The Perfect Kitchen

I recently came across a short film in the National Archives titled “A Step Saving Kitchen”. In 1949 the Department of Agriculture designed this innovative kitchen to make cooking and baking easier. The idea was to minimize the need to walk, stoop and stretch during kitchen tasks. The film mesmerized me and I watched it on pins and needles like it was some kind of thriller. I wondered why all the kitchens built since 1949 weren’t like this one because the design and functionality were beyond perfection; all other kitchens now paled in comparison. How awesome it would be to cook and bake in this space! But my feelings were bittersweet; I also felt great disappointment that this splendid kitchen wasn’t mine.

An army of professionals at the Bureau of Home Economics used systematic research and a lot of trial and error to get the final result. Models and prototypes of various features were built and many discarded or improved upon before final versions were adopted. Then the testing came and more changes and revisions were made. The end product was a thoughtful layout that fostered ease of movement that considered ergonomics too.

The kitchen has six centers, areas suited for particular tasks that make it easy for cooks to plan, cook, bake, prepare vegetables, serve and wash dishes. The kitchen operates as a smooth production line and considers comfortable work heights, handy storage, cross ventilation and natural light. A dining corner has a table that seats six people.

So here I am gleeful about finding the perfect kitchen and then the practical side of me kicks in. I realize how difficult it would be to build a kitchen like this in the rural area we live in. The kitchen has old-fashioned features that couldn’t be easily found in our modern day and age and they would need to be custom made. For a few days I fantasied about being thirty years old and with an entrepreneurial spirit, starting a company that fabricates this kitchen in modular fashion. The kitchen could be built where labor and materials were easily found, broken down and then whoosh! transported to the final destination. I would name the company “Pop-Up Kitchens”, Inc. Has someone, somewhere along the line already thought of this? I will probably never know.

Even if kitchen design doesn’t intrigue you, the black and white film definitely entertains; it made me realize how dramatically society has changed in 75 years. I’d be more than happy to send you the link to the film and the twenty-page booklet that contains the plans and blueprints; just shoot me an e-mail. And please invite me to the open house if you build this magical kitchen!