An 1890's Model Kitchen

Maria Parloa was a very popular cookbook author and teacher in the 19th c. The following is her description of a model kitchen.

The size of the kitchen is an important matter. Although the room should be spacious enough to contain sink, range, table, dresser and chairs, and to give ample opportunity for free movements, it should not be so large as to oblige one to make many steps to and from sink, table, range or pantry. A good size is 15x17.
The ventilation is a prominent factor of the comfort of not only those who work in the kitchen, but of the entire household. If the room lacks good ventilation, the strength of those who work in it will become exhausted sooner than it should, and they will become unnecessarily irritated. Besides, the odors of cooking, which should pass to the open air, will instead escape to all parts of the house.
Every part of the kitchen, pantry and closet, except the ceiling, should be finished in such a way that it may be washed. Nothing is better for the flooring than hard wood. If the floors are to be covered, no better material than lignum can be used. It is soft, clean and durable. Oilcloth is very cold and is the cause of a great deal of rheumatism.
It is well to have the woodwork such as to require oiling only, and the walls should be painted a rather light color. When possible, the walls about the sink, tables and range should be tiled. Tiles seem to be rather expensive at the outset, but in the long run it is true economy to use them, as they will last as long as the house. They may be easily kept bright and clean. The time will come when few people will think of finishing a kitchen without them. The English or Dutch tiles should be used, and blue and white should predominate.
Lack of table room is a drawback met with in most kitchens. There ought to be an abundance of such room, so that when a meal is being prepared or served there need be no crowding or confusion, and it may be obtained by having two or three swinging tables in the room. When they are not in use they may be dropped.
The sink should be large,there is nothing better than iron,with a sloping and grooved shelf at one end, on which to drain dishes. It should not be enclosed. Every dark, enclosed place in a kitchen is a source of temptation to the slovenly. Let the light reach every part of the room. At the right hand of the sink have a long, narrow table containing two drawers for towels. Unless the walls above, below and at the sides of the sink be tiled, they should be finished with hard wood. If tiles be used, have a broad capping of hard wood extend across the upper edge of the top row, in which to put hooks for various small utensils that are in frequent use about the sink. Under the sink have more hooks for dish-pans, dish-cloth, etc.
In the center of the kitchen have another table about 3 ½ x 4 ½ feet. This should contain a drawer for knives, forks, spoons and other utensils that are in frequent use in that part of the kitchen. Have a small table also, about the height of the range. This is for use as a resting place for utensils used when griddle-cakes, omelets, waffles, etc., are made. When not in use it may be moved aside. Between the door to the hall and that to the china-closet have a swinging table or a settee table; the latter being that kind which serves as a seat when not in use for ironing or other purposes. Above the table have two shelves for cook-books and other books, and a clock.
A portable range can be so placed that it will be possible to walk all around it. It can be run with about half the quantity of coal required for a set range. It responds quickly to the opening or shutting-off of a draught. One's feet do not become heated by standing near it. There are no dark corners. It does away with the necessity of much lifting of heavy utensils. And it can be so managed that there shall be a hot oven at any time of the day.
Convenient to the range and sink there should be a large pantryabout 12 ft. x 8 ft. The window should have a wire screen and inside blinds. A large strong table, with two drawers, should be placed before this window. Have hooks on the ends of the table on which to hang the pastry-board, the board on which cold meats are cut, and that on which bread and cake are cut. The rolling-pin, cutters, knives and various small
utensils may be kept in one drawer, and spices, flavoring extracts, baking-powders, etc., in the other.
The wall at one end of the room should be covered with hooks on which to hang saucepans and other utensils. About one foot from the floor there should be a strong, broad shelf, on which to place heavy pots and kettles. Two feet above it there should be a narrow shelf for the covers of the pots and saucepans. By this arrangement all of these utensils may be kept together and always in sight, and no time need be lost in searching for any of the articles.
A number of shelves may be placed between the window and this end of the room, on which to keep materials used very frequently, such as sugar, salt, rice, tapioca, etc.
In the frame of the window, but within easy reach, put hooks, on which to hang spoons and an egg-beater.
At the lower end of the room have wall-closets built about four feet from the floor. The shelves within them should be about twenty inches wide and the doors should be supplied with locks. Under the closets have a strong rack, four inches high, on which to keep barrels. The rack secures a free circulation of air under the barrels, thus keeping their contents sweet.
On one side, running the length of the room, have shelves, beginning a foot from the floor and running as high as the top of the wall-closets. On the lower shelves may be kept buckets and jugs, while the upper ones will accommodate mixing bowls, measuring cups, baking and mixing pans, and, indeed, all of the utensils for which space has not already been provided.
At the end of this row of shelves have a place for a towel, so as to avoid the trouble of going to the kitchen whenever the hands require wiping.
With this arrangement of the kitchen and pantry the cooking and the washing of dishes can be done in a small space, steps and time can be saved, and half of the kitchen will generally be unused and ready for the servants' table or any other purpose. The points kept in view throughout areconcentration of work, good light and ventilation, ample table room, cleanliness, and the giving of an attractive appearance.
It is understood that there is a cellar or cold room convenient to the kitchen.

from How To Plan Furnish and Decorate 1897

Spammers, please note: all comments are moderated. All spam is rejected.

No comments: