Tech Behind Great Food
December 1, 2021

(Re)Imagining the Kitchens: From the Flintstones to the Jetsons

To see how far the Kitchens have made it - in this blog we delve deep into defining what classifies kitchens as primitive and what we can expect from Kitchens of the Future!

Ashwati Madhavan

At the very heart of functional design and life sustenance lie the spaces that we call ‘kitchens’. This piece assesses how far our kitchens have come and is vividly intertwined with imagery from some of our favourite TV shows - From the Flintstones to the Jetsons. 

Both the productions are a reflection of contrasting time periods - the Stone Age and Space Age. They stand as satirical but idealistic depictions of our past and future that were envisioned as far back as the ‘60s. The two shows bring together what was, and what will be!

A major way to absorb the user into such jam-packed time-capsules and to make them believable, is by letting the viewer relate to normalcy and everyday life as such. Depictions of kitchens in either of these shows have been phenomenal in building our imagination from a tender age. 

To pay homage to these shows and their creators, and to see how far the Kitchens have made it - we delve deep into defining what is classified as primitivity in kitchens and what we can expect from Kitchens of the Future!

Much of our lives inevitably revolve around the kitchen, sometimes to the point where some would go on to believe that it is the starting point in the ‘modern-day human food chain’. 

In our recent blog Why We Built Nymble, we took a trip down the evolutionary lane by dissecting the above-mentioned ‘human food chain’ and we saw that even though eating habits have seen a drastic shift due to commercialization, most of our kitchens have remained static to the point where we should be calling them 'fossil kitchens’.

This isn’t to reduce the purpose of the kitchen, nor to negate the fact that kitchens are high output delivering functional units. In fact, one way of absorbing this concept of fossil kitchens is by acknowledging that basics can never go wrong. The few fundamentals under the construct of which kitchens are built, stand universal to the present day. 

Applicable to the working heights of surfaces and counters, the triangle rule that dictates the placement of the fridge, the sink, and the stovetop, etc - these are never-go-wrong fundamentals that place ergonomics and design in the forefront.

The redundancy arises out of the same-old kitchen appliances and practices that pull the kitchens into the caves of primitivity. 

This very irony is quite similar to that of the quirky Stone Age family, The Flintstones, who are deemed ‘modern’ in their own capacity. You can often catch Fred and Wilma heading to drive-ins and grocery stores, living a modern-day-inspired life, while being cave men and women. While this is far-fetched fiction, the fact remains that not much has changed for us since this eccentric personification.

But we fear not, because, for every Laurel, there is a Hardy. For every spring, an autumn. And for the Flintstones, parallel universes and ages part, an oxymoron from the same production house awaits. It’s even more exciting to witness the brink of what appears to be a transformation of our fossil and primitive ways to an intrinsically modern way of life. The Jetsons’ way of life. 

Related: 5 Simple Ways How a Kitchen Robot can make you a Better Cook

Home became somewhat of a sanctuary for many during the pandemic. After a year of being incredibly aware of germs, expectations will translate into the types of materials conducive for easy maintenance Non-porous surfaces like glass and metal will be seen in every kitchen. "Not to mention easy-to-clean appliances, which will also be a big selling point. Say goodbye to gas stovetops, and hello to electric stovetops that you can easily wipe right off. 

The influx of ‘Smart’ appliances will take the kitchen by storm. Say goodbye to burners. The future of stove cooking, undoubtedly, lies in interactive induction hobs. Induction heating uses magnetic components hidden underneath the cooktop to heat pots and pans. But instead of just heating the bottom of the pot, induction heating heats the entire pot – meaning food is cooked faster and more evenly. Pots and pans can be placed anywhere on the cooking surface, not on one particular heating area.

Related: Debunking the Most Common Induction Heating Myths

Fridges of the future will likely be able to keep track of what’s inside too. While this tech already exists (users have to input their goods into an app one-by-one), fridges of the future will be able to determine what’s inside without any user interaction. This will likely be done through barcode scanners installed inside the fridge, or pressure sensors built into the fridge shelves.

If there’s one future kitchen focus that will have the most impact, it’s the emphasis on wasting less. Discarded water from sinks and dishwashers, for example, won’t be flushed immediately but divided into safe and unsafe water to be used to feed plants. Food waste will be composted, and devices of the future will have more functionality in smaller packages. 

The romanticized concept of indoor-outdoor living has also seeped into kitchen design.  Kitchens can now be envisioned as vast open spaces that allow for fresh air and comfort, as one cooks for their dear and near ones, in what is an almost seamless transition from other rooms and the kitchen.

Earlier, kitchens were designed keeping in mind a demarcation from other rooms, to ensure safer and cleaner cooking. But those days are gone. Given that we have enough systems and mechanisms in our abodes that ensure monitoring and kitchen safety, demarcation is a worry of the past, and at max, a function of personal preference.