Post 215 ⇒ by Gautam Shah →
FOOD PREPARATION SYSTEMS – III .
Kitchen and evolution of its Facilities
The kitchen related storage systems, their spread and mass in a dwelling are determined by the routine climate, cycles of seasons, kinship within the community, degree of urbanization and industrialization in the society. It is a tradition borne out of wisdom and accumulated experiences. ‘An efficient storage system is ingrained in the family lifestyle, and is a heritage of a community.’
Storage management has been a family vocation as much as a community concern. Communities bound by ethnic affinity ensure continuous supplies for all their members. Kitchens, sustain well, if supplies of food, water and fuel, are available at the doorstep. The concern for supplies is more pronounced in extreme climates, difficult terrains and lonely locations. The place of cooking is environmentally too hostile for storage of food stuffs, and so raw foods are stored elsewhere in the house. Food preparation is rarely dimensionally small and spatially insignificant activity. Food preparation rather then cooking requires more space. With assured supplies the food preparation processes become less bothersome. Romans were staying in multi-story (a 4-5 floor high) apartment like buildings. It was difficult to carry water, fuel and other supplies to upper floors, so relied on the ground floor bakers. The food preparation zone becomes omnipresent in the dwelling due to the spread of storage utilities. A moderate climate zone offers multi season replenishments, obviating the need for large volume storage. In hot arid climates, the house appears to be made of only storage utilities, whereas the cooking looks like physically a very small time and space activity.
Industrialized and urban localities have the advantage of supplies being delivered in ‘nearly ready to cook’ form and without much delay. Storage needs of an urban house are very much smaller.
Mansions of the rich had kitchen storage systems of very large variety and volume, but spread at several locations. Cooking vessels were large sized and shaped to meet needs of fancy recipes. The kitchen had fuel store, water source area, cleaning and washing section, meat rooms, milk and butter section. The staff at kitchen level dined in the kitchen, and required large volume of dishes, bowls, etc. The prepared food was taken to upper floor bedrooms, chambers, dining rooms or coffee rooms, requiring service items such as trays and trolleys. The food was taken to pantry area of the floor, to be rewarmed, reserved in silver or porcelains. The pantry area had many sub sections, such as the silver room, linen room, etc.
The lifestyle of rich was naturally emulated by others in the society. The difference was that their houses were not so large. They did not have the capacity to retain an army of food-zone related staff. Often the housewife was required to intervene in the kitchen activities. The involvement of the housewife assured that kitchen was a clean and well-articulated place. Most of the kitchen related storage systems were in the kitchen or in an attached store room.
Task utilities of a kitchen are sited everywhere in the house to take advantage of the varied sensual experiences and comforts, as offered by the house. Certain amenities, like the grinding stone, butter milk churner, flour-mill, vegetable chopper, were fixed to a location, for advantaging the architectural, and other functional attributes of the space. Other task utilities, however, are shifted from place to place on schedules of daily, seasonal or occasional nature, to exploit the environment, climate, illumination, etc. available within and without the precinct of a kitchen.