Are we headed toward a kitchen-less future?

The only thing that is more frightening to me than the thought of a future without cookbooks is a future in which no one has a kitchen. That is the stuff of nightmares, but some experts think that’s the direction modern society is headed. WIth advances in meal delivery services and computerized appliances, kitchens might one day become an item that only hobbyists really care about.

white kitchen

One such prediction comes from Eddie Yoon of the Harvard Business Review, who noted that cooking is quickly becoming “a niche activity that a few people do only some of the time.” Yoon writes:

I’ve come to think of cooking as being similar to sewing. As recently as the early 20th century, many people sewed their own clothing. Today the vast majority of Americans buy clothing made by someone else; the tiny minority who still buy fabric and raw materials do it mainly as a hobby.

While there will always be people who embrace cooking as a passion, others view it as just a necessary task or even a dreaded chore. The rise in people living alone works toward this future as well. It can be onerous to cook for just yourself, the thinking goes, which can lead to less-than-stellar meals. Eating out, or using a meal delivery service, appears more attractive to many singles. As one young woman said, “it’s healthier than making a meal from leftover bagels and Doritos.”

As with sewing, pundits predict that eating out or using a meal delivery service might become more economical than cooking. Online meal delivery services like Blue Apron may be the “Model T” of the cooking-away-from-home paradigm. Why not just have already prepared meals, made from fresh and perhaps even local ingredients, dropped off at dinner time (who knows, maybe even by a drone)? 

Even though these ideas may seem far-fetched, people probably scoffed at the thought of purchasing all of one’s clothing instead of sewing it at home. I do not relish the concept of not having a kitchen because I view it as a sanctuary, but it might become the norm at some point. In the meantime, I will enjoy my sunny kitchen and my ever-growing cookbook library.  

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  • lkgrover  on  March 21, 2019

    In my home, never! However, I have had female roommates from Indonesia, Taiwan, and China (in Shenzhen). None of them knew how to cook until they came to the U.S. for graduate school. They said they ate "street food" or take-out most of the time.

  • Nkrieda78  on  March 22, 2019

    From a practical standpoint I feel like this is dangerous. What if some type of emergency or natural disaster occurred that interrupted these services? People wouldn’t eat. I also feel like it’s a further departure from not being self sufficient as a society. I don’t like it.

  • hillsboroks  on  March 22, 2019

    I absolutely agree with Nkrieda78 but also want to add that by cooking your own meals you have much greater control over the ingredients. Does anyone else remember the science fiction food of the future "Soylent Green?"

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