Kitchen-Klatter

Another item I received for Christmas immediately took me back to my younger days as soon as I saw it; my mom gave me a Kitchen-Klatter cookbook from the early 70’s.  Mom might not even realize how much Kitchen-Klatter is ingrained into my early memories, but she knows I like old cookbooks, so the gift fit.

Kitchen-Klatter seemed like a daily staple at our house in Lincoln, Nebraska, in the early 70s.  Mom would have the kitchen radio on during the day, hosting the voices of Leanna Driftmier  and Evelyn Birkby.  Driftmier was another one of those radio pioneers who had a very important job in Midcentury (and later) years — being a friendly voice to women who worked at home.   Although I don’t remember the program in detail, I do remember women’s voices coming over the radio, presumably Driftmier’s and Birkby’s, giving slow directions to one recipe or another.  Although Kitchen-Klatter was only a Midwest program, it also had its own line of flavorings, as well as a newsletter packed full of the recipes covered on the show, as well as other helpful hints and tips.  Many women posting casually on cooking/homemaking bulletin boards admit to having “bags full” of the old Kitchen-Klatter magazines that were passed down from their mothers or grandmothers.  Lucky gals!

Driftmier’s program seemed to be similar to that of Wynn Speece, who was known as the “Neighbor Lady” on WNAX out of Yankton, South Dakota.  Here’s a short biography on her from the Iowa Women’s Archives, University of Iowa:

Leanna Field Driftmier, radio broadcaster and founder of “Kitchen-Klatter,” was born on April 3, 1886 in Shenandoah, Iowa. Upon finishing high school in 1905, she taught country school near Essex, Iowa. In 1906 she was asked to care for her grandparents in California. While there she attended Los Angeles State Normal College, resuming teaching in 1911 in San Bernardino, California. Returning to Iowa in 1912 for a family visit, she met Martin H. Driftmier whom she subsequently married in 1913. A widower, Martin Driftmier brought two children into the marriage. The Driftmiers ultimately raised seven children.

In 1926 Leanna Driftmier established her own homemaker program, “Kitchen-Klatter,” on radio station KFNF in Shenandoah, Iowa. KFNF was owned by her brother, Henry Field, an early developer of hybrid seed and founder of the Henry Field Seed Company in Shenandoah. In this half-hour program Driftmier discussed her family, recipes, philosophy, and whatever news seemed worth sharing. Beamed to six midwestern states, “Kitchen-Klatter” became the longest-running homemaker program in the history of radio. Driftmier celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the “Kitchen-Klatter” broadcasts in 1976. In 1954 Driftmier was the recipient of the Iowa Mother of the Year Award.

Here’s an excerpt from one of the magazines from 1947:

For more information on the Kitchen-Klatter founder and its contributors, here’s a Des Moines Register article.

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  1. 50s Pam’s avatar

    Very cool! I have a stash of these that I bought from ebay a couple of years ago because they looked interesting. But, I never knew their history! Thanks for posting this. It is so interesting to hear about entrepreneurial women like this from that era!

    Reply

    1. Jen’s avatar

      I had really forgotten about Kitchen-Klatter until my mom gave me this cookbook. Now I can feel myself wanting to go hunt down stacks of these magazines, much as I went on a rampage collecting the WNAX Neighbor Lady cookbooks. I’m holding myself back — for now. 😉

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    2. Suzanne Lainson’s avatar

      I was living in Hastings NE in the early 1970s and remember the radio show. It was like eavesdropping on a group of women friends talking to each other in someone’s kitchen. I was in my early 20s and considered myself pretty sophisticated. But I loved listening to the show. It was kind of hokey in a charming way.

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      1. Jen’s avatar

        Ah, a fellow Cornhusker! You have described this show quite accurately. I really did feel like listening in on a group of ladies just discussing the day’s events and sharing a few recipes on the side. It was a comforting background noise, and yes, charming.

