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Then & Now: Small Kitchen Appliances

Then & Now: Small Kitchen Appliances

Wish Book

When it comes to cooking, small kitchen appliances can make all the difference when whipping up a hot meal. There are, of course, the major machines like ranges and dishwashers that help you hold down the fort daily, but small gizmos and doo-dads shaved off hours of prep time for amateur cooks and experienced chefs alike. The hottest small appliances have been a staple in Sears' Wish Books for decades. Here are some of our favorite kitchen gadgets from the past.


A Sign of Things to Come

You may think your 5-speed stand mixer is some kind of modern miracle, but those versatile little marvels have been around since before we landed on the moon. In the 1964 Sears Christmas Book, an early Kenmore model shows a fairly similar design to the one we now know and love. It even came with some of the optional attachments that many a kitchen simply couldn't function without today.

The difference between the vintage selection and today's models might seem non-existent, but not so fast! The colors back then were "interesting" to say the least. Yellow, coppertone and turquoise were hot back in the day. Sure, unique or bold designs still exist, but the colors aren't tied to the times (at least that's what we say now).

Kenmore stand mixers from the 1964 Sears Christmas Book
Electric fondue pot in the 1971 Sears Wish Book
Food Processor from the 1989 Sears Wish Book
Deep fryer from the 1989 Sears Wish Book
Slow cooker from the 1989 Sears Wish Book

A Good Old-Fashioned Meltdown

Fondue parties were all the rage in the 60s and 70s, and one of the hottest ways to entertain a small group of guests was with a bubbling pot of dairy. A quality fondue set was a must-have for any regular host, until the future came along. In the 1971 Sears Wish Book, an electronic upgrade popped up to delight dining room tables everywhere.

Gone were the days of open flames to heat your cheese; an efficient electric fondue pot made it even easier to whip up some steamy goodness. While the pots still exist, the parties have faded away. But why? What's the problem with gatherings anchored by melted cheese and chocolate? Darn you, fat-free fad!

Food Processors, Deep Fryers & Slow Cookers! Oh My!

As kitchen appliances advanced, everything from waffle irons and food processors to slow cookers and deep fyers became hot commodities on American countertops. While this series of small appliances from the 1989 Sears Wish Book brought forth delicious convenience, the designs left something to be desired. Those boxy shapes scream 1980s. But it's what's under the hood that counts, right? 


KitchenAid Artisan® Series Empire
Modern Cuisinart electric fondue pot
NutriBullet 8-Piece Blender/Extractor Set

We can all be thankful that these wonderful gifts have made leaps forward in both power and design. The KitchenAid Artisan® Series Empire and Professional 600 Series 6-Quart Stand Mixer, both available in this year's Wish Book, make baking far too many batches of your famous holiday cookies more fun than work. It also looks crazy-sleek on your countertop.

Or maybe you're skipping the cookies and taking your New Year's resolution seriously (of course you're not kidding this time!). Ditch the dull blenders of yesteryear, and take your smoothie game up a notch with a shiny new NutriBullet 8-Piece Blender/Extractor Set. This special machine blends all your fruits and veggies a cinch, even if you're running late to the morning yoga class you'll definitely quit by March (we're not here to judge). And what the heck! When that day comes, melt down some Gruyère and bring fondue into the 21st century.


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