All posts tagged: refrigerator

Curating the History of Freshness

In Fresh: A Perishable History, Susanne Freidberg chronicles the fascinating history of how refrigeration expanded the reach of the industrial food system, forever altering not only the world’s food supply, but also how consumers view freshness and conceptualize its meaning. She tells this story through a series of mini-histories focusing on specific foods: beef, eggs, fruit, vegetables, milk, and fish. In doing so, she reveals the many meanings of “fresh,” five of which are discussed in the following five images. 1. The Refrigerator Consumers once got along without refrigeration, shopping frequently and preserving food by canning, drying, and pickling. In fact, consumers were at first wary of refrigeration, though World War I marked a turning point. While meat and wheat were shipped to the warfront, American civilians were encouraged to consume fresh foods, unsuitable for shipment to soldiers. Consuming fresh produce, eggs, and dairy products were considered acts of both patriotism (as seen in this WWI food poster) and scientifically based health promotion, confirming the new place of these foods in the American diet and the role …

“It’s Always Summer-time in Your Kitchen:” Food Safety as Depicted in Home Refrigerator Advertising in the Interwar Years

What follows is an expanded abstract for the paper, “‘It’s Always Summer-time in Your Kitchen:’ Food Safety as Depicted in Home Refrigerator Advertising in the Interwar Years.”  Americans currently live in an age when food safety scares are headline news and an issue of concern for consumers. Take for example the ever-expanding peanut butter salmonella recall. While foodborne illness is a product of a long and complex food supply chain, its effects are often experienced in domestic environments of food consumption, such as the home kitchen. In fact, the evolution of the modern kitchen sits within a larger historical narrative of consumer food safety. Consider the home refrigerator, for example. Several scholars herald household refrigeration as one of the most important food safety achievements of the twentieth century (CDC 1999: 906; FPT 2011: 132; Roberts 2001: 29). Perhaps not coincidentally, the rise in home refrigerator ownership was coupled with, and fueled by, fervent consumer messaging from refrigerator marketers and home economics specialists alike. In his analysis, Peter Grahame argues that there is great variance among the content of …