Sunday, June 01, 2008

Overdone Kitchens

Very interesting article in the Economist on the changing face of the kitchen over time. The feminist movement, the scarcity of domestic help, Formica, time saving appliances and popular media have contrived to make the humble kitchen the piece de resistance that it has become today.

The smoke-filled, hot and cramped kitchens may not have been as inviting as what the McMansions of today have but the food that came of them had more soul perhaps. Modern day kitchens are like divas – they have spunk, attitude and pizzazz but when it comes to delivering a wholesome hot meal, the unattractive yet functional kitchen of yesteryears wins hands down.

Needless to say, the denizens of the kitchen have changed as much as their habitat. It is no longer a woman’s place –she has been liberated and moved on but the vacuum left in her wake has been filled by a patch work of ready made food and leftovers from restaurant dinners. The modern day kitchen in the family’s watering hole with everyone doing their bit to put a meal on the table. Something is lost in the community endeavor.

Kitchens that look like an inspired work of modern art don't have the same cozy, intimate feel. They are meant to be admired not lived in and sullied. So we have the fanciest China, the coolest gadgets, recipe books from around the word not to mention an over-stocked spice rack and pantry but at the end of the day the answer to the question "What's for dinner tonight ?" is not likely to be a five course meal prepared in that spectacular kitchen.

What with wireless and digital entertainment zones, kitchens have come a long way from the era of the open fire and blackened pot. Kitchen designers plainly think that the lure of state-of-the-art multi-media gadgetry will pull more men into the kitchen in the future. And they may well be right. But whether they go there in order to stuff a mushroom, or rather to download music and stick a frozen chicken tikka in the microwave, is probably an open question.

1 comment:

ggop said...

Our house built in the early 60s had the formica countertop and a layout designed for minimal use. It was in the era of defrosted TV dinners.

I just had to tear out the electric cooker and replace it with gas. It drove me nuts. A basic remodel is very useful. The kind you see in HGTV makes you wonder do people feel comfortable touching the stuff :-)