Jetson memories. Did you happen to notice that after June had a tough day pushing buttons all day long, she had a full time housekeeper, maid, cook.:slightly_smiling_face:

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Rosie, Hazel, or Alice?
Who was the best TV maid?

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold