A kitchen is a room or part of a room used for cooking and food preparation in a dwelling or in a commercial establishment. A modern middle-class residential kitchen is typically equipped with a stove, a sink with hot and cold running water, a refrigerator, and worktops and kitchen cabinets arranged according to a modular design. Many households have a microwave oven, a dishwasher, and other electric appliances. The main functions of a kitchen are to store, prepare and cook food (and to complete related tasks such as dishwashing).
Commercial kitchens are found in restaurants, cafeterias, hotels, hospitals, educational and workplace facilities, army barracks, and similar establishments. These kitchens are generally larger and equipped with bigger and more heavy-duty equipment than a residential kitchen. For example, a large restaurant may have a huge walk-in refrigerator and a large commercial dishwasher machine. In some instances commercial kitchen equipment such as commercial sinks are used in household settings as it offers ease of use for food preparation and high durability.
Early medieval European longhouses had an open fire under the highest point of the building. The “kitchen area” was between the entrance and the fireplace. In wealthy homes there was typically more than one kitchen. In some homes there were upwards of three kitchens. The kitchens were divided based on the types of food prepared in them. In place of a chimney, these early buildings had a hole in the roof through which some of the smoke could escape. Besides cooking, the fire also served as a source of heat and light to the single-room building.
Before and after the beginning of the 20th century, kitchens were frequently not equipped with built-in cabinetry, and the lack of storage space in the kitchen became a real problem. The Hoosier Manufacturing Co. of Indiana adapted an existing furniture piece, the baker’s cabinet, which had a similar structure of a table top with some cabinets above it (and frequently flour bins beneath) to solve the storage problem.