We all have our favourite can’t-do-without kitchen appliances or those we favour above others. For me, it is a kettle I cannot be without tea, and it justdoesn’ttaste the same if the water is boiled any other way. If I had to narrow it down to one other appliance, it would be an electric wok – I used mine for everything from stir fries and stews to perfect omelettes and pancakes as far as I am concerned, it is the most versatile appliance. Nowadays there are separate appliances for a variety of individual functions whether it be boiling an egg, percolating coffee or baking bread we can be sure we can find aspecializedmachine. Lets take a look at the evolution of kitchens and the appliances we have come to rely on, trying to imagine life before their invention.
If we think of ancient times, we can imagine that open fires on the ground were the original method of cooking, once fire was discovered. From there, simple constructions were created to contain the wood and to hold food. In medieval households, cauldrons were hung over the open fires as a means to heat food. The middle ages saw the construction of brick fireplaces with the earliest reference to an oven being built recorded in France in 1490. With the invention of ovens, and methods of supplying water to homes, kitchens as we know them, began to evolve.
In ancient Greece, a covered but open patio served as a kitchen area, while in the Roman Empire the original kitchens were separate from the house, for purposes of keeping the smoke from permeating through the home, as well as because slaves were used in households and were kept apart from the rest of the household. With the development of chimneys, kitchens were moved to the main house, sometimes located next to the bathroom so the heat generated from open fires would heat the bathroom as well.
Improvements to wood burning ovens saw the introduction of a stove of noteworthy fire-containing design in 1735, whereas iron stoves had gained popularity around 1728 and a successful product was patented in 1834 by Stewart Oberlin. The first coal ovens were invented in 1833 by Jordan Mott and the first gas oven was patented in 1826 by James Sharp. Gas ovens were popular in most households in the 1910s. Only from the late 1920s did electric ovens begin to vie for a place in kitchens even though they were around since the 1890s.
The nineteenth century seems to be the era of kitchen inventions. The first dishwasher was patented in 1850 and was made of wood and operated by means of a hand-turned wheel spraying water onto the dishes. Not very workable, Josephine Cochrane decided in an outrage against its inefficiency to better it and released her functional patent in 1893. Toasters were originally invented as a way to extend the shelf life of bread and also found their way into creation in the 1800s. Patents for more than 185 coffee grinders and over 500 apple and potato peelers also appeared in this century as did the waffle iron in 1869.
The twentieth century saw a few more essential kitchen inventions with the electric kettle being invented in 1922, the same year as the first blender by Stephen Poplawski, and the first automatic switch-off kettle introduced in 1930.
Discovering how the kitchen has made its way from an excluded necessity in ancient households to becoming the heart of our modern homes, it remains fascinating to watch the evolution of food trends and the new inventions that either follow, or present them to us. The inventions continue and we wait to be presented with greater selections ofspecializeddevices to feed the common love we all share for food.