Thread Number: 72993  /  Tag: Small Appliances
Nutone Food Center
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Post# 964234   10/25/2017 at 07:25 by johnrk (Houston)        

When my parents built a new home in 1963, they had a Nutone Food Center installed in the kitchen. These things must've been the rage at the time because a few other homes on our street had them, too. Probably that's where my mother got the idea from when they built.

However, she never liked it. I was in 2nd grade when they moved in there and I barely remember her ever using it. She had the mixer, the pink blender, a knife sharpener and maybe a can opener. Shortly after moving in, she quit using the thing, went back to her good old black-and-white Mixmaster and her 'beehive' Osterizer, and a stand-alone can opener with a knife sharpener on the back. She told me long after I was grown that she didn't think the mixer mixed nearly as well as her Mixmaster (which she replaced with a KA K5SS in the late 70's) and she hated the pink blender because the bottom wasn't removable for cleaning.

She ended up having that Food Center built into the counter until she had her kitchen remodeled in the mid 90's and out it went.

Does anyone on here have more positive memories of the Food Center? It appears, looking at photos, that Scovill ended up making it and even made models with digital controls. I know they were expensive but had it been that good, I'd have thought it'd still be made.

And I love her original owner's manual; that crazy mother must've been taking some speed!

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Post# 964238 , Reply# 1   10/25/2017 at 07:37 by joeekaitis (Rialto, California, USA)        
"that crazy mother must've been taking some speed!&#

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Columnist James Lileks could probably devote an entire web page to that image.


Post# 964254 , Reply# 2   10/25/2017 at 09:56 by PassatDoc (Orange County, California)        

Some family friends had the same unit built in to their midcentury home in the early 1960s. The home was fairly new and likely had not yet had a kitchen remodel, so I"m guessing it was offered by the builder as an option (or possibly as a standard feature). I only remember seeing them use the (clear) blender. Did the unit come will a full set of attachments, or did the owner have to acquire them "a la carte"?

Post# 964278 , Reply# 3   10/25/2017 at 14:48 by johnrk (Houston)        

I'm sure my mother bought whatever the 'standard' package was. Your friends must've gotten theirs a little later if they had the clear blender. All the earlier ones had that pink blender--weird. Mama had the pink blender, the mixer and I think the knife sharpener.

Post# 964281 , Reply# 4   10/25/2017 at 14:58 by twintubdexter (Palm Springs)        

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I used to house-sit for a friend of my parents when I was a teenager. He was a super-cool guy and his wife and daughter would take many trips to Bangor Maine. He was the top salesman for the appliance store I worked at and made bo-ku bucks. His modest home (now close to 2 million by Santa Clara standards) was a treasure trove of Custom Imperial  and anything else related to deluxe appliances. There was a Nutone Power Unit built into the kitchen counter and another one in the bar/pool table room. I had a lot of fun playing with them and thought they were so "Jetsons". 


The last home we bought in San Jose had a Ronson Foodmatic in the kitchen. I thought this was so much cooler than the Nutone. It even cooked and stirred food for you. The only thing I ever used it for was to make clam dip in the small mixer bowl. People thought it was a garbage shoot. Tucked away in a decorative trunk (in my bedroom!) is a complete Foodmatic with all the accessories including the food processor. I have a feeling it may stay there forever.

Post# 964285 , Reply# 5   10/25/2017 at 15:17 by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

My neighbor V. got a NuTone Food Center installed when they remodeled the kitchen in the Summer of '72. I think she likes and uses the blender part, but seems like she mentioned that she didn't like the mixer part because of the bowl. She also has a Sunbeam Mixmaster that she usually uses for cookies and cakes.

Post# 964297 , Reply# 6   10/25/2017 at 17:08 by appnut (TX)        

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We had one in the kitchen in the house we moved into September 1961.  Our street was the Parade of Home for Houston that previous spring.  I can vaguely remember one or two other homes on the street had them.  I actually liked the little pink blender (editors note everyone knows I hate pink.)  We had the blender, knife sharpener, and meat grinder.  The blender was perfect for a family of 5 for OJ.  I cannot remember if it was my mom or dad that used the blender.  I think because it was something new to play with, my parents began to many times on Sunday nights have malts and maybe toast or cereal as we watched Bonanza.  My dad used the sharpener anytime he needed something sharpened.  It was so easy to set up.  I loved watching the sparks fly.  Mom used the meat grinder.  I think the only thing she used it for was to grind up left over cooked roast beef.  She was heavy-handed in forcing the meat through.  That eventually caused the thing to break.  Dad cherished the thing, it was built in next to his wet bar sink.  But he didn't replace he meat grinder (or maybe the gears were stripped out of the motor unit) as a way of getting back at my mom for her causing it to meet a short life span.  The unit stayed put until the 1970s sometime when dad removed it and filled in the hole with a nice piece of wood that ended up looking like a built-in cutting board.  I wished they'd gotten other attachments.  But we had a 1944-wedding present Sunbeam Mixmaster.  WE had a 1-speed pale yellow waring blender that was noisy as hell.  I don't ever remember the original glass vessel for the blender.  Must have been broken before I was about age 4 or 5 at the most.  In retaliation of the broken jar, my dad was able to rig up a round plastic container fused with the blender jar base and that's how we kept  being able to have a blender until we moved into the new house. 

Post# 964306 , Reply# 7   10/25/2017 at 18:50 by johnrk (Houston)        
Parade Of Homes!

I remember Parade of Homes! Though my parents didn't build until 1963, we went for years to those things as kids while they decided what they wanted. In this town there were no subdivisions; my parents had bought 3/4 acre in 1957 while we were in their first home, and then bought and looked at house plans for 5 years while they saved up the down payment. And yes, they went to Houston to those Parades of Homes! Actually, I loved going, loved looking at all the cool-looking houses.

