Heart of the Home

Here in the US, we speak of the kitchen as the heart of the home. It is where the family gathers. It is no wonder why the term “open concept” has been ingrained in the lexicon of every red-blooded American. No one wants to be left out of the family activities and those activities seem to happen in that room surrounded by yards and yards of beautiful kitchen cabinets, stainless steel appliances, natural stone surfaces, intricate tile patterns and natural light. Oh, just gotta have natural light. Most people want an open concept kitchen and living area because they think it will mean that the cook can join in the conversations happening in the other rooms or that mom can keep an eye on the kids.

I would like to propose a different motivation for the open concept kitchen. Rather than permitting the cook to participate in the activities in the other contiguous rooms I would like to postulate that the goal is rather to keep everyone else OUT of the kitchen. There is no reason for the kids sitting in the family room to come and bother mom in the kitchen if they can see what she is doing. There is no reason for party-goers to interrupt the cook as he or she is preparing the meal. That keeps everyone out of the kitchen, and isn’t that what true cooks really want from the kitchen design? Everyone knows that during a party, everyone congregates in the kitchen. not to help, of course, perhaps to supervise? Or to ask questions the cook doesn’t have the time or inclination to answer? I know this sounds like heresy, but unless your kitchen has 6 foot wide aisles and is the size of a racketball court, do you really want people in it making your job harder than it is or at least blocking the passageway of that can’t-live-without work triangle?

Yes, we Americans are sometimes convoluted in our thinking and the “second reason why” sometimes becomes the “primary reason” just because it is convenient or socially correct. Think about it. In case you are wondering what open concept is, check this out.