8 Food-Related Things That Were Invented By Women — And That We Can’t Do Without!

Did you know that women invented frozen pizza and the dishwasher? These and many more are creations that we simply can't imagine doing without. This piece is all about celebrating and drawing attention to these intelligent women for their contributions to the food industry in honor of International Women's Day.

By Cookist
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This list includes eight laudable women and their priceless contributions to make the food industry what we know now.

Lillian Gilbreth: The Foot-Pedal Trash Can

Lillian Gilbreth is known for her iconic modifications to existing inventions. One such is the foot-pedal trash can, which promotes hygiene and limits cross-contamination from touching the trashcan's lid. Other significant improvements made by Gilbreth include installing shelves inside refrigerator doors and making the can opener easier to handle.

Carmela Vitale: The Pizza Saver

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In 1983, Carmela Vitale filed a patent for a plastic 3-legged stool that could sit in the center of a pizza and prevent the box from pressing onto the pizza's top. This genius invention is now also commonly used in egg holders to limit breakage when they're in transit!

Nancy Johnson: The Ice Cream Maker

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Decades ago, around the early 1800s, ice cream was considered a rare dessert, enjoyed only by wealthy citizens and only on special occasions. Thanks to Nancy Johnson's ice cream maker, that changed. In 1843, she applied for a patent for her hand-cranked ice cream freezer; the machine had a moveable crank and a center paddle that churns the mix around.

Margaret Knight: Flat-bottomed Paper Bags

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Paper bags formerly looked like envelopes or cones, which means they couldn't stand upright on flat surfaces. Margaret Knight changed this in 1868 when she invented the machine that made paper bags with a flat bottom. She, however, didn't earn a patent for it until 1871 following a short battle with Charles Annan, who had seen her designs and received a patent without giving proper credit.

Rose Totino: Frozen Pizza

Rose Totino and her spouse launched a take-out pizza shop in Minneapolis in the 1950s. The venture's success expanded to a sit-down restaurant and started offering frozen pies for customers to take home and bake. By 1962, Totino's frozen pizzas started enjoying mass production, and she sold her business to Pillsbury, becoming the company's first female corporate vice president.

Melitta Bentz: Paper Coffee Filters

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German housewife Melitta Bentz went creative to solve the problem of coffee residues left after her daily coffee cup. She poked holes in a kitchen pot and lined the pot with paper from her son's school workbook. Bentz quickly realized how effective this worked and created her eponymously named company, Melitta, which sells coffee, filters, drop coffee makers, and more until today.

Josephine Garis Cochran: The Dishwasher

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Josephine Garis Cochran was a savvy socialite who often hosted parties in her home. She invented the dishwasher while searching for a way to wash dishes piled up from the events faster than her servants and without breaking them. Cochran received a patent for the first useful dishwasher on December 28, 1886, but it wasn't until the 1950s when dishwashers became recognized as standard household appliances.

Ruth Graves Wakefield: Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Last but not least is Ruth Graves Wakefield, who "accidentally" created chocolate chip cookies. This was in 1930, and Ruth had only set out to whip up a batch of Chocolate Butter Drop Do cookies for guests staying at her inn. It was a little too late when she discovered that she had run out of baker's chocolate. Instead, she added a block of Nestle semi-sweet chocolate given to her by Andrew Nestlé of the Nestle Company, thinking it would melt evenly throughout the dough.

Instead, the chocolate pieces retained their form, providing a gooey chew alongside the rest of the dough. Of course, the guests loved the decadent snack and, thus, the chocolate chip cookies' birth.

These creations range from being downright amazing like the dishwasher to seeming menial like the flat-bottomed paper bag but can you even imagine a world without them?

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