How much do you really need in a kitchen?

Having recently demolished our kitchen, I realised how much crap there really is in a kitchen. Endless cupboards made out of some substance – chipboard – that continues to exude fumes for its entire life, a stove, a fridge, a sink, plumbing, benches, tiles, table and chairs … the stream of stuff out was endless. And people thought we had nothing in our kitchen. Some have freezers and dishwashers and ice machines and coffee makers and what have you.

So how much do you really need in a kitchen? No more than three items: a source of water, a bowl to hold water and a fire. That’s it. In fact, most people throughout human history and even today have little more than those three items. All the rest is junk, the detritus of generating needs that we never knew we had.


5 thoughts on “How much do you really need in a kitchen?

  1. And a miskin. You forgot the miskin.

    And fuel for the fire.

    And a place to chop things on, so a table might be handy.

    The source of water doesn’t have to be in the kitchen. All you need is a bucket to fetch water in.

      1. Roland, I greatly admire your work and have found it useful as well as entertaining. However, this piece on kitchens is distinctly below par.

        If you visit Skara Brae you can see furnishings more elaborate than you think necessary in houses that date from 3180 BC to 2500 BC. They also included a sophisticated drainage system. Your fellow countryman Gordon Childe excavated the site 1928 to 1930 (though he didn’t realise how incredibly old they were).

        Also don’t you know that the modern fitted kitchen was the brain-child of the Austrian communist Margarete Schütte-Lihotsky?

      2. George, I take your point concerning Schütte-Lihotsky, although it is worth noting the simplicity and functionality of her designs over against the unnecessary clutter of ‘modern’ kitchens. On Skara Brae, however, I would make a point that can be made in relation to most ancient archaeological discoveries. The solid constructions of those who owned the means of production tend to last, while the makeshift ones of village communes disappear rather soon.

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