Post 214 – by Gautam Shah
Kitchen and its place in the house
Home, Dwelling to House the structuring of the human abode has been centred on the position of the food preparation area. The transition from a metaphoric form, the Home to the physical definition of a dwelling in spite of assimilating many other concerns has remained focussed to the food preparation area. The structured frame as a Home, at simplest level had a singular space shared by house master as well as the servants. In early European dwellings, the master and the servants shared the warm kitchen for the night. The cold climate and warmth of the hearth helped create such single space entities.
In metaphoric dwelling, the basic or minimal form of the house, like the Bedouin and Nomadic tents, the food zone in spite of the climatic shifting (indoors or outdoors) was the resolving force of living. Transit houses of Eskimos, Red Indians or Mongol, the food preparation area was commencement of the house structure.
Single room or small houses managed by the housewife herself have had well formed and well-sited food zones. The kitchen came into being with the evolution of dwelling. It had natural efficiency of connections with neighbourhoods. A kitchen was often just a slot in the time schedule and a casual space occupation, yet when it became active for breakfast, lunch, supper or dinner, it was a place for the entire family. It was a place commandeered by the hearth, food and mother.
The housewife was no longer the commandeering mother in mansions of the rich. She had a retinue of servants who prepared the food in the kitchen, bearers who brought the food to dining area, and butlers to serve the food. The multi tired arrangement pushed the kitchen to lower floors or dungeon. It kept the smoke, heat and smell and sweaty and stinky cooks dealing with food away. No one, the master or the lady, ever cared to refurbish the kitchen.
The kitchen or food zone, began to get refurbished when fancy recipes and exotic foods arrived. The first came in with wider travel across countries by the house masters, and the later through traders. Both of these factors required new kitchen technologies. The house master, who was more familiar with foreign food varieties, wanted to impress the party guests. The house master was instrumental in redefining food preparation area.
The kitchen of the individual mid-class family was a cosmos of its own. It was well-evolved space, with storage areas for foods and vessels, fuel supply, access to water, garbage disposal, drainage and work platforms. The kitchen had its own access back door for supplies and staff entry. It was a very interactive zone for people, goods, services and information. This is one of the reasons why some conservative communities had secluded kitchens, to cut-off all outer contacts. On the other hand kitchens operated by males were created as outhouse or annexe entities.
The siting and physical form of a kitchen depends on obvious operants like climate, effluent management and storage systems, and many other ephemeral causes like taboos, customs, religious, political, economics, etc.