“The kitchen is the most provocative part of the house. It has been used as a political tool for a long time, to the point that nowadays we can’t accept living without a kitchen.”
Even so, the notion of a kitchenless (middle-class) home is nearly as old in America as industrialization itself. From the mid-19th century to the early 20th century, feminists, often with the help of architects, envisioned houses and apartments lacking all the equipment necessary for food preparation—counter space, sinks, larders—and compensating for it with centralized cooking and housekeeping facilities.
Puigjaner frequently points to the failure of consumer society and its fallacious claims to erode domestic housework: “Despite our high-tech cooking and cleaning machines, we still spend the same amount of time at home working to keep our houses in good condition. And we produce more and more waste to do it.”
She concedes how difficult it is to change cultural norms. So rather than completely doing away with kitchens, she suggests a happy medium: Shared kitchens could handle the bulk of meals, while kitchenettes in individual apartments could give residents a personal, creative outlet. But the chance to opt in, she says, is essential. “It should not have to be one or the other. The most important thing is to be free to choose.”