FOOD PREPARATION SYSTEMS – VII -Kitchen facilities and tasks

Post 272  –by Gautam Shah



The kitchen became a very complex space system, because many services from outside had their first port of linkage here. Things like fuel, water, commodities, deliveries, family members, staff and strangers, all arrived at kitchen because these were intensively required here and taken care of. Similarly kitchen was point of disposal and departure for the same reasons.


The only thing that was not desired in the ancient kitchen was the dining and guest entertainment by the house master. This was the chief reason why it remained neglected, till the quality of food and related services failed to impress the guests. Kitchen was un-owned or non-personal space, managed by a paid servants. Contrasting to these the kitchens of crafts person or farmers were lively and participatory spaces. These were often the only and real living rooms, with the attic as the isolated space for the master.

Bath tub

The kitchen gradually became a space system that housed several facilities and amenities to conduct not only food preparation related tasks, but washing, bathing, craft-work, and personal interactions. In colder climates families of ordinary citizens had dining as part of it. In warmer climates the kitchen and dining together served to be an interactive family space. The kitchen was conducted by the housewife, and she presided over it, even in societies the family was supposed to be subservient to the chief male of the house. Nobody would challenge the house-wife’s exclusive domination in kitchen.

White Kitchen

The exclusive supremacy of the wife was however, taken away in few countries or cultures, where women were forced to be in purdah. The kitchen as a connected space to the outside world was considered too promiscuous. An isolated kitchen can keep the affairs of family insulated from the out-side influences. The out-house kitchen was isolated from women’s quarters and conducted by Khansamas or male cooks. Large mansions of 18th C, Lucknow, Raipur, Bhopal and later the British officials’ bungalows had out-house kitchens (Bavarchi-khana) for different reasons. The separation of the kitchen from the house offered freedom from heat, odours and smoke.



Kitchens, from Industrial revolution era, have become effectively dependent on outside resources. Every thing that a kitchen needed, such as the fuels, condiments, commodities, partly prepared foods (tinned foods), water supply, solid and liquid waste disposal, gained substantial efficiency from such outside dependencies.

The kitchen now began to be arranged on the basis of such dependencies on the world outside. The dependencies manifested outside, so were touched upon on the perimeter of the kitchen. The internal arrangements reflected the external resources.

Wall dependency for amenities and facilities

The utilities are placed at resourceful locations. The utilities and their siting created a task routing pattern. Siting and Routing both added to higher productivity in the kitchen processes. Day by day, the spatial contribution of the building, and the connectivity of utilities, provided for many other technological developments.

Bath tub in Kitchen

Just as Industrial production was being streamlined into timed linear processes, late 19th and early 20th C women groups and magazines demanded work efficiency considerations in kitchen planning. These resulted in the recognition of wonder triangle of productivity, with nodes for sink, freeze and stove and total distance covered 6 to 6.5 mts.

Walled kitchen