One of the rooms we spend most of our time in is the kitchen. When you really think about it when hosting Thanksgiving, Superbowl and birthday parties, everyone seems to congregate in the kitchen. Kitchens now open up to living rooms and dining rooms making it a popular area to just hang out. When it comes to buying a home,the kitchen is the number one selling feature of a home. So its no wonder that they have become so expansive, and desirable today. Things have not always been this way in fact, kitchens at one time were a room left to be desired and not many people wanted to spend time in. I thought it would be fun to take brief lesson on the history of the kitchen.
Kitchens in the Middle Ages:
During the middles ages life centered around an always open and lit fireplace within the one room of the house. All of the daily activities within the home were conducted around the open flame. It was the primary source of heat and light. Smoke and soot were always a common issue in the home. Chimneys weren’t a commonly used practice until the 16th century. With the use of chimney’s the smoke and soot were able to get up and out into the great room. With the creation of the chimney, great rooms became divided into the kitchen and living area.
Kitchens in the 1700’s-1800’s
The 18th and 19th century brought about a much more formal dining experience which was heavily influenced by economics and politics of the time. Servants were used to cook and clean at this time do to the additional amount of ovens and tools used for cooking . The average length of a course was an hour with multiple courses being served. It wasn’t uncommon for approximately 25 dishes to be used during one course of the formal dining experience.
Kitchen’s in the late 1800’s:
During the 19th century kitchens started to have more technological advancements in order to help alleviate labor and time. Some of the advancements include using coal versus gas, the invention of the cast iron stove, electricity, and plumbing. All of the advancements taking place definitely changed the look of the kitchen. Servants were still employed during this time, for cleaning, cooking and prepping. Kitchens at this time were still not the entertaining spaces they are now, most row houses and brownstones kept the kitchen on the bottom floor out of sight and away from the main entrance. For those who could not afford servants the kitchen was still in the back of the house away from any entertaining space or parlor.
Kitchen’s in the 1900’s:
The industrial revolution brought about many changes and conveniences for the kitchen. Gas became the preferred method of cooking and unlike the 1800’s storage became more popular with the invention of additional cabinets, this eventually lead to the ergonomic kitchen design in the 1920’s. This opened up a lot more space creating much more efficiency for the homeowner. By 1930 and in to the 1940’s the “fitted” kitchen was created with fitted cabinetry and appliances to create much nicer interior design and workflow within the kitchen. By this time there were many appliances invented to save time and the kitchen became a source of pride for women, who had spent time outside of the home during the War, and desired a better design in their kitchen. The housing boom after the war also had a huge impact on the kitchen we know today. Everyone wanted modern conveniences from range hoods, to shiny new ovens. During the 1960’s and 1970’s cooking at home became much more popular as did entertaining. At this time the kitchen became the “spot” for gathering. By the 1980’s the open concept came about as well as the idea of showing off appliances and cookware.
Modern Day Kitchen:
Kitchens are now a social hub for many things, from homework, to crafting and of course cooking and eating. Technology has come so far that our refrigerators can let us know who is calling us, and have TVs for entertainment. The kitchen has come a long way since a fireplace in the middle of the room. It is a huge source of pride for people and their homes. We can’t wait to see what will come next for the kitchen.