We now spend more waking hours in our kitchens than any other room – including the lounge.
And the average kitchen has almost doubled in size since the 1920s, making it the biggest room in the house.
A century ago homes were built with a tiny scullery, averaging 65sq ft but they have now ballooned to 121sq ft, according to research experts Magnet, who have tracked the growth of kitchens over the decades.
Today’s kitchens are the hub of family life and serve as a meeting room, dining room, study and social room as well as the centre of food preparation.
Most families spend more relaxation time in the kitchen (2 hours) than we do in the lounge (1.5 hours).
Most modern kitchens have a flat-screen TV, large dining table and chairs, CD/MP3 player and DAB radio as well as all the usual kitchen fixtures like oven and hob, microwave, toaster, storage cupboards, sink and kettle.
We also spend more money on decorating our kitchen than any other room in the home, according to the Magnet study – an average of £25,000 including appliances and furniture, compared to £12,000 on our lounge.
The advent of the typical British three-bed-semi in the 1930s saw the kitchen increase in size to an average of 78 sq ft, allowing for more room in the, then, bigger sized family home.
That size remained pretty constant through the 1940s and 1950s but increased again in the Swinging 1960s when the average British kitchen increased to 95 sq ft.
But it was the 1980s that the early signs of the kitchen becoming more than a cooking room first started to show.
Kitchens became feature rooms – measuring from 109 sq ft to a, then, whopping 121 sq ft – and we replaced our tiny upright combi-ovens with super-sized range cookers, expensive tiled floors, American-style fridge-freezers and, for the first time, microwave ovens.
And that growth has continued ever since with today’s kitchens bigger and more grand than ever.
Magnet spokesman Marco Rossi said: ‘As kitchens have developed over the years from a small cooking room into a major family social area they have hugely increased in size too.
‘Today’s kitchen is often the biggest room in the house and, in terms of the value of the equipment and decor we have in them, certainly the most expensive. It is very much now the hub of modern family life, with its own TV and stereo system.
‘We spent more hours in our kitchens than we did in our lounges in 2010, so it is little wonder that they have become so big. They are truly multi-functional rooms in the 21st century.’
But —— does anyone actually cook anything these days?
The following blog was written by Rachel Jensen, a writer for Desser, the rattan furniture specialists.
You may not realise it but your kitchen is the product of decades of innovation. Over the last 60 years, kitchens have changed in ways we would have never imagined. The modern kitchen is now more of a social area for families and friends to gather.
From simple kitchens with a table for the family dine and a small stove to state of the art kitchens with internet, televisions and quirky designs. Kitchens have certainly come along way over the last few decades.
Once upon a time, kitchens were hidden away in the back of the house. They are now the focal point to most homes and a central area for the residents to eat, chat, socialise, cook, relax and whip up anything from japanese delicacies to French desserts.
How have the kitchens evolved?
Traditionally, kitchens were a very small and simple ‘workroom’. Even if you were wealthy, your kitchen was a workplace for the servants.
It was the impact of industrialisation and the middle class quickly emerging that forced the development for kitchens to evolve. The kitchens grew closer to living quarters and family orientated areas.
The rise of the working class led to many houses being built, all with standard kitchens adapted to the small space.
Appliances such as refrigerators were becoming popular but it wasn’t until after World War II that kitchens dramatically changed, both in form and function. Kitchens began to brighten up, and ever since, we haven’t looked back.
Kitchens were practical, yet dark and drab and their to serve a purpose.
The 1960’s kitchen
Kitchens have certainly progressed since the 1960’s. During the 1960’s we begin to see the evolution of the kitchen. Women were beginning to be heard and getting day jobs, hence the introduction of time saving appliances such as dishwashers and disposals.
Wooden cabinets and appliances in every colour you can imagine. The 1960’s was a time of brightening up the previously dull kitchens.
The 1970’s kitchen
Gone are the days of women stuck in the kitchen baking bread, the 1970’s kitchen saw women fully liberated and the men chipping in to make meals.
However, the 1970’s kitchen designs were not particularly pretty. Many kitchens styled with dark wooden cabinets with ornate handlings and non matching counter tops; red and orange seemed to be the theme.
