kitch·en / ˈkichən/ (from The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English, 2009)• n. 1. a room or area where food is prepared and cooked. ∎ a set of fixtures, cabinets, and appliances that are sold together and installed in such a room or area: a complete kitchen at a bargain price. ∎ cuisine: the dried shrimp pastes of the Thai kitchen. 2. inf. the percussion section of an orchestra. 3. [as adj.] (of a language) in an uneducated or domestic form: kitchen Swahili.
Some fun kitchen facts:
- Fun Tudor kitchen facts:
- The kitchen at Hampton Court provided food for up to 600 people while smaller palaces and mansions might cater for 200 people;
- Hampton Court kitchens were staffed by over 200 people, providing two meals a day for the 600-800 members of King Henry VIII's court.
- The annual provision of meat for the Tudor court is estimated to have stood at 1,240 oxen; 8,200 sheep; 2,330 deer; 760 calves; 1,870 pigs; and 53 wild boar. This was washed down with 600,000 gallons of ale.
- Click here to find out about Tudor banquets- which were for special guests after the main meat courses
- Hoosier cabinets - cabinets that organized ALL the obvious (and some not so obvious) kitchen needs into one hutch were introduced in the early 1900's and they provided a huge step towards moving 'homemakers' into "fitted kitchens." Aside from a counter top, small drawers and cabinets within the cupboard, the Hoosier cabinet also had racks and hardware to organize food staples, a combination flour bin/sifter, a tin hopper, and a sugar bin. Special Hoosier glass jars were also manufactured by the Hoosier Manufacturing Co. of New Castle Indiana for coffee and tea canisters, a salt box and four to eight spice jars. The inside of the cupboard doors had cards with measurement conversion information, sample menus, and household tips.
- The percentage of American families who owned a mechanical refrigerator jumped from 44 to 80% between 1940-1950;
- Attention to details - whether following a recipe or safety rules, when working in a kitchen you have to focus carefully on what you're doing.
- Chemistry - cooking, and baking in particular, are ALL about chemistry and how and when to mix specific amounts of given ingredients. Stray from the proportions and your dish will stray too!
- Math - cooking and following recipes is understanding measurement, ratios, and proportions, and often involves some form of calculation (for example, changeing cups to tablespoons or quarts to ounces).
- Reading - my husband's grandmother taught her kids to read - in the kitchen - with cereal boxes. Reading recipes is a great reading resource, especially for reluctant readers.
- History - kitchens tell stories about families, men and women's changing family and kitchen/cooking roles, new technologies and appliances, and shifts in values and everyday life.
- Health - cleanliness, food expiration dates, awareness of what's going into your food, and general awareness about how what you are eating is essential for overall health and later independence. Being aware of what goes into making food will help children make more educated and health-based food decisions.
- Thunder Cake (Patricia Polacco)
- If You Give a Mouse A Cookie (Laura Numeroff)
- Bread and Jam for Frances (Russell Hoban)
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle)
- Bake Sale (Sara Varon)
- Chato's Kitchen (Gary Soto)
- Blueberries for Sal (Robert McCloskey)
- The Chocolate Touch (Patrick Skene Catling)
- Fannie in the Kitchen: The Whole Story from Soup to Nuts of How Fannie Farmer Invented Recipes with Precise Measurements (Deborah Hopkinson)
- Kitchen Dance (Maurie J. Mamning)
- Strega Nona (Tomie DePaolo)
- Pascual and the Kitchen Angels (Tomie DePaolo)
- Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs (Judi and Ronald Barrett)
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Roald Dahl)
- Chicken Soup with Rice (Maurice Sendak)
- In the Night Kitchen (Maurice Sendak)
- Green Eggs and Ham (Dr. Seuss)
- How to Eat Fried Worms (Thomas Rockwell)
- Piggies in the Kitchen (Michelle Meadows)
I can think of nine kids' books that center around a kitchen:
- Bake Sale (Sara Varon) - while the story centers around a baker and bakery and not home kitchen, much of the story takes place in a kitchen. In this graphic novel, Sara Varon weaves a salivating tale of friendship, chemistry, baking, and marching bands. It is about friends using creative ideas to help each other with life's dreams and unavoidable obstacles. Life's solutions (at least in this book) revolve around baking. There are seven recipes from classic cupcakes and cookies to sugared flower petals to marzipan. It is wonderfully heart-warming and creative and in addition to being about friendship, we have a glimpse of how a bakery kitchen is run. Please see this YouTube clip for more about the book.
