How kitchens progressed from rooms to prepare food – to the social spaces they are today

Not that long ago, kitchens were an afterthought in the grand scheme of the house. It’s hard to believe when looking at most modern kitchens today, but there was a time when kitchens existed for only one reason – to prepare food. There were no fancy kitchen islands with matching bar stools. No open-plan multipurpose layouts. There was no real soul. No life to kitchens of the past.

Venture back 100 years and you’ll find that the kitchen was a utilitarian space. It existed only to be a space to cook food in, and little else. Thankfully, in the years and decades since, kitchens have evolved. Innovative kitchen appliances and our ever-changing lifestyles mean modern kitchens offer much more than their original purpose. Today, our kitchens represent a true reflection of the lives we choose to live. Be it sleek, welcoming, cosy or chaotic – our spaces have become so much more diverse. To better understand where we are in the kitchen design lifecycle, we first need to look at where we’ve come from.

© SieMatic

Kitchens Back in the Day

Way back when, most affluent upper-class household had servants. So most kitchens were designed and built as completely separate rooms of the house. The kitchen of old was a service area, designed to be separate from the eating and social areas. Over the years that followed, the rise of the middle-class changed things. Kitchens creeped closer to the living areas, because homes were being designed to function without servants. In other words, families started using kitchen spaces themselves.

The Start of Open-Plan

Over time, kitchen layouts increasingly began to flow into the main living areas. This evolution laid the foundation for completely open-plan kitchens as we know them. The social implications of these changes had an immediate effect, as men began to take on more roles that were once only reserved for women. Cooking became a more involved experience, and not just a physiological need. Food preparation became a creative outlet, and in some ways, a tool to show off your sophistication as a host.

© Grundig

The Influence of Technology

Television played a huge role in making food preparation the social experience it is today. TV shows from the 60’s convinced the average Joe that anyone can cook. People started to believe that it was possible to prepare a delicious feast without years of cooking experience. Cooking began to evolve into an art form; something admired by friends and family. Today, it would be tough to find someone who hasn’t at least tried to cook a recipe seen on TV or the internet. With these changes, the layout and design of kitchens started to shift even more. People were (and still are) spending more time in the kitchen, so designers and architects are constantly adapting.

Modern Kitchen Appliances

Every action has a reaction. Transformation in kitchen design has opened the doors to new appliances designed for our changing needs. Manually-operated tools have been replaced with electrical alternatives. Out with traditional whisks, in with automatic electric blenders! Our needs have become more complex, and so too have the tools we need to get the job done. They need to be simple, yet perform many tasks at the same time. The modern kitchen has become the technological hub of the house, filled with equipment made to make our lives better. Grundig’s Divide & Cook Oven, for example, makes it possible to cook two different meals at two different temperatures – at the same time.

© Grundig

Spending More Time at Home

Our needs and lifestyles are change almost daily. Not long ago, spending a Friday night at home seemed like the ultimate drag. But thanks to our social needs and a shift towards healthier living, many people now prefer to spend more time at home. It is, after all, the place where life really happens. Going out to the newest restaurant has been replaced with throwing an intimate dinner party at home. So our kitchens are no longer designed for one or two people to cook a meal in – it’s designed for 5, 8 or 10 people to socialise in!

The kitchen has become the heart of the home in every sense. And Grundig designs the appliances we need to keep that heart beating. It’s the pursuit of perfection that pushes Grundig to produce the most innovative electronic consumer goods on the market today. And it’s also the reason why home has become the best place to be.

Grundig: Where Home Is

For a better scope of how Grundig’s products push technologic boundaries in the kitchen, visit our Product Guides and remember to sign up to the K!TCHN Newsletter to stay updated on all things Grundig. You can also follow Grundig on Instagram and Facebook for daily updates.