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separate room or other space set aside for the cooking or preparation of meals. When cooking first moved indoors, it was performed, with other domestic labors, in the common room, where the fire burned on the hearth, or—even earlier, before chimneys were known—on the floor in the center of the room. With the building of larger houses, the kitchen became a separate room. Little is known of the culinary arrangements of antiquity. Excavations at Pompeii show separate rooms fitted with the simple equipment still used in some Asian cooking. A large brazier, or metal basket on legs, held burning charcoal over which a single basin could be simmered. In homes of wealthy Romans a bench of brick or masonry contained several holes, so that a number of dishes could be cooked at once. Water was kept in jars and heated in large caldrons. Although the peoples of N Europe used stoves from ancient times for heating, they cooked over open fires and baked in outdoor ovens. In the Middle Ages, many of the finest kitchens were in the monasteries; the kitchens were in separate buildings and were equipped for cooking, brewing, and baking on a large scale. In North American colonial and pioneer days the kitchen was large enough to accommodate the operations of spinning, weaving, sewing, knitting, and harness mending as well as cooking. Early American manor houses, especially in the South, usually had separate kitchens, often connected with the house by a covered way or porch. Many farmhouses, before the use of gas or electricity, had a separate summer kitchen, where canning or preserving and the preparation of meals for harvest workers could be carried on without heating the house. Kitchens remain places for cooking as well as hubs of family life. In addition to a sink, cabinets, stove, and refrigerator, many have a dishwasher, trash compactor, garbage disposal, and smaller appliances, such as food processors and microwave ovens. Microwave ovens, usually smaller than conventional ovens and used as adjuncts, heat foods quickly without drying them out, but also without browning, and can be used to quickly defrost frozen food.


See M. Harrison, The Kitchen in History (1973); J. Driemens, Kitchens (1987).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


Room where food is prepared and cooked.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved

What does it mean when you dream about a kitchen?

A kitchen signifies a place of physical or spiritual nourishment. The food being cooked or eaten in the dream may indicate what food the dreamer’s body needs.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


A room intended for the preparation and cooking of food, often where meals are also eaten; if prepared in a structure detached from the main house, then called an outkitchen Also see summer kitchen.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


Houses in dreams generally represent the dreamer (dreamer = house). The kitchen is the heart of the house. For most families, the kitchen is a place of warmth and nourishment (emotional as well as physical). Examine the conditions of your dream kitchen and you may become aware of some emotional needs and feelings toward yourself and others.
Bedside Dream Dictionary by Silvana Amar Copyright © 2007 by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
References in classic literature ?
He therefore entered, without ceremony, and groped his way to the kitchen.
Affery still remaining behind her apron, he came stumbling down the kitchen stairs, candle in hand, sidled up to her, twitched her apron off, and roused her.
Pott yielded a ready assent; and all four travellers, each with his glass in his hand, at once betook themselves to the kitchen, with Sam Weller heading the procession to show them the way.
The surgeon lifted the canvas screen and called into the kitchen:
For one thing, she was forbidden to move out of the garden, and it fretted her sadly to be confined to its narrow bounds as spring drew on; for another, in following the house, I was forced to quit her frequently, and she complained of loneliness: she preferred quarrelling with Joseph in the kitchen to sitting at peace in her solitude.
When he re-entered the kitchen the lamp lit up the same scene of shining comfort as on the previous evening.
The good people now ranged themselves round the kitchen fire, where good humour seemed to maintain an absolute dominion; and Partridge not only forgot his shameful defeat, but converted hunger into thirst, and soon became extremely facetious.
Down-stairs in the kitchen, Nancy, hurrying with her belated work, jabbed her dish-mop into the milk pitcher, and muttered Jerkily:
It was closed and bolted like the kitchen. But there were signs that this window had been recently open; the cobwebs were disturbed, and there were fresh dirty footmarks upon the window-sill.
It was pleasant there in the kitchen. The sun shone into my bath-water through the west half-window, and a big Maltese cat came up and rubbed himself against the tub, watching me curiously.
Everything in the kitchen leaped out, clearly visible in green and black, and vanished again.
There was no one in the kitchen when Lisbeth entered and threw herself into the chair.