In The Kitchen

Peter Fournier and Catherine Fournier

The kitchen really is the heart of the home. Traditionally, it is the center of warmth in the home, where the fire was always burning. Even in the smallest of homes, and the smallest of kitchens, guests and children congregate in the kitchen, to be near the activity and the warmth.

Food is an expression of love, of hospitality and of security. This, too, makes the kitchen the heart of the home, the place where the family returns after a day 'in the world,' for refuge, comfort and nourishment.

Obviously, the kitchen is an important place, a place where the practice of stewardship is needed. An clean and orderly kitchen is a peaceful welcoming place. A well-planned kitchen is an easier place to work. An organised kitchen takes less time to maintain, once it is organised, than a dis-ordered and untidy one.

There are several principles of organizing a kitchen. Almost all of them can be applied to any kitchen to make it a better place to work and live.

Interest in kitchen effieciency and organisation began several decades ago with the pioneering work of Christine Fredrick and Lillian Gilbreth (mother of the 'Cheaper by the Dozen' family) In magazine articles and books with titles like: Household Engineering (Taylor) and The Home Maker and Her Job (Gilbreth), these women presented their research and made suggestions about how to make housework easier, less strenous and tiring, and more efficient, freeing time for more enjoyable and profitable pursuits.

They didn't anticipate the numbers of women who would someday work outside the home, but the principles they developed still influence kitchen design and make housework less time-consuming today, making work outside the home, homeschooling, or running a business in your home, more possible.

Some Principles of Kitchen Design:

  1. Be guided by convenience, not convention - if you find it makes more sense to keep the silverware in the second drawer so that little ones can set the table then do so.
  2. Consider the personalities and habits of your family, yourself included - do you like the look of bare counters? How many people use your kitchen? How much cooking from scratch do you do? Who usually cleans up?
  3. Stay inside the 'work triangle' - to minimise the number of steps, and therefore the time and energy required to cook, the total of the distances between the range, sink and refrigerator should not exceed 21 feet. The modern invention of a 'penisula' or island counter permits the arrangement of several 'work triangles', allowing more than one person to work in the kitchen.
  4. Provide good lighting - poor lighting results in eyestrain and accidents. One light fixture in the middle of the room isn't enough, bright lighting should be provided for each work surface.
  5. Keep safety in mind - an unsafe kitchen is a stressful place to work.

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