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Kitchen appliances: Do they make 'em like they used to?

My heart says "No" but my head says "They make 'em better." Probably... I think.  

Although it's true that my kitchen stove, new just four years ago, began emitting un-ignited gas in a near-death fashion, I still think that today's appliances must be more reliable than those of decades past. Aren't they? 

My Food for Thought pard, Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson isn't so sure.

In this week's episode she compares her used $150 portable dishwasher which slogged on uncomplaining for ten years with the "Fancy-schmancy" $900 job that required the services of high-priced repairmen in white lab coats after just six months.

Still, while  "They don't make 'em like they used to" is undoubtedly true, it's not necessarily a positive statement. Remember what it was like to defrost a freezer compartment? 'Nuff said. And speaking of 'fridges, look how this guy turned his into a chalk board.  How cool.

"I have a greater appreciation for kitchen appliances, having played one."

– Anthony Daniels  (Star Wars' C3PO)

Food for Thought” is a weekly KPLU feature covering the world of food as well as the thinking that goes into it. The feature is published here and airs on KPLU 88.5 every Wednesday during Morning Edition and All Things Considered. 

Dick Stein joined KNKX in January 1992. He retired in 2020 after three decades on air. During his storied radio career, he hosted the morning jazz show, co-hosted and produced "Food for Thought" with Nancy Leson and wrote and directed the Jimmy Jazzoid live radio musical comedies and 100 episodes of Jazz Kitchen.