The standard family kitchen has evolved constantly over the last century, to become what it now is in many homes an area for family and friends to meet and socialise. Now it is not uncommon to find every member of the family in the kitchen and involved in food preparation one way or another. Kitchens are no longer simply for cooking – they often links to other areas of the home such as the dining room or living room, and are no longer just workrooms tucked away at the back of the house.
In fact, kitchens are now seen as such an important part of the home that, in recent months, it has become quite common to see politicians and other public figures being interviewed in their kitchens as The Mail describes.
From rooms with only a fixed sink and cooker together with freestanding cabinets and a table for both food preparation and dining, kitchens have evolved to have units built in to fit the available space.
Colours and finishes have changed over recent decades, and today materials such as slate, copper, glass, concrete and stainless steel are among the most popular. In newly built houses today, much more space is allotted to the kitchen than ever before, reflecting changing lifestyles and an increased interest in cooking as evidenced by the plethora of cooking shows on television.
With more windows comes more natural light. The more light and spacious a room the more enjoyable a place it is to be. If you have a large window leading out onto a garden or terrace of some form the use flowers and plants can equally add a touch of class. Of course with every window comes a risk. If you have the “next David Beckham” and your window becomes his latest make shift goal be careful. Should a ball come flying at the window and crash through, help is always at hand. With such businesses as Leicester emergency glaziers NandU being able to put things right in no time at all.
Lighting has changed from a stark fluorescent tube giving out bright, somewhat harsh light over the whole area, to recessed ceiling lights complemented by spotlights for creating a practical but intimate atmosphere. As so much time is now spent in the kitchen, many have built-in entertainment systems including TVs.
From simply relying on a gas or electric stove for cooking and a pantry and perhaps a meat safe for food storage, today we have an appliance for every job. Perhaps the appliance that made most difference in the kitchen was the refrigerator. Commercial refrigeration has been with us since the early 1900s and, first patented in 1914, the modern refrigerator revolutionised food storage, making the ice industry almost redundant and allowing many people to sample foods that they had never tried before. According to the BBC, while 99% of families in Europe and North America own a fridge, this figure is only 63% in Africa and the Middle East, despite the fact that the climate makes refrigeration even more vital than it is in the West.
In addition to conventional ovens and hobs for cooking there are many other appliances available to save time, labour or both. Most modern kitchens have a microwave oven which, even if not used for cooking, is invaluable for heating the ready meals on which so many busy people.
Since there are home appliances that can make everything from ice cream to waffles, as well as “healthy” fryers and professional coffee machines, we are now able to produce any kind of food in our domestic kitchens, and with dishwashers to help with the clearing up, life for the cook has never been easier.