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What is a summer kitchen?

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With an outdoor kitchen such as this even a non-cook would love to cook!
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What is a summer kitchen? It's something wonderful & not what it used to be

The contemporary answer for “what is a summer kitchen” is a bit different from the original definition.

In the past, a summer kitchen was an area that was separate from the main house. The cooking was done in this area so that the main house would not get hot or any hotter than it already was. The cooking portion of the home was not a pleasant room to be in because they were extremely hot and smoky.

Sometimes the kitchen was simply a shed or a small building, located close to the main structure.

In Williamsburg, Va., in 1724, some homeowners started locating their cooking areas apart from the dwelling because of the heat that emanated from the room and because of the smell of foodstuff. The buildings were often log structures. The idea caught on.

Most cooking was done in an open fireplace, which wasn’t a pleasant experience during the hot  months. That’s why a separate area for cooking was established. In addition to cooking, the hard and arduous and hot job of canning and preserving was done in this separate area. Clothes were often washed there as well.

The detached kitchen was located relatively close to the main dwelling because the food had to be carried from one location to the next quickly so that it was still hot when it was served. Ultimately, this kind of arrangement came to be a statement about social space, gender and race and not so much to do with cooking and comfort. Wealthy plantations owners generally had detached cooking areas.

Even when the cooking area was situated in the main house was used, during the cooler months, the room was generally positioned so that it was out of sight, particularly in households of means (wealth.)

The servants did the cooking and the homeowners and their guests ate in a hall or great room. This particular room was considered the realm of the hard-working underclass and it was not somewhere that the lady of the house or her daughters chose to be.

FAST FORWARD TO 2012...

... and the concept of a summer kitchen has changed dramatically from the original. It is a place where you want to spend time, hanging out with your family and friends.

This space is an outdoor room or space that includes an oven, perhaps a fire pit or fireplace, a table and chairs and even a refrigerator, sink and cabinets, where you can store your pots and pans and other utensils.

Incorporating this type of space in addition to your existing living quarters extends your living space extensively, particularly if you have sliding glass doors that open up onto the area. You can make your living space appear twice as big this way. And this is a great way to increase the worth of your home and property.

If you have a swimming pool in your back yard, you may way to establish your outdoor cooking and eating area close to the pool. You can swim, lounge around, cook and eat and never have to leave the area.

You can build an outdoor food preparations area under a porch or on your patio or terrace or in the middle of your back yard if you so choose.

Install a fabric or wood canopy over your outdoor room to protect inhabitants from rain or sun. Install outdoor lighting so that the area can be used safely at night.

The choice of furniture for your outdoor area is virtually endless. You are going to have a ball designing and decorating this area, and even more fun utilizing it.



You can utilize this outdoor space in the morning – there is nothing better than sitting outside on a beautiful quiet morning sipping hot coffee and listening to the birds sing – or in the middle of the day when you’re taking a lunch break. 

Your kids are going to love supper time when it’s served outdoors. Put up some Japanese lanterns, rope lighting, make some centerpieces out of flowers plucked  from your garden, drape your tables in beautiful linens, turn up the music and have a lovely and relaxing time.

Summertime and the living is easy …..


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