Rotary Golf 2024

A range of options

by | Jan 31, 2024 | Opinion

My great grandparents lived on a homestead. They cooked on a wood stove.

Most of us today have no idea how good we’ve got it.

For my great grandparents’ generation, remodeling the kitchen meant picking a different place to stack the wood.

When I was growing up in Ashdown, Arkansas, we didn’t have air conditioning or a telephone, but we did have a step up from a wood stove. Mom had a 1950s range and oven.

I’m not sure if the gas stove my mom used came with the small, red brick house on Beech Street or if they bought it. But it got the job done.

Many a biscuit was baked in that oven. Many a sausage patty, fried potato, and cast iron skillet full of gravy were cooked on top of it.

As kids, we just took it for granted.

How man has cooked his food has remained pretty much the same since the beginning. Food overheat.

But the way that we combine heat and food has certainly become a lot fancier. Look no further than the appliance selections that exploded after the Second World War.

The country and its economy were in great shape. People had good jobs with good paychecks, and they were looking for ways to spend it.

The appliances of the 1950s and early 60s are the pinnacle of design and functionality. To this day, their Space Race look and options are quite impressive.

The Frigidaire Flair (at the time, Frigidaire was a division of General Motors) was a highly coveted cook top and oven. With its chrome, glass doors, and slide-out burners, the Flair came to prominence after being featured in Samantha’s kitchen on the TV show, Bewitched.

The Flair’s predecessor, the Tappan Fabulous 400, had similar features, including a built in rotisserie and slide-out burners. The large burner shut off when you removed the pot or skillet.

America wanted bigger, fancier, and more bells and whistles. And manufacturers answered the call.

It was a race between Frigidaire, Tappan, GE, Kelvinator, Admiral, Kenmore, O’Keefe & Merritt, and Amana.

Amana was famous for the Radar Range, which was a fancy name for a microwave oven. Its origins date back to World War II when an engineer named Percy Spencer worked for a company called Raytheon.

The story goes that Spencer was working near a radar set when he noticed the chocolate bar in his pocket was melting.

What he didn’t notice was that his body was also being cooked, but he lived to help develop something that most of us now have in our homes.

What Spencer helped discover became available just a couple of years later as an appliance.

The Radar Range was huge and weighed as much as a Buick.

It was also just for rich people.

When the Amana Radar Range debuted in 1947, it was for commercial applications. The first Radar Range was six feet tall and cost around $50,000 in today’s money.

The first home version came 20 years later in 1967 with a price tag equivalent to $4,000.

In 1975, microwave ovens outsold regular ovens for the first time. But even then, a microwave cost around $1,000.

Most Americans couldn’t afford those price tags. In the 1970s, $1,000 was about the average monthly salary. I know that because I was there.

Some families went into debt to buy the nicer appliances, but most couldn’t afford them.

If you couldn’t afford the Fabulous 400, the Flair, or the Radar Range, you could always go on a game show to win them.

It was Monty Hall on Let’s Make A Deal, Bob Barker on The Price Is Right, and other daytime TV fare that offered the opportunity to not only win an oven, but also possibly an entirely new kitchen.

The rest of us could watch and dream. Until recently.

I saw an ad online for a Tappan Fabulous 400. It looked to be in remarkably good shape. So I bought it.

My wife won’t let me put it in the kitchen, so I plan to put it in my man cave.

I’ll have the coolest man cave around. And I can cook a rotisserie chicken while I watch reruns of Let’s Make a Deal.

And I’ve already got the spot picked out. I’ll put it next to the wood stove. I think my great grandparents would approve.

Enjoying this column? Want to read more like this? Support your local newspaper and local journalist subscribe to The Wylie News today!

By John Moore | thecountrywriter.com

Subscribe RH Love

0 Comments

Order photos

Related News

On the road again and again

On the road again and again

Back in the 60s, some American college kids protested the Vietnam War, but mostly, they conducted sit-ins. Few protests were violent. Other American college kids would have contests to see how many of them they could cram into a Volkswagen. Today, some college kids...

read more
Aisle be seeing you

Aisle be seeing you

As a child growing up in Ashdown, Arkansas, we had two main grocery stores. Shur-Way and Piggly Wiggly. Or as my dad called it, “Hoggly Woggly.” A trip to the store was like each TV commercial had come to life. Advertising agencies at the time were very good at what...

read more
‘Aggressive’ hurricane forecast for Gulf Coast

‘Aggressive’ hurricane forecast for Gulf Coast

Colorado State University researchers are calling this year’s hurricane season forecast “the most aggressive” ever, the Texas Standard reported. They say there is a 54% chance a hurricane will strike the Texas coast, and a 25% chance it will be major. Justin Ballard,...

read more
Fixer Uppers

Fixer Uppers

Recently, I saw something I haven’t seen in many years. A young man driving a car he was fixing up. It was an older Mustang. By older I mean a 90’s model. The car had spots of primer, there were a few dents, and the exhaust system appeared to be loose. By John Moore...

read more
Solar eclipse means big money to Texas

Solar eclipse means big money to Texas

One economist is calling it “the most profitable 22 minutes in Texas history,” according to the Texas Standard. The total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8 is expected to draw up to a million visitors to the Lone Star State, especially in its narrow path of totality....

read more
Texas counties among nation’s fastest growing

Texas counties among nation’s fastest growing

Recent estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that six of the 10 fastest-growing counties in the United States from 2022 to 2023 were in Texas. According to the Texas Tribune, Kaufman County, just east of Dallas, led the list with a 7.6% increase in new...

read more
Read this. Build a stronger community.

Read this. Build a stronger community.

Saddened. Embarrassed. Determined. These three words evoke distinct feelings and emotions.  In the context of an opinion piece we ran in the paper four and a half years ago, they described the aftermath of a community that lost its newspaper. After 130 years in...

read more
Largest wildfire in state history still raging

Largest wildfire in state history still raging

A wildfire in the Texas Panhandle has consumed more than 1 million acres and as of Sunday was just 15% contained, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service. It is the largest wildfire in Texas history. The Smokehouse Creek Fire is by far the most extensive of...

read more
Pet ownership: A lifetime commitment

Pet ownership: A lifetime commitment

He was crossing the road. Over and over. I was surprised someone hadn’t hit him with their car. I was also surprised the coyotes hadn’t gotten him. It was 9 o’clock at night and according to the residents of the small strip of country road, he’d been out there for a...

read more
Order photos