In the 2 February 1913 issue of
The New York Times, science writer Mr Waldemar Kaempffert, editor of
Scientific American magazine, made a not entirely serious
prediction about the kitchen of the future:
Housekeeping, Mr. Kaempffert
divides into cooking and housecleaning. Very gradually we are
beginning to buy our food ready cooked instead of attempting to cook
them ourselves. Potted meats, boiled hams, cold roasted
chickens, and a great many viands that only as late as twenty years
ago were prepared at home can now be bought at the corner delicatessen
or grocery store. Huge companies, capitalized at millions, cook
soup for hundreds of thousands and sell that soup in tins–better soup,
moreover, than most Bridgets can make. We are now living in the
tin-can epoch of housekeeping. The pneumatic-tube epoch is about
Mr. Kaempffert has the daring
to propose that each city shall have its central kitchen with tubes
radiating from it like the pipes from a water reservoir to the
thousands of kitchens in the metropolis. That central kitchen
will be comparable in size with the largest hotel in the city.
Each department will be in charge of an expert.
Promptly at 1:30 a carrier
containing your luncheon whizzes into your kitchen. It is simply
necessary for you to serve it. When your luncheon has been eaten
and your guests have departed, you have only to pack up your dishes
and send them back to the central station by the very carrier that
brought the, for the corporation not only cooks your food, but washes
your dishes as well.
The pneumatic tube age wasn't that
far off. Within 20 years, apartments in the centre of Berlin
were linked by a pneumatic system, though the "carriers" were thermos
jugs. This must have made soup, stews, and chicken legs popular,
though removing sandwiches would have required a lot of picking with a
fork and whole lobsters were right out.
Ironically, We have a similar
home-delivery system, but it generally involves pizza.