There was nothing at all wrong with that pink blender. Its only drawback was that the blades/base were not removable--just like the Warings of that time. My mother had had an Osterizer since she was married, which of course did. She hated doing stuff like dips in that Nutone, and she didn't really like the plastic carafe anyway. The Oster was/is so much easier because you can throw the carafe in the dishwasher. To do that with any blender with blades attached will ruin them because it'll dry out the lubricant. On my Bosch mixers, the blenders have removable bottoms. But--I do own around a half dozen vintage Warings with the cloverleaf containers just because they look great. Actually, the Iona blender is even prettier than the Warings. And the Silex pre-Proctor-Silex is also cool looking (see below)

I don't think we had the meat grinder; I don't remember Mama ever grinding any meat. If she had, it'd have been what your mama ground. My father wasn't into ground meat.

You couldn't beat those old Mixmasters--they were just great. I bought a 1947 one in a flea market in SE Houston after I'd moved to Victoria in the mid 80's to run a radiology dept. They had a retired professional clown who ran a small electrical repair shop, rewiring lamps, stuff like that. He rebuilt the motor on that little black-and-white Sunbeam for me, new brushes and all that, cleaned and lubed. Though I already had a Bosch Magic Mixer, I did enjoy playing with that Sunbeam for small stuff like cake batters. Gave it away when I moved back to Houston in '91. You know, Maida Heatter, the great cake expert, insisted that a good cake mixer needed two bowls: a large one and a small one. She believed in it so fiercely that when she would travel to speaking engagements or to Hollywood for TV, she'd pack her own Mixmaster with her!

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Post# 964321 , Reply# 8   10/25/2017 at 22:12 by fan-of-fans (Florida)        

My aunt and uncle have one in their beach house, which was built in 1986. I visited once and I think we may have used it but don't recall. The only attachment theirs has is the clear blender as far as I know. Their unit looks like your picture #11.

I never knew they sold an electronic version.

Post# 964419 , Reply# 9   10/26/2017 at 17:19 by GusHerb (Chicago/NWI)        

We had that Iona blender when I was little. I believe it was my grandparents.

It quit working one day and got stuffed in the back of the cabinet never to be seen again, though it might've gotten tossed out later on during a cleaning spree.

Post# 964459 , Reply# 10   10/27/2017 at 02:21 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
I have probably 35 or 30 NuTones,

Mike Hays was nuts over them and I got all the stuff he had, The Ronson mixer is better ,but I do have a NIB complete Nutone set from the late 50s that I'm going to install when I install new counter tops.."Linoleum:

Post# 964483 , Reply# 11   10/27/2017 at 07:20 by johnrk (Houston)        
Ronson and Bosch

As part of my little blender collection of thirty or so, I own a Ronson Cook-N'-Stir. This was rather their answer to a question no one asked: how to cook in your blender. You can indeed cook in it, though the blender blades in the bottom don't stir any more than any other of the day--they go way too fast for that. In exchange for being able to heat up chili, dip, canned soup, etc., you get a really heavy small appliance with a really heavy carafe. And it doesn't blend all that well. But it's impressive!

I started grinding my own grains and baking bread back in my vegan days in college in the 70's. In 1977, I bought a Bosch Magic Mixer, when you could only buy them from the Mormons at Magic Mill in Utah. Unlike the KA's and that ilk, I could easily knead 10 loaves of whole wheat bread at a time. We were into bartering, where I might bake that many loaves and exchange it for someone else's cooked dishes. Those WERE good days for me. I still have that mixer, and after thousands of loaves of those heavy w.w. dough, after just as many cakes and cookies, it still works perfectly. Mine looks like the Euro-spec one in the photos, only white. One gets spoiled with not having to peek around a hot motor to see the food, and of course the Electrolux Assistent is the same. I own one of those also, now they're being sold as Ankarsrum, and again, much, much more capacity than our American mixers. I don't understand Americans' obsession with the flimsier, overweight KA mixers, except that they're so readily available.

Anyway, Bosch came out with a version of their mixer set into a counter in the early 2000's, I think. It was extremely expensive, and used a special drive mechanism that would power everything from the blender and food processor to the mixer, all through the same port. They sold those as freestanding and built-in for several years, but it obviously wasn't a success, and was discontinued. See photo below.

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Post# 964536 , Reply# 12   10/27/2017 at 13:33 by washerboy (Little Rock Arkansas)        
exact one

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For a few years we lived in a home built in 1955. Everything was pink. We had the Nutone Food Center as well. I remember my mother using the mixer, but it was easier for her to grab her GE hand mixer. The knife sharpner worked so-so, and my mother just plain hated the blender...think she may have used it twice in the years we lived there. As I recall it didn't hold much and was witch to clean. I don't recall any other attachments. Probably wouldn't have mattered; My mother grew up on a farm with well water and wood burning stoves. She was done with grinding anything. Side note..the kitchen in that house was cool, pink stove top with push buttons on the wall, pink fridg that was on the counter top and a pink wall oven with meat the probe [which was never used..all meat had to be well done..that's another farm thing]

Post# 964565 , Reply# 13   10/27/2017 at 16:57 by henene4 (Germany)        
Bosch food processors

They never have been discontinued, only the build in versions. Price wise thse are on par with mid range machines.
They are verry nice to work with due to the easy acess to the bowl. Cleaning, handeling and results are a little more complicated then with some other machines though.

Post# 964568 , Reply# 14   10/27/2017 at 17:15 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
RE Well done meat!

Same with my Grandmother!!! She thought everything had to be cooked to death!! My Mother fixed rare roast beef once in a while and Grandmother wouldn't eat a bite of it..LOL

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