Daily Prompt: Letters

There are 26 letters in the English language, and we need every single one of them. Want proof? Choose a letter and write a blog post without using it.

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This is an interesting one. Letters are our basis for communication. We collect letters in groups to form words, which are then grouped to form sentences, and paragraphs and pages, etc. Those letters and words correspond to sounds which become our conversations. Without these letters and the sounds that they represent society does not exist. Community crumbles and is swept away without conversation. Nowhere is this more important and more apparent than in the home. So, instead of going with the intent of today’s daily prompt and leaving OUT a letter, I’m choosing to focus on the letter for Kitchen as the genesis for this post. What can I say? I’m a rebel. 😐

The kitchen in my mind has always been the center of life, family and community in the home. Growing up I was the oldest grandchild so during big family holiday’s while the men-folk were in the living room drinking and telling lies to each other I was in the kitchen helping my grandmother, mother and aunts with the cooking and the baking, etc. This was an incredibly influential time in my life and is undoubtedly why I spend so much time and energy designing the kitchen and dining areas of my projects as real gathering and entertaining spaces instead of merely functional space requirements.

Even now, as an adult and a family man, the kitchen is where it all happens. When my wife and I have people over, the first place we gather is the kitchen. Mostly because that’s where we keep the wine, but more than that it’s how we most tend to communicate and share is around the preparation of food. That and the kids aren’t allowed in the kitchen so it’s a bit quieter than the rest of the house. :-\

This sentiment is seen throughout our architectural history as well. Some of the earliest cities in the world had a central hearth which functioned not just for the preparation of food and to create warmth, but also was a center of social activity in the home as well. Especially in later periods we see this same trend play out in most vernacular styles of Europe and the Americas. In recent history the focus became more about presentation and entertaining rather than the act of preparation. If you’ve ever lived in a house built from, say, 1850 to 1970 you know what I mean. The kitchen became a place that only the wife ventured into. Once the food was cooked it was brought to the dining table where the social interaction took place. Today our culture is shifting back to entertaining and social interaction as more than just a presentation but rather a process. Kitchens once again are open to the public spaces of the home and each piece is meant to function together rather than apart.

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