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Planning The Perfect Kitchen

Oct 28, 2007
When Grandpa wanted a chicken dinner, he "ran down" a likely looking young rooster, "wrung" its neck, and brought it in for Grandma to "draw," to dress, and to roast. Meat used to be killed right on the farm, and all canning was done at home.

This required a kitchen that at best was something less than a show place, especially when it was necessary to use a smoking old coal-burning cook stove, and all water had to be carried from the spring in a wooden bucket, and a kitchen sink was yet in the future.

Yet these old kitchens were very comfortable as the center of family life.

When the neighbors came over to visit, they usually "set" in the kitchen, the parlor being used on very special occasions only.

In many places in the world, even today, a kitchen is not permitted in a house.

As an Englishman said to me in Singapore,

"I want a kitchen to be just as far away from the house as I can get it."

A glimpse of some of the nearby kitchens explained why. If you cook with charcoal under the kettles, with no flue, and no attempt ever to wash the outside of the kettles, just the inside being kept clean, and if you throw the cabbage leaves and potato peelings to the waiting pigs and chickens, and if you have only an earth floor, and no screens, you can easily see why kitchens are not too desirable in the house.

When I built a modern American kitchen, complete with sink, electric stove and refrigerator, the building inspector said, after looking it over carefully, "Why can't we do it this way?"

Those of you who have visited George Washington's home at Mt. Vernon will recall that the kitchen is a long way from the house.

Modern food processing plants and the super-market have taken much of the messiness out of the kitchen, so that now the kitchen can be one of the most beautiful and attractive rooms in the house.

The kitchen is a place to work, but why not make it also a pleasant place to be? Give the best view to the kitchen.

A kitchen would preferably be on a corner, where it can get light from two sides, and where you can see in more than one direction.

Many mothers like to have a kitchen window overlooking the play yard, so they can supervise the children's activities while continuing with their work. It is also desirable to be able to see who is coming to the door.

The area for the pleasant activity of eating includes not only a place for the table and chairs, but also a place to store and prepare food, and a place to clean up things after meals, and room to store the dishes and utensils.

We often speak of kitchens, pantries, breakfast rooms, and dining rooms.

Why are so many rooms necessary?

The kitchen should be so arranged that the food can be taken to the place where it is to be served without too many steps.

Kitchens are of three general shapes: the "U" shaped kitchen, the "L" shaped kitchen, and the parallel kitchen. Each one has its advantages and dis¬advantages. How many people will be working in the kitchen at one time also has a bearing on its design.

The "U" shaped kitchen is convenient for one person to work in, but two or three young daughters trying to help might be in the way in this type of kitchen, unless the "U" is rather wide and not too deep.

Although the parallel kitchen is perhaps the most efficient, it is subject to the same limitations as the "U" shaped one. This consists of a rather long room, with cabinets and equipment on both sides, and usually a door in each end. This type of kitchen must be at least 8' wide to give enough working space in the center of the room.

The "L" shape is good when it can be arranged in conjunction with the breakfast nook or the so-called "living kitchen" in which the kitchen is large and doubles for the family room, the dining room, and a general purpose room, with the kitchen really occupying only one corner of it.

This is very good for informal entertaining, as the person preparing the sandwiches, instead of being off in another room, can do her work and still not miss out on any of the fun.

Wherever the kitchen is placed, or whatever shape it may have, certain working areas and pieces of equipment are a necessity.

These might include drain boards, baking area, sink, refrigerator, dish washer, stove top, oven, mixer, blender, toaster, waffle iron, silverware, kitchen hardware, kettles, lids, dishes, paper towels, waxed paper, garbage disposal, storage for package foods and for tin canned goods, and for home canned fruits and vegetables, and per¬haps room for a deep freeze unit.

Although when you drive up with the groceries you should have easy access to the back door of the kitchen, I do not favor the door that opens directly from the garage into the kitchen because of the exhaust fumes that you do not want in your kitchen.

If you buy your own home always use a mortgage calculator to get the best mortgage and save yourself money in the long run.
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