Kitchens Throughout the Ages
3rd May 2017
Have you ever wondered what kitchens used to look like? We certainly have! After all, culinary culture is an important part of history. So, from the primordial man crouched over his fire to the high-tech methods of today, we will look at some interesting points in kitchen history.
In these times, also known as the “Middle Ages”, European communal societies would cook over an open fire in a one-room home. Alternatively, many people would gather in grand halls which featured large open fire pits in which to cook everyone’s food. The pit was viewed as everyone’s source of light, heat and safety.
As history made its advances, so did the kitchen space. Gatherings around the open fire were commonplace with smoke and soot becoming a constant issue. That is until the invention of the chimney, a device that helped draw smoke away and made it easier to create larger fires. The introduction of chimneys caused a huge change, the separation of the two household rooms, creating what is now known as the ‘Living Room’ and the ‘Kitchen’.
The economic trends and politics of this time had a massive influence on what we consider kitchens to be now. The age was highly affected by the French ideals of elaborate meals and formal table settings. Dining etiquette was also introduced, new food was imported and servants were employed to cook and clean luxurious kitchens. Dinner parties were known for using an extravagant amount of food with a different course every hour!
This century brought on a slew of technological enhancements which greatly helped the kitchen scene, such as: electricity, plumbed water, turnspit dogs and gas. Kitchens were typically kept on the bottom floor of houses and away from the entrance. There was often good access to the backyard for laundry and deliveries. Although, the biggest change of all had to be the introduction of cast iron tools. These were strong, reliable tools which could be bent into any shape and could withstand temperature swings. The tools soon became a necessity in the household. Furthermore, just as the man of the house had his designated work area, so did the women- the kitchen. Due to this the kitchen was deemed a place unfit for guest entertainment.
20th Century (first half)
Due to the industrial revolution, new inventions were spurred and prices became cheap. Kitchen design became more prominent with storage options becoming more commercial and accessible. The harnessing of reliable gas sources allowed appliances to become smaller and more efficient, one such example would be the oven. Kitchen design became a real concern with ergonomic practices becoming commonplace, leading to the creation of the “Golden Triangle” theory. Soon, fitted kitchens became the norm and were viewed as luxurious commodities.
20th Century (second half)
The manufacturing advancements and housing boom of post World War 2 changed the kitchen environment permanently. New appliances were available and the kitchen was smaller and quieter than before. Culinary crafts became a buzz, birthing the concept of trophy kitchens and the idea of the luxurious kitchen.
The modern kitchen is a positively immense testing ground for new ideas and concepts. Thanks to the introduction of social media into society many people use their kitchens for various business, such as food blogs. They are also used for crating and hobbies; no longer a simple room for cooking meals. Furthermore, the massive technological leaps of modern times have given way to incredibly simple and efficient appliances with fantastic features, such as wireless technology. Truly the kitchen has never looked better, with modern kitchen design and solutions becoming a forefront in business and fashion.
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