Ode to the kitchen

 Ode to the kitchen

We love things ‘to go’ – We drink coffee to go. We communicate to go. We do business to go, and we love to eat to go. But the “to go” hasn’t always been so popular as it is today since we simply haven’t had the same possibilities in the past. 

Not so much time ago our kitchens were the ‘headquarters’ of many things which we nowadays sourced out ‘to go’. There was no ‘take away’ until recently and eating out was a luxury which many just couldn’t afford. Therefore people cooked and prepared their food at home. At least once a day, mostly in the evening, all would meet up around the kitchen table and enjoy dinner together. This meeting did not only assure a proper meal. Furthermore, it also offered an excuse to talk, to reflect the day, to discuss about recent events and also to enjoy banal chats which sometimes could lead to discussions.

But the kitchen was more than ‘only’ a place for cooking, eating and socializing. Very often it was the only room one could afford to hear, and so it became the convention center of the flat. That’s why it is not surprising that many kitchens also had sofas and armchairs. They served for almost everything as for instance homework, housework, reading, drawing, sewing and receiving visitors.

In the 1920ies when the Frankfurt kitchen was invented. Its intention was to optimize the workflow and allow to mass-produce the furniture as it was intended to be used in the buildings of the Frankfurt housing development program. Today it is seen as the prototype of the fitted kitchen. Due to the new definition of the kitchen, the ‘living’ had to separate. Additionally, the people who lived with this kitchen had to change their habits of using their home space which did not make everybody happy.

However, the life could have never really banned from the kitchen. Still, not everybody had the financial resources to heat all rooms, and therefore the kitchen stayed a place for “meet and greet” in many houses. Its Renaissance was brought to the broad public by the hippies in the 1070ies and can be found all over the world until today.

Until the beginning of the 1990ies also this kitchen had an oven. It was the only room in the flat which was always warm. I remember many moments in this room. Very often there was a delicious smell coming out of it which attracting everybody to come and see. It had a huge corner seat where one would meet up at least every evening, make cookies, homework, sew and sometimes even play the Amiga which was excitedly borrowed.

Once, this kitchen was a room of life but now the time has come to let it go.




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