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Food + Cooking

The Kitchen Issue

Published in Gourmet Live 04.18.12
Thoughts on kitchens past, present, and future from a historian, a farmer, designers, architects, expats, and others—plus, an enticing new frittata recipe that throws in everything but the kitchen sink

This issue of Gourmet Live is dedicated to every cook’s favorite room: the kitchen. Or at least it should be our favorite room—like most people who spend a lot of time preparing meals, we sometimes find ourselves fantasizing about the special appliance or remodeling marvel that could revolutionize kitchen work as we know it.

With that dream kitchen in mind, we kick off our examination of the cook space with a look at some futuristic features coming soon to a kitchen near you. David H. Freedman, who writes the Impatient Futurist column for Discover magazine, introduces us to the innovators—and robots!—who are transforming the way we cook, making it faster, smarter, and easier.

We’re also visited by the ghosts of kitchens past. Our medium is food historian Andrew Smith, who traces the kitchen from its prehistoric roots around the fire to today’s “trophy kitchens,” which are more about showing status than making dinner.

For an antidote to the trophy kitchen with all its flashy-but-impractical touches, such as the kind of butcher-block countertops that “are not meant to have anything chopped on them, let alone butchered,” we turned to farmer and author Kristin Kimball. Her vision of a cutting-edge farm-to-table kitchen includes plenty of practical design inspirations, plus space for cleaning and prepping fresh (i.e., dirty) vegetables and, yes, whole animals.

And as Kimball’s farm kitchen shows, what makes a cooking tool essential is informed by how we cook—and where. Gourmet Live’s Megan O. Steintrager takes us on a world tour of kitchen essentials, with stops in Korea, Germany, Kenya, Cuba, and 11 more countries. See which gadgets, from a simple spoon to a single-use refrigerator, claim permanent counter space in international kitchens.

No Kitchen Issue would be complete without a recipe: Our new Bacon and Potato Frittata recipe was developed by Gourmet magazine’s own Gina Marie Miraglia Eriquez, who suggests you use it as a general template to finish up whatever bits and pieces of produce and cheese you have on hand. The result is a dish that will never taste exactly the same twice—a bonus for loathers of leftovers.

What’s the kitchen gadget you can’t do without? Share your perspective via Twitter or Facebook, drop us a line (gourmetlive@condenast.com), or post a comment on our blog. For more tasty bites, sign up for our weekly newsletter to get convenient access to our most-read blog posts, editors’ favorite recipes, and exclusive reader offers.

Happy cooking!

The editors of Gourmet Live

Gourmet Live