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      2. Chris Tornquist’s avatar

        Leanna Driftmier lived across the street from me in Shenandoah; I mowed her lawn, shoveled her snow, sold her fresh sweet corn, and whatever else she asked of me. She was in our home a few times (although it was difficult because she was in a wheelchair). I graduated from Shenandoah High School in 1975, and really enjoyed getting to know Leanna. She was a sweet, godly woman, not pretentious in any way, although in a very real way a “famous” woman. I still remember her sweet smile and the few bucks I earned caring for her yard.

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        1. Paul Driftmier’s avatar

          Thank you, Chris. You rock. Please reach me by cell at 608-338-5635 or email at pdriftmier@mac.com

          Best regards,
          Paul

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        2. Dee Anderson’s avatar

          One of my fondest childhood memories of Granny’s house was the Kitchen Klatter program blaring from the radio in her kitchen. Granny’s cabinets were full of kitchen Klatter flavorings and I think those silver handled knives in my kitchen drawer were purchased from the Kitchen Klatter catalog by Granny, as a gift for my mother. I remember the way Evelyn would talk about her family as if she was sitting at Granny’s table with us, and I remember the way Granny talked about Evelyn, Leanna, and Lucille as if they were her dearest friends. I inherited Mother’s copy of the 70s Kitchen Klatter Cookbook, and take great joy in carrying on our Kitchen Klatter family tradition.

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          1. Jen’s avatar

            Isn’t it funny how something as simple as a radio program can become so ingrained in our childhood memories? I do so wish we had some of those programs still around.

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          2. Lori Pomerenke’s avatar

            I so enjoyed all your comments about Kitchen Klatter. I too remember that I needed to be quiet during that important broadcast. I have almost allof the old Kitchen Klatter magazines and enjoy reading them and wondering where everyone is now. Is anybody from the Shenendoah area that can tell me? The magzine letters from the family members take me back for awhile to the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s and certainly are a reflection of family life in the midwest during that time.

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          3. Nancy Newell’s avatar

            I bought a copy of the November 1958 Kitchen-Klatter at a garage sale because I love vintage items and I was born in November 1958. The magazine is so cool! I loved reading it. I never knew the history on this magazine so it was really neat reading about it. There were many copies of this magazine but the seller would not “wheel and deal” on her price so I just bought the one. Thanks for the information.

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          4. Judy Osborn’s avatar

            I have quite a collection of KITCHEN KLATTER magazines that I would like to sell if anyone is interested. My wonderful Grandmother was a farmers wife in Mo. and these were hers. I have to find homes for alot of belongings and it is time for
            these magazines to find a new home. Thank you.

            Reply

          5. Ruth Cozad’s avatar

            I have my Kitchen Klatter cookbook bought between 1974 and 1976—I have been using it ever since and it needs replaced as it’s really worn out. If anyone knows of a new Kitchen Klatter cookbook I would appreciate the information on where to buy it.

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            1. Mary’s avatar

              check on ebay

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            2. Keith Oetjen’s avatar

              Does anyone know where I might find some Kitchen Klatter radio program recordings? The magazines and cookbooks are available on ebay. I am interested in small town or rural everyday stories from the 50’s and 60’s. Thank you.

              Reply

              1. Jen’s avatar

                I have searched for recordings of the program before, Keith, but have not found any, aside from the Leanna Driftmier collection at the University of Iowa library. If you have any luck finding some, please let me and the readers know, as there are many of us, it seems, who have nostalgia for that program.

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              2. Mary’s avatar

                I have quite a collection of magazines and cookbooks. I was a fan as a kid and as an adult. Nothing like that anymore and that is too bad.

                Reply

              3. Mary’s avatar

                FYI-The Kitchen Klatter products (flavorings, seasonings, salad dressings,no calorie sweetner and the cleaning products are STILL being made in Shennandoah, Iowa, and are available by mail. They are under the name of X-TRA TOUCH and can be found online at
                http://www.x tra-touch.com I have bought them and they are just the same as they used to be.

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              4. Rick’s avatar

                @Mary- the URL you have listed above is missing a character, and therefore is busted. The corrected URL is http://x-tra-touch.com
                We have several of the Kitchen Klatter labeled bottles, which have now become collectibles, based on this article!
                Thanks.

