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Tuesday, 10 November 2015


A kitchen started is appearing as a separate room in the house in some Middle East and European villages during the Sixth Millennium BC. It was originally associated with not only cooking but also religious practices. The hearth where meat and vegetables was cooked was also the altar for worshiping the household gods.

Wealthy Romans who lived in the country in great residences had well equipped kitchens with a sink and water tank. In the cities most Romans did not have their own kitchens. They bought food from small shops in the street.

A variety of kitchen equipment was available to the serious cook in Roman Britain. The frying pan or fretale, made of bronze, round or oval in shape, with a lip for pouring, was well known, as were rectangular iron trays with handles for roasting or frying. 'Oven to table ware' in the form of shallow pans and earthenware dishes were common. These were referred to as patellae and patinae.

The difficulty in cleaning these utensils is understandable. Metal ware could be cleaned with sand, but earthenware dishes and pots would soon become unfit for use and would need constant replacement which could account for the considerable quantity of broken items revealed by excavations. Fortunately local potteries would have been able to turn out cheap dishes for ordinary use.

Ladles, dippers, strainers and choppers all found a place in the Roman kitchen. Mortaria were stout pottery bowls used for grinding and pounding, made with a sprinkling of grit baked into the clay to form a rough surface. Stone or wooden pestles were used with them.

English iron-founder George Bodley patented a cast-iron enclosed kitchen range in 1802. It contained a central fire-grate burning coal, coke, peat, or wood, which heated hot plates, a side oven, and a hot-water tank. He hoped it would replace the open fire for cooking purposes.

The first recognizably "modern" kitchen was probably what has become known as the "Frankfurt kitchen", designed by Grete Schutte-Likotzky, a Viennese architect. Between 1926 and 1930, it was installed in some 10,000 German housing-project flats. The kitchen's galley shape, fitted cupboards, ventilator hood above the cooker and color-co-ordination make it look surprisingly contemporary.

The colors yellow and orange are not recommended for use in kitchens as they are known to be appetite stimulators.

Source BBC History Magazine

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