This wasn’t helped by a mismatch of brown and yellow coloured appliances. The 1970’s certainly wasn’t a good year for the kitchen.
The 1980’s kitchen
The 1980’s saw the kitchen slowly progress into the modern day kitchen we have today. It wasn’t ‘mum’s’ area any more, it was used as an area for family and friends to gather and socialise.
New builds in this era saw the size of the kitchen increase. Kitchens quickly became the focal point in most family homes. However, they are met with an abundance of fluorescent lighting which are usually poor, dim and aesthetically unpleasing.
Appliances were generally black or white and the ambience was more conservative. The furniture was much more practical, however, the hobby of decorating certainly took hold in the 80’s as many kitchens were drowned in wallpaper and wallpaper borders.
The 1990’s kitchen
The 90’s kitchen was definitely a place for family and friends to gather and socialise and entertain. The kitchens were designed to ensure comfort for everyone. They were large and open plan. They often had high ceilings and flowed into the living room or dining room.
The colours tended to be soft and simple. Whites, blues and many other colours were used to create a comfy and contemporary area. Many had an island in the kitchen, a never seen before addition which had many benefits and became very popular, which we still see today. This allowed people to cook and entertain at the same time.
The 90’s kitchen certainly paved the way for future kitchens.
The 2000 Kitchen
Having a fashionable, practical and stylish kitchen became a fashion. People were creating their dream kitchen with stylish designs, ample lighting and no clutter.
Stainless steel began to make an appearance as well as marble and granite countertops as people wanted to show their status through their kitchen. It was all the rage to hide the appliances behind cabinets to give kitchens a more comfortable feel.
Wooden and tile floors replaced the linoleum floors as it gave a more modern feel, and simply looked better. Also, we saw the appearance of many kitchen gadgets such as bread makers and rice steamers, all of which we still use today.
The 2010 kitchen
This era compels the modern and stylish look. It used by the whole family to entertain and socialise.
It is sleek looking and uncluttered, allowing for a contemporary finish, liked by all.
Stainless steel, concrete and slate, as well as many other favourites is now commonplace in many kitchens with spotted ceiling lights allowing for the perfect ambience.
We also see the addition of TV’s making it the perfect area to relax and entertain, as well as prepare meals.
The kitchen has certainly evolved through innovation and demand throughout the 50 years. Who knows where we will be an another 60 years time.
The History of Kitchen appliances
Kitchen appliances have made our lives infinitely easier than our ancestors’. It’s hard to imagine getting by without using the refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave or stove. But it wasn’t always this way; throughout their history, kitchen appliances took years of development to perfect, and improvements are being made to all of them even today.
In the Middle Ages, Europeans built fires on brick hearths and cooked in cauldrons hung above them. Sixteenth century inventors began looking for ways to make cooking safer and more efficient. The heat chamber, a rudimentary stove, enclosed fire on three sides with brick and was covered by an iron plate to set a pot on. In the early 1800s, Benjamin Thompson invented a large iron stove, which had one fire and several holes where pots could be hung.
A smaller iron stove was invented in 1834. Soon, inventors improved iron stoves by adding oven compartments, and covering open holes with rings to place pots on. Early gas stoves, developed in the mid-1800s, were large, but soon the oven was integrated into the base, and the size reduced to fit into most kitchens. By the 1930s, electric stoves grew more popular than gas. Glass-ceramic cooktops emerged in the 1970s.
While researching radar in 1946, Percy Spencer discovered microwave cooking when a chocolate bar in his pocket melted while he was testing a vacuum tube called the magnetron. Spencer built a metal box into which he fed microwave power. When food was placed in the box and microwave energy fed in, the temperature of the food rose very rapidly. The first units, available in 1947, were very large and expensive, and had to be water-cooled, which necessitated plumbing installations.
Soon, improvements produced a smaller microwave with an air-cooled magnetron, and sales increased. Microwaves were first used in restaurants and food-processing plants, but Tappan introduced a home model in the mid-1950s. In 1967, Amana released the first countertop microwave, which was smaller, safer and less expensive. By the mid-1970s, about 60 per cent of U.S. households owned a microwave.