                Reply

              5. Paul Driftmier’s avatar

                Every little while I hop on Google and look to see who is still talking about my Grandma Driftmier. To this day, even here in central Wisconsin, I run into a “Kitchen-Klatter Friend” and we share pleasantries. Often, from having listened to the show, like so many of the good folks on this post, and read the magazine, the people I run into already know more about my youth (and youthful indiscretions) than even I do! But, it’s all good.

                I just want to say how heart-warming it has been to see the kind words and good memories that still percolate through the kitchens of the heartland, like echos of my Grandma’s voice. Thank you all.

                On a sad note, my father, Donald Paul Driftmier, known as “Little Donnie” to so many of you, just passed away on the 11th off this month and his memorial service will be this Saturday, January 28th. I believe his obituary can be found in the Shenandoah newspaper.

                Finally, Chris Tornquist, if you’re reading this, let’s talk again soon. I remember you well and the fun we had in your tree-fort and on my Grandma’s porch. You can find me through facebook.

                Regards, Paul Driftmier

                Reply

                1. Jen’s avatar

                  Thanks, Paul, for visiting the blog! I am glad you found this post; it is always neat to hear from people who knew the famous Kitchen-Klatter ladies, or who were actually related to them, in your case. Paul, do you know if any recordings of the program are “out there” somewhere?

                  Reply

                2. GENE CARR’s avatar

                  I GREW UP ON A FARM NEAR “ARKOE, MISSOURI” WHICH IS ABOUT 7 MILES SOUTHEAST OF MARYVILLE, MO. MY MOTHER NEVER MISSED A “KITCHEN KLATTER ” RADIO PROGRAM ON HENRY FIELDS KFNF! MOM (MATTIE CARR) WENT TO HER HEAVENLY REST IN 2005 AT 101 YEARS 2 MONTHS & 15 DAYS! I HAVE HER COLLECTION OF KITCHEN KLATTER MAGAZINES (YEARS & YEARS) ! I WISH TO FIND SOMEONE WHO WOULD APPRECIATE THEM FOR THEIR SENTIMENTAL VALUE NOT FOR MONTARY VALUE.
                  BLESSINGS, GENE CARR

                  Reply

                  1. Lori Morse’s avatar

                    My mother loved listening to Kitchen-Klatter and bought the cookbooks and subscribed to the magazines. Alas, when she passed away in 1988, I follishly tossed the magazines–I DID keep the cookbook, which I stilluse to this day, but now I wish I had kept the magazines! I miss my mom and my midwest!!

                    Reply

                    1. Jen’s avatar

                      I think the downside of the magazines were how much room they took up if you did collect them. There’s really no neat way to store all those magazines. I’ve thought about collecting them, but each time I find some in an antique store and pick them up, I think, “Where am I going to put all of these?” I love the cookbook, though! I use it a lot. I’m glad you have it to remind you of your mom and your Midwest. 🙂

                      Reply

                    2. Frances E. Jedlicka’s avatar

                      Was cleaning my cupboards and found several bottles of Kitchen Klatter flavorings. Most of the products are gone, but price tags are still on. 35 and 40 cents. I almost threw them away, but decided to keep and put a note on them so no one throws them out if something should happen to me. I also have the cook book and it has seen its better days. Not going to those thar either. So interesting to catch up on those girls. I was a bride and young mother when the program was on the radio. Thanks for the memories.

                      Reply

                      1. Jen’s avatar

                        Oh, I am jealous of your flavoring bottles! What a great thing to have as a decoration.

                        I was only a young girl when Kitchen Klatter was on the air, but I remember the ladies’ voices vividly. Thanks for sharing your memories of the show and the products! As this thread gets longer and people keep commenting about the flavorings, I hope everyone noticed an earlier post where someone helpfully gave the info about the flavorings continued production under the Xtra Touch name: http://www.xtratouch.com

                        Reply

                      2. Sue’s avatar

                        I was really looking for a cleaning product called X-tra that had the Kitchen Klatter name on it. My little grocery store said they couldn’t get it anymore. I have NEVER found anything like it. I wish I could find this product again.

                        Reply

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