Rachel Laudan

So What is a Kitchen?

“What is a kitchen?” sounds like an easy question to answer, right?  A kitchen is a room where you cook.

Well, in fact, like everything, the history of food preparation and the places in which it was carried out has a long and complicated history. The home kitchen as we know it takes shape in the last four hundred years, a tiny fraction of human history.

Sara Pennell, who is a Senior Lecturer in Early Modern British History at the University of Greenwich in London, recently published a book on English kitchen history that I was lucky enough to review.  Since it follows on nicely from the last post on cooking, I am putting it up, with some subheadings provided.

Thanks to the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London for giving me the opportunity and allowing me to re-publish the on-line review.

The Birth of the English Kitchen, 1600-1850


The Birth of the English Kitchen, 1600-1850
Sara Pennell
London, Bloomsbury, 2016, ISBN: 9781441188083; 272pp.; Price: £65.00


Dr Rachel Laudan
University of Texas at Austin


Dr Rachel Laudan, review of The Birth of the English Kitchen, 1600-1850, (review no. 2180)
DOI: 10.14296/RiH/2014/2180
Date accessed: 8 November, 2017

How and when did rooms dedicated to preparing food become standard in ordinary dwellings?

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2 thoughts on “So What is a Kitchen?

  1. Peter hertzmann

    I’d like to add another book that covers similar territory, but a narrower timeframe and in a different region: Priscilla Brewer’s “From Fireplace To Cookstove: Technology and the Domestic Ideal in America” (2000).

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