In poorer households, the kitchen was a corner of the living area, which often resembled a basement sink area more than it resembled our idea of a kitchen. In the '20s and '30s, a new kitchen design emerged based on the efficiency methods being employed in industrial assembly lines: separate work areas for washing, preparing, storing, and cooking. Unfortunately, the work areas remained on opposing parts of the room, separated by runs of open wall space. The sink might use one wall, the stove another, the pantry would be around the corner, and the ice box would sit near the door for ac- cessibility to the iceman's deliveries. The cook did a lot of walking.
Many of us grew up with kitchens remodeled or newly built in the late '40s and early '50s as the baby- boomer generation arrived after World War II. New families meant new con- struction, which resulted in the first suburban tracts of "modern" homes. Modern meant streamlined and effi- dent, with rows of connected cabinetry, sleek counters, and more usable work space. There still wasn't a lot of work space, but it was a vast improvement over the kitchens of the prewar years. In the '60s and '70s, we saw the beginnings of contemporary kitchen design. Lighting was improved, new kinds of appliances like dishwashers and garbage disposals became customary' and cabinetry had more durable finishes. Counters were made of new laminate designs that featured bright colors and patterns like the infamous "boomerang" pattern many of us grew up with (recently made available again as a retro look). The downside of these kitchens was that they adhered to a design based on the trends of that year or even that month. Orange counters, barn-wood cabinets, supergraphic wall coverings, and bizarre light fixtures of- ten became outdated within a few years of their initial installation.

This brings us to the present. CookIng has become a serious avocation for many people-not just traditional cooking, but cooking that includes techniques from cultures all over the world. Technology is changing constantly, and the kitchen has been the benefactor of many breakthroughs in lighting, communications, appliances, heating and air-conditioning, recy- cling, and many other systems. Some kitchens in homes owned by two- income couples without children or by singles are rarely used for anything other than an occasional microwaved meal.