In the 1800s, several inventors attempted to create a dishwashing machine, but none of them worked efficiently. In the 1880s, society hostess Josephine Cochrane grew tired of finding her china chipped by the servants who washed it, so she vowed to create her own dishwashing machine. Cochrane understood that jets of water would work best to clean dishes. She made wire racks to hold dishes and arranged them in a copper boiler.
A motor turned the racks around while hot soapy water was squirted up and over the dishes. Initial sales were disappointing, because the machine required huge amounts of hot water, which took hours to heat. Only hotels and restaurants bought them, but her concept led to more successful designs later. Other companies produced dishwashers powered by steam and designed for restaurants that worked by passing racks of dirty dishes on a conveyor belt under jets of hot water. The first electric dishwasher was introduced in the 1920s but it didn’t catch on with the public until the mid-1940s.
Before refrigerators, people used other preservation techniques, such as salting and canning, but they altered the taste and nutrients of food. Keeping food cold was the only way to prevent alteration, but iceboxes were inefficient and burdensome. Experiments with artificial refrigeration began in 1748, and Oliver Evans designed the first refrigeration machine in 1805. Soon, Michael Faraday discovered that liquefying ammonia causes cooling. Jacob Perkins invented the first refrigerator in 1834 using the vapour compression cycle, in which volatile liquids are evaporated to absorb heat.
Early refrigerators used toxic gasses, such as ammonia, to cool, but many consumers died from inhaling the gasses. An alternative, Freon, was invented in the 1930s, but it was banned in the 1990s because of its effects on the environment. Early refrigerators were made of a wood cabinet and a water-cooled compressor. In the 1920s, steel and porcelain cabinets replaced wood. Through the 1960s, refrigerators were improved with additions like automatic defrost and ice makers.
First Automated Kettle
For creating the first automated electric kettle goes to Russell Hobbs, a company established inside the United Kingdom inside the early 1950s by William Russell (1920 to 2006) and Peter Hobbs (1916 to 2008). Before this, electric tea kettles may boil dry if unattended, or trigger electric shocks. In the automatic electric water kettle first made by Russell Hobbs in 1955, a bimetallic strip tripped the kettle’s “off” swap when steam was pressured through the lid aperture to the strip.
First Electric Toaster
The first electric toaster was invented in 1893 in Great Britain by Crompton and Co (UK) and re-invented in 1909 in the United States. It only toasted one side of the bread at a time and it required a person to stand by and turn it off manually when the toast looked done. Charles Strite invented the modern timer, pop-up toaster in 1919.
The Pressure Cooker
In 1679, the French physicist Denis Papin, better known for his studies on steam, invented the steam digester in an attempt to reduce the cooking time of food. His airtight cooker used steam pressure to raise the water’s boiling point, thus resulting in a much quicker cooking. In 1681, Papin presented his invention to the Royal Society of London, but the Society’s members treated his invention as a scientific study. They granted him permission to become a member of the Society afterwards.
In 1864, Georg Gutbrod of Stuttgart began manufacturing pressure cookers made of tinned cast iron.
In 1919, Spain granted a patent for the pressure cooker to Jose Alix Martínez from Zaragoza. Martínez named it the olla exprés, literally "express cooking pot", under patent number 71143 in the Boletín Oficial de la Propiedad Industrial.
In 1938, Alfred Vischer presented his invention, the Flex-Seal Speed Cooker, in New York City. Vischer’s pressure cooker was the first one designed for home use, and its success led to competition among American and European manufacturers.
At the 1939 New York World’s Fair, National Presto Industries, which was then known as the "National Pressure Cooker Company", introduced its own pressure cooker.
Modern Advances in Appliances
In recent years, scientific advances have brought new technology to the appliances we use everyday. Induction stoves, which use electromagnetic induction, have caught on well. Convection ovens cook food much faster than conventional ovens.
Microwaves can store cooking times for dozens of items so you can cook with the touch of a single button. Newer dishwashers feature built-in disposals, so pre-rinsing isn’t even needed. New high-tech refrigerators can defrost an item when notified by e-mail, and some feature television screens mounted on the outside.
