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The introduction of electricity into rural kitchens in the 1930s heralded a revolution in cooking and food that changed life in countless ways. Here are just a few:
1944: The second issue of Texas Cooperative Electric Power publishes its first recipe—for Fruit-Stuffed Spareribs.
1947: David Pace starts bottling something he calls picante sauce in a rented room in the back of a San Antonio liquor store. Also, the electric dishwasher hits stores.
1949: Pillsbury holds its first bake-off.
1950: A hamburger stand named Whataburger opens in Corpus Christi, the first of what has grown into a chain of more than 800 restaurants.
1954: More than 25 million TV dinners are eaten in front of 33 million TV sets in American living rooms.
1955: Campbell’s develops the indispensable green bean casserole recipe.
1960: A Woolworth’s store in San Antonio serves lunch to four black people, positioning San Antonio as one of the first major Southern cities to desegregate lunch counters.
1960: The Granny Smith apple reaches the U.S. shores from New Zealand.
1963: The self-cleaning oven saves cooks time. Aluminum beverage cans now come with convenient pull tabs.
1964: The plastic milk container is introduced commercially.
1967: Amana introduces Radaranges, household microwave ovens. They sell for $495 ($3,800 in today’s money).
1968: Pringles stacks potato chips in a can.
1970: Texas Co-op Power publishes Typically Texas Cookbook, more than 300 pages of recipes submitted by electric co-op members.
1970: The Crock-Pot makes its way into American kitchens, as does Hamburger Helper.
1972: The automatic drip percolator makes it a little easier to get going in the morning.
1973: American Carl Sontheimer makes the definitive food processor, the Cuisinart. Also, the push-through aluminum can tab conquers the beverage market.
1976: Frank Liberto introduces stadium nachos to Texas Rangers fans at Arlington Stadium in 1976.
1980: Whole Foods Market opens its first store in Austin.
1983: After more than 10 years of research, Texas A&M University creates a supersweet onion called the 1015, named after the ideal date for planting—October 15.
1985: The electric bread maker makes life easier for those who don’t want to do it by hand.
1991: Salsa overtakes ketchup in sales to become the nation’s condiment of choice.
1994: The George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine, named after the former heavyweight boxing champion from Houston, debuts. Sales have surpassed 150 million.
2006: Anna Ginsberg of Austin, who later became Texas Co-op Power food editor, wins the Pillsbury Bake-Off with her recipe for Baked Chicken and Spinach Stuffing.
2017: Mexican mineral water Topo Chico gains a cultlike following in Texas. Coca-Cola purchases the brand.