By Susan Serra, CKD
They're everything, and then some. They're the workhorse of the home, and an environment which is aesthetically pleasing. Besides cooking, kitchens are also the center for communication, for social and family activities, and yes, for dining.
But, it is my point of view that the real reason kitchens are the source for so much activity in the home is one reason, made up of five elements. The kitchen is the only room in the home which brings together all five senses. Being in the kitchen, working in the kitchen, or doing any activity in this special environment, is an organic sort of experience, one that is satisfying, touches our souls and just feels right (in the best of circumstances).
Here is what happens in the kitchen when our senses begin to stir...
The Kitchen And Your Five Senses
Sense of touch - Constant contact with all sorts of materials, whether they are highly textured, smooth as butter, or everything in between. The tactile parts of a kitchen always brings forth an emotional reaction, even if it is so subtle it is barely felt, but, in fact, it is, as we go about our tasks manipulating so many different sorts of materials. The "soft" feel of a wood countertop contrasted by the smooth, efficient, and cold, feel of a stone countertop, perhaps, both surfaces in the same kitchen, offering interesting tactile experiences. I believe materials are chosen partially for how they feel to one's hand, the hand, carrying messages to the brain continually.
Sense of smell - Whether a gloriously, satisfying fragrance coming from a meal made with love, or, pleasant, individual odors from food sources, be it spices, citrus, chocolate, subtle and savory ingredients, as examples, again, the sense of smell brings forth food memories, stirs excitement for what is to come, and is an important part of the entirety of the experience in the kitchen. It is a huge benefit to being in this space.
Sense of taste - Of course, this is the best part, isn't it? The culmination, the reward, for all the work, which has come before. The family meal, the solitude of a morning cup of coffee, the sneaking of bits of ingredients while preparing a meal, taste is experienced in countless ways within the kitchen, and under countless emotional conditions. We all know the power that food can have over us. It is the strongest of connections, the sense of taste, which ties us to the kitchen.
Sense of sight - Here is the fun part! The kitchen must be an expression of yourself(ves). Your sense of style, of comfort, of color, of excitement. The aesthetic part of the kitchen, when done well, will reflect who you are, or, who you want to be. Connecting your dacor to your surrounding rooms in a meaningful way allows for the kitchen to flow aesthetically within the home. The sense of sight also adds an emotional "lift" to one's sense of well being, a wonderful part of the whole package of sensory experiences, and a great reward.
Sense of hearing - The chop/chop, drip/drip, boiling, timers, tv chatter, street sounds, whirring sounds and more contribute to stimulation of many sorts, from annoying to interesting to satisfying to comforting. Sounds send us these messages. Other sounds in the kitchen of a pleasing type are heard by the addition of speakers for music, while one works in the kitchen, open windows to hear birds singing, and let's not forget family voices and pet sounds. Sounds tell the story of the kitchen at work!
The senses, coming together all in one room, each with its own agenda, serve to surround the occupants in the kitchen with messages of love, comfort, joy, excitement, and so many other positive emotions. Imagine a multitude of sensations working together, one building on the next, touching each soul in a different way. This can only happen in the kitchen, where all the senses come to be experienced, and satisfied.
The kitchen. It's where life happens!