It’s a cliché to say that a kitchen is the heart of the home, but the global pandemic caused by COVID 19 has surely proven that to be truer now that at any other point in our lives to date. I don’t know about you, but pre-lockdown, our kitchen table cut a desolate shape – looking pristine and elegant thanks to its infrequent use. Breakfast bowls touched down on it for a few minutes each morning – rarely at the same time – as each member of my family grabbed some cereal or a cup of coffee before rushing out the door, to catch a train, fill up the car before work, or try to beat the traffic and avoid the queues.
For many of us, those days are gone, with experts and analysts suggesting that they might now be gone for good. And with their departure, the mighty kitchen steps into the limelight and claims its rightful place in centre stage, not just of our homes, but of our lives. Here are the five new things your kitchen has become thanks to the pandemic.
Anyone with school aged children will know that the kitchen table is now the school desk, and the island is the science lab. Friends of ours, who have three boys under ten, would add that their kitchen sink has become the school’s first aid room.
In our house, the most notable change is that in working hours, the kitchen is now the central hub for two businesses. Each of us working away at our respective roles – signing deals with clients in Shanghai, interviewing new joiners from New York, and running team meetings with colleagues in Paris, all from the heart of the Suffolk countryside.
3. Therapist’s practice
There’s no denying that the last 18 months have been tough. We haven’t been able to hug relatives or to see friends, and many people have lost loved ones. That’s why having somewhere to pour your heart out, or frankly, even just have a bit of a whinge, has been so important. Kettle on, feet up – the kitchen is the new therapy room.
Were you one of the sourdough mother nurturers? Or one of the millions of people who helped bread maker sales soar by 400% in the first three months of lockdown? If so, we hope you have discovered the delay timer, and have entered the celestial realms of coming down to a kitchen smelling like paradise on a cold winter’s morning.
Lots of us still find the idea of hitting the town and heading back to our favourite restaurant a little daunting – or at least that’s what we’re telling people. In reality, not having to forego a glass of wine as we won’t have to drive home and eating whatever we really fancy at a fraction of the cost, has turned each of our kitchens into the perfect restaurant.
However you use yours, the pandemic has shown us how central the humble kitchen is to each of our lives. And yes, ‘the kitchen is the heart of the home’ is a sickly sweet cliché, but sometimes it’s sickly sweet clichés that say it best of all.