The Divine VEB (I’m just giving that to her as a title from now on) has proposed an interesting idea today that has made me rather philosophical. About kitchens. Yes, I’m thinking philosophically about kitchens. It’s possible.
She is frustrated that all kitchens look alike and that they persist in having “boxes.” By boxes she meant cabinets. At first I was confused. What is a kitchen without cabinets? Where do you put your stuff? As I read through the comments, someone mentioned having a large walk-in pantry for dishes and appliances with walls free for pictures or artwork. I was stunned. That sounds fabulous! It also sounds much more usable than all the cabinets hanging on the wall. How big my kitchen would feel without the wall cabinets! Unfortunately, my kitchen space is wee and there is nothing that could ever double for a walk-in pantry so I’m stuck with cabinets here. But it really got me to thinking.
In 1915, most kitchens were confined spaces. Why would you want easy access to the kitchen? The servants were working in there. Plus, kitchens made a lot more than food so I imagine there were more smells than just cooking smells you wanted to keep confined. Can you imagine what their reaction would be to a kitchen that was open to the general living area? “The whole house will smell! There will be cooking grease on the surface of your furniture! Who would want to entertain company in their KITCHEN?”
Today it is just as unthinkable to have a kitchen closed off from the rest of the house. We don’t want to be confined to the kitchen while everyone else is having fun. Also, there are no servants, there is just me and I want to watch Doctor Who while I chip spaghetti sauce off the counter. Is that too much to ask? We do have a lot of cabinets but we have a lot more stuff too. We also found out that the furniture isn’t ruined by proximity to the kitchen and mostly the smells are good and we like having them throughout the house. Unless I’m making cauliflower. That stuff never smells right.
The Divine VEB has made me think that our kitchens are in for another big change. If our kitchens are a part of the rest of the living space, wouldn’t it be nice to have them less obtrusive? They become an elegant corner where you can find food and drink but they don’t loom over the rest of the space like they do now. Now I’m looking at my cabinets and I sneer at them. All my things hanging on my walls. Just hanging there in big boxes. They do hold the wine glasses and Nutella which isn’t too bad. Maybe I won’t yank them down just yet.
What is the next generation of kitchen though? Will they disappear all together into a single, small opening in the wall? Will we finally get our replicators and won’t have to worry about food preparation?
I’m OK with that. Clearly, they take care of presentation. But do you program the style of dishes you want? Do you set a table with flair and a theme? What if that Klingon wanted cut crystal glasses? Now that I look at it again, he does look rather disappointed.
The replicator idea also made me start thinking about the dishes. What do they do with the dirty dishes? Do you put them back on the replicator platform? Are they recycled or consumed? Are leftovers a forgotten concept? Now I won’t be able to see Jean-Luc Picard drinking his Earl Grey tea without thinking, “where do the dirty dishes go?”
Last week I had to get a new power surge strip for my office and found that even those are changing and making more “sense” for what we do today. How many times have I had to crawl around the floor in a skirt or work clothes while I plug things in? The fact that those gray, fabric cube walls all have their outlets around the bottom just shows how easy it is to keep doing things the way they were done before without even questioning whether it might make sense to do it differently today. My new surge protector can sit on top of my desk where it is MUCH easier to use and I can charge my phone and tablet which is handy since these slim laptops have very few USB ports.
They just need to think about how to make it divine looking now and it will be perfect. Can we hide the outlets in a damask design?
This is the kind of dangerous thinking that doesn’t stop. I’ll be wandering around the house thinking of ways we need to be doing things differently. If I can’t have a replicator, I at least want a microwave that cleans itself. Someone make that happen, OK?
1915 Image courtesy of Shorpy Historical Photo Archive.
Collection of kitchen images from this awesome Pinterest board. Look at how many actresses had to pose in their kitchens like they were cooking. “It’s fine that you are a talented actress honey, but can you be a real woman and cook me something?”