The kitchen has come a very long way. Back in the days of the cavemen, the ‘kitchen’ was essentially a fire, over which meat could be cooked. Today, it’s the heart of the house; a room filled with mod cons and equipment to make life easier. It is no longer just a room for cooking, and kitchens aren’t wholly practical spaces anymore. So, how has the kitchen evolved over time?
Kitchens have always been important. Humans have always needed to eat, and it makes sense to dedicate a space to the preparation, cooking and consumption of food. This is where the kitchen comes in. While some houses may have dining rooms in which the family will eat, every house needs a kitchen, which is why its evolution is so interesting.
Kitchen appliances have changed dramatically. Where we used to boil water over a fire, we now have kettles to do the job for us. Kettles use a temperature switch which is able to tell how hot the water is, and the switch will turn off once the water is boiled so that it doesn’t continue to heat up indefinitely. The mangle used to be used to squeeze water out of clothes, but the tumble dryer is now the staple of many kitchens, and is often combined with the washing machine.
The way we cook our food has also changed greatly. We have gone from heating food over an open fire to cooking it in a fire-powered oven to electric ovens and even microwaves. Microwaves work by sending intense waves of energy into the water particles in food to heat it rapidly, which has completely changed the way we approach food. Now, we can make food on the go when it is convenient for us, and microwave meals have revolutionised mealtimes for many people. Even potatoes can now be cooked in a microwave!
Food storage is one of the most changed areas of kitchens. We used to preserve food using salt or oil or by leaving it to dry out in pantries or larders, but with fridges and freezers now found in every house across the country, that is no longer the case. Fridges in particular have changed their function from purely being chilled food storage devices to offering a host of other functions, including producing their own ice in the case of American fridges.
But the one thing that hasn’t changed is the way we feel about our kitchens. Kitchens have always been much loved by the entire family, and it is still the case now that the kitchen is arguably the most important room in the home.
Tanya Gold is a cookery fanatic who'd be lost without a fully stocked and well equipped modern kitchen.