How Lakeland became fashionable
A pressure cooker for the microwave. A spatula cum thermometer that ensures melted chocolate remains at the correct temperature. A saucepan with ‘fins’ developed by an Oxford University rocket scientist.
They may sound fantastical but these items may very well be next year’s must-have kitchen aids. Why? Because Lakeland – the company behind the spiralizer – says so.
The company was founded in the 1960s by Alan Rayner and was known as Lakeland Plastics, supplying plastic bags to chicken farmers in the area.
From those humble beginnings, Lakeland went on to capture the home-freezing market in the 70s and even published ‘Everything about Home Freezing’, a book packed with useful information on growing, freezing and storing.
The Eighties were all about microwaving and Lakeland’s six-page leaflet gave way to a more substantial catalogue, and set up microwave advisory service.
Dropping the ‘plastics’ from its name, in the Nineties Lakeland was rebranded as Lakeland limited and moved from being merely a mail order company to setting up physical stores in the high street and in supermarkets.
The beginning of the Noughties saw the brand make its foray online with the launch of lakeland.co.uk and in 2006 it became known as Lakeland.
Today it has an annual turnover of £166m and 84 (69 in the UK and 15 internationally) shops around the world. The company is staffed by fewer than 1,800 people, some of whom have been in the business for up to 40 years.
THE KITCHEN AIDS WE WILL ALL BE USING IN 2016
A rotor-blade powered masher which pushes boiled potatoes through the perforated foot without crushing the starch.
2. FLARE PANS
Developed in conjunction with a rocket scientist at Oxford University, the ‘fins’ on the pans channel heat from the flame across the bottom, driving it up the sides of the pan, resulting in even heat distribution.
3. DOUGHNUT MAKING KIT
Silicone moulds which can be filled with traditional doughnut batter or roll out your mix and use the stainless steel cutter to shape the doughnuts before baking them in the oven.
4. MAGIC NON-STICK LINERS
PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) coated, non-stick fabric which is heat-resistant up to 260°C, will withstand five years or more of constant use and can be cut to size.
Is this the new spiraliser? The Vegi Drill cores all manner of fruit and vegetables, hard or soft, big or small, in seconds such with courgettes, carrots, onions and aubergines, as well as potatoes, tomatoes and apples.
Designed for recipes that require heating to a specific temperature, the silicone spatula has an integrated digital thermometer that displays a precise temperatures.
7. MICROWAVE PRESSURE COOKER Cooks meals such as curries, beef stews, and soups in the microwave.
8. ANTI-GRAVITY CAKE POURING KIT
Includes a base plate, two supporting rods and corner piece which clip together and can be combined to support cake extensions at a variety of heights and angles.
9. APPLE MASTER
Peels, cores and slices apples in seconds and is also great for potatoes.
Promises to make poaching as easy as boiling eggs; Coat the silicone lightly with oil, crack your egg into the pod, float in boiling water and cover the pan with a lid. Once cooked, flip the pod inside out to release the domed egg.
Things You’ll Find in a British Kitchen
What are the things that are commonly recognizable to most British households that will come as a surprise to most American visitors?
Do you keep your eggs in the fridge? Do you worry about getting them back from the supermarket before they warm up and go off? Well, apparently there’s no real need. Although it’s true that salmonella multiplies at room temperature far more effectively than it can when chilled, British eggs are marked with a Lion stamp of quality if the farmer’s chickens are inoculated against salmonella.
This is one of the reasons why British supermarkets sell eggs off a normal, unchilled shelf, and why a lot of British households keep their eggs at room temperature. The suggestion is colder eggs have less flavor and don’t bake well. So if you see a ceramic chicken on a British kitchen worktop with eggs inside, they’re not trying to kill you. It’s just a matter of personal taste.
Believe it or not, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) graded eggs would be illegal if sold in the UK, or indeed anywhere in the European Union (EU). It’s all to do with the fact that commercial American eggs are federally required to be washed and sanitized before they reach the consumer. EU egg marketing laws, on the other hand, state that Class A eggs – those found on supermarkets shelves, must not be washed, or cleaned in any way.
