STORAGEWORKS - July 31 2022

Modern World's Primitive Way of Cooking in Kitchens

Using Fire!
A chef cooking with fire in the kitchen

Earlier, we looked at History's Kitchens and the evolution of the modern kitchen, but some things never change. Despite our microwaves, instant pots, induction stove, etc., we remain firmly tied to the primeval origin of cooking – fire. How many of us have outdoor grills? Or, if we live in city apartments where that is impossible, how many don't go out looking for a good steak or burger cooked over flames? Meat on sticks? How many don't relish smoked bacon, sausage, or fish? Even the vegetarians among us enjoy grilled food. How many of us don't have sweet memories of childhood campfire meals, even though the food was probably a bit dire?

All these hanging organizers feature strong boards to support the weight of your belongings safely and to keep the shelves from losing shape. They also have useful side pockets to hold your smaller items while giving you easy access to the contents. The elegant, minimalist style means they can be employed openly, and they will blend into your decor with ease. Ideal for storing sweaters, shirts, knitwear, pants, handbags, shoes, hats, socks, ties, etc. Also, they are all collapsible, meaning that they can be easily stored when not in use.

Lamb Skewers with Cumin and Chili, Xi'an, China - Photo by Ken Fletcher

Lamb Skewers with Cumin and Chili, Xi'an, China - Photo by Ken Fletcher

Of course, these are all reusing cooking's oldest technique – burning wood. Even today, many homes around the world have only very minimal kitchens, if they have one at all. This means that billions of people get their food outside the home. This is the origin of street food. People had nowhere else to get cooked food. It wasn't born as a tourist attraction; instead of basic survival. And it's still often the best place to find great food.

Roast Pork, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam - Photo by Ken Fletcher

Roast Pork, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam - Photo by Ken Fletcher

Asia is particularly noted for its street food. Singapore and Thailand spring immediately to mind as among the best, but India, Vietnam, and China also abound in wonderful street food. Breakfast, lunch or dinner. Just as people in the West may pick up a coffee and a pastry on the way to work, people across the world pick up their breakfasts. Beijing's breakfast crepes, known as jianbing, are something not to be missed. India has its famous tiffin boxes delivered to offices for lunch. Japan has its bento. In recent years, street food from around the world has started to appear in western countries in the form of long lines forming at food trucks or pop-up restaurants. The best of these evolve into full brick-and-mortar restaurants.

Indian Street Food, London, England - Photo by Ken Fletcher

Indian Street Food, London, England - Photo by Ken Fletcher

Also, in many countries, few homes have ovens, but rely on buying or sourcing pre-made roasts from supermarkets or markets. Very few Chinese cookbooks, for example, have a recipe for Beijing Duck. Very few Chinese kitchens have ovens, so no one makes it at home. They often eat it, though – not just in Beijing!

Morocco has an ancient, rich culture of communal ovens. People can prepare their own bread dough or casseroles, then take them to the nearest community oven where, for a small fee, they will be popped into the shared oven. In fact, as Morocco modernizes and more people do now have ovens at home, many still go to the communal kitchen instead. They say the food tastes better from the wood-burning ovens. It's also a place to hang out and chat with the neighbors.

It seems no matter how much we modernize, we can't quite let go of our remote past, which is probably a good thing. Now pass me another spicy lamb skewer!

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