How our kitchens are used has changed considerably over the years, kitchen appliances have revolutionised how we live our lives. Kitchens were originally built around a large open fire and all cooking would be carried out on the fire which also served as a source of heat for the family. In larger, wealthier homes the kitchen (or kitchens) would be separate from the rest of the house where the staff would also congregate, they were far from glamorous. Kitchens are now multi-functioning, open and sociable spaces that are the hub of the home.
The introduction of the stove along with the development of water infrastructures was the turning point for kitchens and the evolution began. Urbanization and the invention of electricity along with the use of gas were the next major factors influencing kitchens. Pots and pans would have been stored on shelves and in cupboards; however the kitchen did not yet look anything like the stylish space it does today.
Kitchens were very often small, offering no space for the appliances that we have the pleasure of using in modern times, and so galley kitchens became popular. Dining rooms would be the place people would sit to eat meals, keeping the kitchen very much a separate room that would not be used for any sort of socialising.
In contrast, modern kitchens are not a room to be kept separate from the main house or simply a room to cook food, kitchens are now a central focus point of the home. The kitchen is often the heart of the home and is an area of multi-functional use where a variety of activities take place. Kitchens are used for cooking food, eating together as a family, entertaining friends and an area where children may do homework.
For the last few hundred years, people have been continually thinking of new and innovative ways to store food, cook and clean up, inventors are still trying to make things easier by coming up with new designs to help us become even more efficient.
The cooker is the main appliance that most people could not be without in our kitchens today, there are many to choose from – freestanding, range cookers or integrated, and they can be gas or electric. Without cookers our lives would be very different.
The next most popular kitchen item would have to be the refrigerator, without this many food products available to use would simply not exist. Dishwashers are a wonderful invention, saving time and money; women would spend hours in the kitchen in days of old preparing food for the family, there would be no time for her to work.
Thankfully, we can now run our kitchens so much more efficiently due to simple items such as irons, kettles and toasters. Our kitchens have fully integrated appliances and are carefully designed around sinks, benches and fitted units.