Cheerful and pleasant it undoubtedly was, but there was little idea of making work easy or saving steps. Today we may furnish our living rooms in the 18th century manner, put 17th century dressers in our dining rooms, and hang Betty lamps and other quaint devices around the fireplace; but when it comes to the kitchen, we step forward into the 20th century and are well content. We have heard of enthusiasts who occasionally cook an entire meal in a fireplace and insist that it is far superior to any done by modern methods; but even these devotees of old ways pale at the thought of three meals a day, three hundred and sixty-five days in the year, so prepared.
Today’s kitchen, stripped of accessories and talking points, is essentially a laboratory where semi-prepared food stuffs are processed for consumption. The automobile industry has demonstrated to the nation what remarkable things can be done by having labor conditions and proper tools on a logical train of production. With no waste of human effort, no running back and forth, work starts at one end of the assembly chain, and off the other, in about two hours, comes a new car. In the same way, a properly planned kitchen eliminates waste steps and, with plenty of light and air, becomes a pleasant place to work.
In this domestic laboratory, one expects, of course, to find a cook stove of some sort, a sink, a refrigerator, a kitchen cabinet or compounding bench, a table, and plenty of storage space. With the assembly idea in mind, have these so planned that the work of cooking three meals a day progresses logically from the service or delivery entrance to the doorway of the dining room. Be sure, too, that added working space is available in the event of dinner parties or larger forms of entertainment. The saving on tempers, fine china, and glass will be well worth it. In other words, have this most important working room compact but not too small.
As an example we cite another of our own errors in judgment. Having been brought up in a house with a large old-fashioned kitchen where the luckless cook walked miles in performing her culinary duties, we went to the other extreme. The room originally designed for the kitchen with its large old fireplace and sunny southern exposure was immediately chosen for the dining room. Directly back of it was the old pantry which, without benefit of architectural advice, we decided to fit up as a kitchen. It was a good idea except for the fact that the room was really too small, especially for the type of hospitality that rules in the country. To be sure, by moving a partition a little and by remodeling a small lean-to that adjoined it, sufficient storage and working space was added to make conditions tolerable; but it is at best a makeshift and the answer is, eventually, a properly designed service wing, architecturally in keeping with the 18th century but mechanically modern. Even under these makeshift conditions, however, the assembly idea has been followed and this somewhat mitigates the drawback of contracted space.