History of the Kitchen
The kitchen for many of us is a gathering point. An area where our thoughts and feelings can come out freely. A place to catch up with old friends or family.
Why is that? Some of my best conversations I've had were centered around that Mediterranean style kitchen I grew up in. Let's talk about the history of the kitchen and why it's become a type of safe haven for so many of us.
Back in ancient times, kitchens were strictly business. Their one purpose was to prepare the food for the rest of the family and community. These open fires would normally be set up outside the grounds of the community where you'd find simple masonry constructions to hold the open fires and food. Even during this time, people would naturally gather around the "kitchen". It was the main source of light, heat, and safety. I imagine some pretty great conversations/community gossip happening here.
18TH AND 19TH CENTURY KITCHEN
The 18th and 19th century saw kitchens still being somewhat "hidden" in the home but was essential when it came to heating the household and preparing the food. The kitchen in the 18th century was still relying heavily on open fires powered by either coal or wood. You'd commonly see large tables in the middle of the space for food and a spot to gather around.
It wasn't till the 19th century where we started seeing the cast iron stoves. If you look at the picture below, you notice that cabinetry and countertops had not become common yet. Big changes were happening towards the end of the 19th century with innovation in design and technology coming quickly. People were starting to see the kitchen for what it was. A centerpiece of the house as apposed to a required room in the home.
POST WORLD WAR II
After World War II, we started to see the "fitted kitchen" look in more and more households. The new cabinetry and appliances being used were meant to be shown off and an aspect of the home people started taking pride in. The days of putting your kitchen in the back of the house, out of site was no more. Open designs, new technology, and the housing boom all contributed to the new trend of having a kitchen be the talking point of the house. And just like ancient times, people still naturally gravitated towards the kitchen. Not for light or heat, but to talk about life and that weird new microwave thing that heats food up in a blink of an eye.
Flash forward to present day: The aesthetic of the kitchen has changed a tremendous amount over the years thanks to technology and innovation in design. Large countertops made of granite, quartz, marble, solid surface, or laminate is a guarantee. Appliances like ovens, microwaves, dish washers, refrigerators are commonplace.
But the idea of the kitchen has never really changed. It's an area in the home where you prepare the food and since the beginning of time, has always been a place where people tend to gather. Take note next time your in your home together with family/friends. Is it in the kitchen?