Warmest Room in the House?

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In today’s NYT Book Review (alas, I’ve cancelled my Strib subsription in favor of the Times) Dominique Browning reviews “The Warmest Room in the House” by Steven Gdula.

Thomas Jefferson once wrote that if you really want to understand the workings of a society, you have to “look into their pots” and “eat their bread.” Steven Gdula gives us a view of American culture from the most popular room in the house: the kitchen.

As it does now, and will forever, the question of counter space loomed large for housewives in the early part of the last century. The invention of the Hoosier, a cabinet that contained drawers for almost every possible gadget and a work surface in one unit, set a pattern for kitchen design that has been altered only by degree over the decades. Here is a paradox. Early kitchens had “no counter space,” as real estate agents would put it today, which is enough to warrant major renovation, as anyone who has bought a prewar house or apartment knows. Yet out of those very kitchens came an abundance — the likes of which we never see today unless we are watching the Food Channel — of breads, cakes, pies, stews, roasts and preserved goods, enough to feed family and friends season after season.

As we consider a kitchen remodel ourselves (and ordered Punch pizza for dinner tonight – deliciaaaahhhhs!), it is interesting to take a broader view our “germ phobic…vanity kitchens” where we do little more than reheat last night’s Chinese.

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2 Responses to “Warmest Room in the House?”


  1. 1 Matt H. January 2, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    Punch Pizza? The best pizza ever… where was my invite beeee’atch! As for germ phobic kitchens… obviously you haven’t seen my kitchen floor lately! Although I did get the little lady a Roomba 530 for her Christmas present! That’s right… I have trained her so well she is asking for robots as gifts! Actually it does a pretty amazing job and I no longer have to vacuum the kids off after meals!

  2. 2 bobbyjones January 3, 2008 at 9:00 am

    The Roomba will never be the same after this SNL skit:

    http://www.dhadm.com/mediaHolder.php?id=295


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