And speaking of eggs…
Call them what you want—dippy eggs, egg and soldiers—you can’t make a soft-boiled egg, slice the top off and then prod the yolk out with carefully cut fingers of toast if you don’t have egg cups. There was some talk of a device that could cut toast into shapes that looked like actual soldiers, but that’s just being overly literal. But you do need that egg cup otherwise you’ll scorch your fingers.
Note: This isn’t maple syrup or molasses or treacle or any of that stuff. Tate & Lyle’s golden syrup has the consistency and hue of runny honey but without that bee-ish aftertaste, and, like Marmite, is a by product of an industrial process—in this case the processing of sugar cane into grain sugar. It’s one of the base ingredients of the British flapjack—the granola bar snack that is very much not a pancake—and is instantly recognizable from the green and gold tin.
The thing to look for is the graphic depiction of a dead lion surrounded by a swarm of bees and the quote “out of the strong came forth sweetness”—a reference to the Biblical passage from the book of Judges, in which Samson comes across an unfortunate prone leonine figure with its own internal honeycomb.
Granted, this type of oil or gas-powered stove only appears in a certain type of kitchen, usually a farmhouse affair belonging to people of a certain tax bracket. But they’re popular enough signifiers of rural village life to have spawned their own literary genre: the Aga Saga (full of tales of village gossip and baking competitions). And they’re something of a status symbol among the kind of Brits that venerate things that are artisanal. They also make fantastic baked potatoes, but that’s by the by.
HP is known all over the country as brown sauce, because it is made of ingredients that are not immediately apparent by taste alone—tomatoes, molasses, dates, tamarind, spices, vinegar, and sometimes raisins or anchovies—and it is brown. There may be rival condiments with similar recipes—Daddy’s sauce, OK sauce, Branston brown sauce, all perfectly lovely in their way—but none of them have the iconic square bottle or the Houses of Parliament on the label.
Without meaning to bend to the stereotype of British people only drinking leaf tea out of a fine china pot, it’s relatively common to find a tea strainer somewhere in one of those utilities drawers. It won’t necessarily be well-used, however. Tea bags are by far the most common way of making the nation’s favorite drink, and in fact it’s becoming more and more normal for people to just bung one in a mug and have done with the whole business of the pot in the first place.
That said, there will have been that one time when a favored relative with old fashioned ways came to visit, or the day someone found a particularly pretty tea strainer at a boot fair and decided to give Earl Grey a try, in the old fashioned manner. That’s what the tea strainer represents.
Because you never know when you’re going to need to whip up a jug of what the French call crème anglaise, and while it’s better to make it from scratch, it’s time-consuming and some of your guests may be allergic to eggs, or vegan. The tub of Bird’s custard powder has receded slightly as a British kitchen staple in recent years, but only since Bird’s started selling cartons of reheatable custard instead, which are even more convenient.
Basically, if there’s a pie, if there’s a crumble, if there’s a trifle, if someone has a banana and wants to jazz it up a little, there will be custard, and the thoughtful household will be prepared.
We all knew this would appear somewhere on the list. Marmite (and the associated Bovril, and sometimes even Vegemite) are household staples whether used primarily as a spread for toast or as the basis of a stock (it works very well with slow-cooked joints of brisket) or even spooned into hot water for a warming, slightly brackish drink. Do not fear the Marmite; it will not harm you.
A Washing Machine
Possibly one for you city dwellers to ponder over in wonder, but apparently it is far more common to see a washing machine (by which I mean clothes, not dishes) in British kitchens than it is in American ones.
This does not mean there are no such things as laundromats (although they’re called laundrettes instead) or that the Brits are particularly fastidious over their clothes, it’s just one of those cultural expectations. A decent house is one in which clothes can be effectively laundered, and then draped all over the radiators to dry.
These are not hats, they are tea cosies, to be placed upon teapots, for the keeping warm of tea so you can have a second cup directly after the first. Yes, it’s tempting to wear one on your head, but it’s not a good look if you’re actually going out.
Tagged: , Life in the Kitchen , We now spend more waking hours in our kitchens than any other room – including the lounge , the average kitchen has almost doubled in size since the 1920s, making it the biggest room in the house , Today’s kitchens are the hub of family life and serve as a meeting room, dining room, study and social room as well as the centre of food preparation , the growth of kitchens over the decades