Home kitchens are not functional

Shamelessly stolen from HGTV.com

I cooked breakfast this morning. I hate home kitchens because they are more like living rooms with furniture rather than places to prepare food. I don’t know why or how this trend started, but anyone who cooks at home needs to work in a restaurant kitchen for even a few weeks to know the following rants are more than just my opinion.

Here goes.

Granite countertops
WTF, people? Is there an over-abundance of granite in the world? Shows on HGTV make it sound like if you don’t have a $5,000 ganite countertop in your kitchen then your house has no value whatsoever. Zip. Nada. POS house.

Granite is way, way over-rated as a countertop material. It is heavy and expensive. Stainless steel makes a much better surface for cooking and baking.

Cabinets
This is furniture, people, not functional storage space. Stacked stainless steel shelves above the washing/prep/cooking areas where you stack dishes and sundries is far more functional than opening doors, trying to pull out a dish that has been stuffed into a slightly undersized cabinet while the omelette on the stove burst into flames.

Electric stoves
No, no and no. You can’t regulate heat, they are dangerous around cloth like towels and potholders. Stoves should be gas-powered flattop griddles that you can regulate by zone and make proper pancakes on.

Ovens that make you bend down
This is about the silliest feature of a home kitchen. Why we make folks bend over a hot oven that requires you to open a door downwards like a step, peer into the hot cavern to pull out something that could potentially spill and scar you for life is entirely irresponsible. Overn should be at eye level, with double doors that swing outward.

Sinks
Most kitchens have a sink that you use to wash food AND wash the pots and pans in. And don’t get me started on why an overhead water sprayer is not standard equipment in every kitchen.

Pots, pans, utensil and knife storage
Pots and pans do not belong in a cabinet where you have to bend down and peer into a dark cave. They should be hung above the prep area where they can be easily grabbed. Same with knifes and utensils. Nobody needs to put knifes and pointy utensils in a drawer where they can attack the tips of your fingers with the most minimal provocation. Hang the utensils on an overhead rack; put the knives on a magnetic bar on the same rack.

I could go on about refrigerator design, disposals and dishwashers, but I think the above is enough craziness for today. Bottom line; a showplace kitchen is a dangerous place to prepare food. A functional kitchen is an ugly showplace. But it doesn’t need to be.

We just need the hosts at HGTV to shut up about the granite and pretty and start pushing stainless and function.

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One Response to Home kitchens are not functional

  1. Aaron says:

    In comparison to other commonly used kitchen counter materials, I’ve found granite to be highly functional. Particularly if you have a spouse who doesn’t seem to know what a cutting board is for, or why you might not want to move a hot pan from the stove onto a bare counter. Stainless will work for that, as well (although it will scratch), but don’t try it with formica, Corian, wood, etc.

    That said, I’m not going to argue that kitchen design rarely seems to be about function. I have seen some beautiful kitchens and wondered if, despite a huge investment in cabinetry and top-of-the-line appliances, if anybody actually cooks in them. (“House for sale with Christopher Peacock kitchen, preserved as if for a museum display.”) And if they tried, how well it would work. The alternative you describe can easily be found – in the food service industry, as a result of a necessary emphasis on function and durability.