Bright yellow gourds on a wooden bench
Culture & tradition,  History,  Lens-Artists,  Sunday Stills,  Themed galleries

Gallery: kitchens in time and place

Happiness is a small house, with a big kitchen

Alfred Hitchcock

A kitchen can tell you a lot about a home. Whether it’s a basic one in a simple home or a much more elaborate one in a grand mansion, the kitchen will reflect not only the physical nature of the house but also the lives of the people who live or lived there.

The Lens Artists Challenge has a guest host this week, Ritva, and she asks us to seek inspiration in our kitchens. I confess that isn’t a place I tend to go for photography inspiration, so I was stuck for ideas for a while. But then inspiration of a different sort struck, and I decided to double-dip with Terri’s Sunday Stills theme, Historical.

However, it wouldn’t be me if there wasn’t also a nod to my travels in a post, so I’ve divided my kitchen shots into those that reflect the past and those that show cooking habits in different parts of the world. Inevitably however there is some overlap, as several of my historical shots are from outside the UK, and several of my travel shots are illustrative of the history of a place.

Historical kitchens

Room with old fashioned range with clothes drying

The kitchen of a 1900s house at Beamish Museum in north east England

Table with various old kitchen utensils in front of an arched window

In a farmhouse of the 1820s, also at Beamish Museum

Wooden table with various old kitchen utensils

The kitchen at Syon House, west London

Stone jars with cloth covers

In the Abbot’s Kitchen, Glastonbury Abbey

Cooking pots hanging in the corner of a stone walled room

Also in the Abbot’s Kitchen, Glastonbury Abbey

Old fashioned grinder and other utensils

Sami kitchen utensils displayed at the Full Steam Museum in Tromsø, Norway

Earthenware bowl and corn husks by a window

In the Kit Carson house in Taos, NM

Kitchens around the world

Large pots on a tiled bench, one over flames

A family kitchen in a village near Siem Reap, Cambodia

(see Lunch with Mr Noon and his family to find out what was cooking!)

Maria making coffee the traditional way in Colombia

Woman pouring water from a jug into a cloth filter

Metal pot hanging above the embers of a fire

Cooking pot in an old merchant’s house, Takayama, Japan

Group of people in colourful dress around a fire on a bed of reeds

Cooking over an open fire on one of the Uros islands (aka ‘floating islands’), Lake Titicaca, Peru

Woman in a sari seated in front of a fire with a pan

Frying battered fish in a home in Goa

Metal containers on a shelf

In a house in the Thar Desert, Rajasthan

And finally, a bit of personal history. Ritka asks to see a favourite cup, but how about a whole coffee service? The green Portmeirion Totem service below was one of my mother-in-law’s prized possessions. She had used it to serve coffee to friends back in the 1960s when she was a big fan of the trendy designs of that time, but in later years it spent most of the time on a shelf. When she died it was one of the few items I asked my husband if I could have, as a memento of her but also because I too loved it. I don’t use it often (we like to have our coffee in mugs and brew it in a cafetière rather than a pot) but the cups come out at Christmas and for other special occasions.

Green cups, saucers, jug etc on a glass shelf
Portmeirion Totem coffee service

The ’Totem’ design was launched in 1963 and is now considered to be a design icon of the 1960s. It was designed by Susan Williams-Ellis, the then owner of the pottery, and was produced in a variety of colours. Today they are something of collectors’ pieces but not super rare or valuable. However this set is priceless to us!


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