- Thunder Cake (Patricia Polacco) is based on the author's true life story of how her grandmother helped her overcome her fear of thunder. It seems the author hated thunder and so her grandmother helped her face that fear by gathering ingredients from the barn (milk and eggs) and the pantry shed outside the house for her Thunder Cake recipe, and then baking it together in the kitchen as a thunder storm approached and passed. This is a wonderful story of love, fear, distraction, and the powerful art of baking. While it doesn't take place only in a kitchen, they do bake the cake together in the kitchen for half the book, and the recipe is included for you and your kids to bake together in your kitchen. This is also a great book for grandparents to read and then bake with their grandchildren. It is one of my favorite books.
- Chato's Kitchen (Gary Soto) is about Chato, the coolest cat in East L.A. who couldn't be happier when a family of mice move into the barrio, but soon realizes that he is getting more than he can handle with the surprise guest the mice bring along. This is an ALA Notable Book.
- Kitchen Dance (Maurie J. Mamning) - about a young girl who wakes in the night to mysterious, inviting noises. She wakes up her brother and together sneak downstairs to see (to their amazement and delight) their parents dancing and singing as they clean up and put food away. The kids are swept into the dance's embrace and slowly the song changes to a lullaby, lulling the kids to sleep.
- Piggies in the Kitchen (Michelle Meadows) is about the fun, mess, and surprises that ensue as Mama leaves for the day and her piggies sneak into the kitchen to bake.
- Pascual and the Kitchen Angels (Tomie DePaolo) - When Pascual was born, angels flew down and sang to him from the trees. As a boy, Pascual san to the sheep and they sang back to him. As a young man, Pascual joins the Franciscans and when sent to work in the kitchen, has no clue what to do. The angels return, flying down and a delicious dinner appears, the friars soon realize Pascual is special.
- Fannie in the Kitchen: The Whole Story from Soup to Nuts of How Fannie Farmer Invented Recipes with Precise Measurements (Deborah Hopkinson) - is a delightful slice of history as it tells Fannie Farmer's story - how she was a mother's helper for the Shaw family, taught their daughter Marcia how to cook, and of Marcia's influence on her to record her recipes and exact directions for measuring and cooking into one of the first modern cookbooks. It even has Fannie Farmer's famous griddle cake recipe to inspire young readers and young chefs.
- The Borrowers (Mary Norton) is the first in a series of stories about tiny people who live in peoples' homes who secretly "borrow" things to survive. The story begins when Arrietty (a Borrower) is seen by a 'human bean', while scampering under the kitchen floorboards in an old English manor. The adventure continues from there.
- In the Night Kitchen (Maurice Sendak) is the story of Micky's surreal dream/journey though a baker's kitchen where he helps with the creation of a cake ready by morning. Note that Mickey, at the beginning of the dream, falls into a giant pot of batter, loses his pajamas and is naked for most of the story. This, along with the surreal dream has made this 1970 story somewhat controversial. While not one of my favorites, my husband and kids actually enjoyed reading it together. Also, the book, while a true product of the 1970's is a bit 'tripppy' but there is a lot of imagery and imagination and wonderfully exciting art work.
What do you think?
Whether you read about food, read about kitchens, or view kitchens on television or in the movies (Ratatouille was one of my favorites), there is a lot of fun and learning that goes on. Please share some of your kitchen fun and learning (links to kitchen/kid ideas are also welcome) in the comments, or include other books and stories centering around the kitchen (that I failed to think of).
Thank you for stopping by and joining the conversation.
Have a great week.