Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS)


Liberal Studies

First Advisor

Adrienne Zuerner

Second Advisor

Charlotte Goodman


This thesis examines the evolution of the American kitchen from the turn of the nineteenth century--historically, technologically, and socially--and the effect of such a transition on the lives of women. Following the introduction of such innovations as the kitchen sink, the cooking stove, the dishwasher, and the microwave oven, this thesis also examines the condition of women in the kitchen and observes the parallel growth, over time, of the kitchen and women's lives. The kitchen evolves from a place of imposed drudgery to that of the enlightened center of the home. We see that, as decades pass, the kitchen becomes a place of brightness, considered to be the home's heart, a place where food is shared, memories are created, and time with loved ones is savored.

In conclusion, this thesis poses the following questions: what shape will the kitchen of the twenty-first century take? How will food traditions and communication continue, and how will they evolve? These topics are relevant as our new century enters its second decade.