The New Art of cooking, 1930s-style

It’s 1934, and we have a new GE refrigerator, or maybe we’re thinking of another new kitchen appliance. What will we do with our wonderful new electric kitchen helpers, and what should our new kitchen look like?

Time to browse The New Art:

The New Art cookbook, 1934

This cookbook/wish book showcased kitchens with GE appliances, and included recipes. It includes the recipes from the earlier Silent Hostess cookbook, along with other recipes to play to the strengths of other GE appliances besides the refrigerators.

First, they give you a few new 1934 model kitchens to drool over:

The New Art cookbook, 1934: Model kitchen

The New Art cookbook, 1934: Model "Provincial" kitchen

A “model kitchen”: Images of early 20th Century kitchens and kitchen goods

I have another web project I should probably mention, since it is somewhat related to the subject of this blog: A “model kitchen”: Images of early 20th Century kitchens and kitchen goods from Google Books (and elsewhere) Some of you may have already seen it when I posted it as a link on Metafilter Projects a couple of months ago, but I never mentioned it here or on Slumberland, I think.

When we started to redo the kitchen, which was built in 1911, I had to (because I’m just that kind of a geek) try to find tons of images of kitchens from that era to try to understand what the kitchen once looked like and how it was used when the house was new. Google Books, as it turns out, has bunches of old magazines and books that have the sort of images I was looking for. Many of them are in old ads. I also have found images in other sources such as the Library of Congress and the Seattle Municipal Archives.

I’ve collected a lot of these images and divided them into the categories of General kitchen views, plans, and cabinets; Refrigerators (ice boxes); Stoves; Furniture; Sinks; Accessories; and Miscellaneous. There are some amazing images, including the 1906 dishwasher and the rotating “U-Turn-It” apartment fixture. Here are a couple of examples from the “General kitchen views” category:

From an Armstrong Linoleum catalog, 1918.

From an Armstrong Linoleum catalog, 1918.

A model electric kitchen, 1924.

A model electric kitchen, 1924.

Unfortunately, if you are not in the US, most of the images won’t work for you. This is because I used Google Books’ “clip” function to make and host most of the images, and Google won’t show you the images if you’re not in the US. Sometimes changing the “.com” in the Google Books URL to your country’s usual domain (such as, or .ca) will make it work for you, but if not, you may not be able to see the images. I apologize. Someday I will try to host all the images myself, and get rid of the Google clips.

Recipes for your Hotpoint Electric Range

A few days ago I ordered something from Etsy (I’ll be posting about that something later) and the seller sent along a free gift:

Recipes for your Hotpoint Electric Range, 1949

…a very cool 1949 cookbook for new owners of Hotpoint ranges. It has some recipes and a few very cool vintage pictures of that mid-century type with colors that don’t really seem real.

Recipes for your Hotpoint Electric Range, 1949

Recipes for your Hotpoint Electric Range, 1949

It is possible that Wendi takes this vintage cooking thing too seriously

Back in January, when our old craptastic 1970s stove broke, I threatened to get a vintage stove. At the time, we had no idea what we were going to do to the kitchen other than to get another stove, and I wanted to get a new floor because the tiles were horrendous and never looked (or got) clean.

My house was built in 1911, and the kitchen had only been partially remodeled in all the years since — the original built-in “kitchen dresser” still exists on one wall. My dream was always to make it look like something in Bungalow Kitchens. But kitchen remodels — even period-style — are expensive, and I never thought we would be able to do one.

And then we saw this, and had to buy it:
"Country Charm" stove in our kitchen

Once you have a stove like this, it demands that the rest of the kitchen go with it. And so began the transformation of the kitchen into a modern version of a 1920s kitchen. (We didn’t quite go all the way back to 1911 style. 1920s kitchens have more storage.) It’s not finished yet. Normal people do this sort of thing in a more linear way, I suspect. But it is about 75% finished, and the kitchen is now usable. New Marmoleum floor, new cabinets, new (old) fridge, new big kitchen table to use as prep space and eating space — it is a dream kitchen, if you are a history geek like me.

The lesson, though, is be careful when you are planning to “just replace an appliance and maybe the floor tiles.” It doesn’t always work that way.

(About the stove — it’s not a true vintage stove. It’s a 1970s Country Charm reproduction, supposedly made from late 1800s molds, but with electric burners, a clock and timer, etc. It’s old enough to be vintage in its own way, but not a true antique. It works beautifully, though the oven is a bit small, and I like it. Eventually I might have to replace it with a gas stove, but currently we don’t have gas running to our kitchen.)




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  • profileWendi is a history geek and loves to bake, particularly recipes from her grandmother's collection. Kristen has been cooking her whole life. She has a BS in Family & Consumer Science and enjoys comfort foods and creating new recipes.


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