Oh, how things have changed… As the world changes around us we can not help but let it seep into our home lives. Technology changes rapidly but there's a larger change that happens with much less fanfare - The social norms that sometimes pass us by until we're left behind, choking on the dust of feeling older. This is why those of us that are parents find ourselves comparing our children's lives to our own with the tired line, "When I was a kid…" We didn't care when our parents said it to us and our kids don't care when we say it to them - that's a generational constant.
Kitchens have not been immune to change - Due to more hectic lifestyles and demand for efficiency, kitchens provide excellent insight to just how things have changed through the decades. All you have to do is Google, "Kitchens from the 50s" and check out the images that come up. Apparently only women used the kitchen and, as far as I can tell, they loved it! I also found out from the photos on the World Wide Web that Moms baked a lot of pies back then. Like, all the time!
I think we can all agree that the greatest change to hit our kitchens was the introduction of the Turducken around 1984. What did we do without it and why would you make a simple, two-legged turkey when you can make a six-legged, turkey - duck - chicken mutant-combo, protein power-bomb thing? We're truly advancing as a species.
Let's get real-ish…
The raised bar vs. a flat counter-top - What makes this a generational issue? Raised bars are commonly around the sink area so the question that gets brought up is, "Won't people be able to see into my sink?", the answer I give is, "Yes, but who cares? We all have the same thing in our sinks at home." The point here is that we are not a formal society. We're busier and more stressed so we just want to casually hang out with friends. Hopefully we have enough understanding for each other that a few dishes in the sink doesn't lead to a social faux pas. If you do find some dishes in the sink at the next social event and you start feeling judgy, have another glass of something, try to have some fun.
Formal dining room vs. dining area - Much like the raised bar, we sometimes look to eliminate a separate, formal dining room since taking over that space can expand the kitchen tremendously in some layouts. An area to sit for dinner or family gatherings is a must. It's the "formal dining" that typically implies a room that we don't use. "Formal" requires too much energy and time that we just don't have anymore. Gotta run… The cleaners called - My ascot is ready for pick-up.
Work triangle - This is such a keyword that it deserved it's own blog a while back. Check it out Here. The work triangle was developed back in the 40s. The concept of having a convenient flow is what still makes sense but the 3 points of a triangle could now be increased to 4 or 5 points depending on what appliances a family night use. Microwaves, multiple dishwashers, steam ovens and even coffee makers are all important appliances to some families today.
One of the underlying changes in kitchens over the years is not only how they're used but who's using them. It's not always Mom doing the cooking these days. In some households it's the Dad that enjoys making dinner. Kids are getting to know their way around the kitchen and becoming little chefs at earlier ages. As the definition of who uses the kitchen has changed the design of the kitchen has also evolved to accommodate the users along with new technology and social expectations.