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Just 60 years ago, preparing food was a time-consuming process that for some — mainly the suburban housewife — could occupy much of the day. Though we had long since progressed from hunter-gathering and industrialization had created a class of consumers rather than producers of food, keeping the family fed remained a job that involved everyone in the household.

No wonder, then, that after World War II, consumers in Europe and the United States embraced every newfangled kitchen innovation — from refrigerators to electric food mixers — as a symbol of progress.

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