Mother,where are thou?
The other week we nearly succumbed to a trend. The new kitchen. Ours is perfectly functional,open plan and does the business very neatly and efficiently. Except some of the storage space could be better. Enter friend who has a kitchen outfitting business. She brings her designer round. And we are off. New units, new configuration, new shelves, new floor, new plumbing and when all is said, not much change from £50k. That is three times more than our first house in 1975. OK, not exactly a fair comparison,but point made.
Luckily , news from Australia was good. Adelaide is getting married. We cant afford a kitchen and a wedding. We’re out. Its was close.
But the super kitchen is very much top of the agenda. In the sub prime retail Lower Richmond Road on which our street adjoins three major kitchen/bathroom show rooms have sprung up. Along with fifteen so places to eat or buy take away where thirty years ago there were two or three.
So we are eating out more and spending more on our kitchens. What’s happening? The kitchen has moved from being a descendent of a scullery where servants worked to centre of the main family living space. As such it is seen and admired .
Wealth in every area of consumer behaviour is expressed by moving up market, buying status and or quality and being seen to so to do. The expensive hand bag and the Bosch appliances perform the same function. As well the whole open plan way of living which was prevalent in the United States since the l930s is playing massive catch up in Europe where knocking through is barely a generation old.
So we cook less but spend more on the kitchen. Both signs of the changing status of women. They work but still run the kitchen, therefore although they may spend less time over a stove they demand the best. Some see eating out as a symptom of the decline in the family,its values and cohesion.
Maybe, but divorce, globalisation, economic freedom and mobility of labour all have their part to play. The Sunday lunch was once the great symbol of the old fashioned family. Mother cooking, father carving and children gratefully having seconds of beef and crumble. But now most Sunday lunches which are still predominantly roasts are had in pubs for which this ritual has become a growth business.
I notice that most of the many gastro pubs in Putney are doing a special Xmas dinner on the day. Further proof of the decline in cooking in the home. It wont effect us as on the holy day we will be in Pondicherry. Eating out.