First, the efficient kitchen requires a separate working surface for each kind of work to be done. In the preparation of meals this means a separate serving table as well as the usual work table or cabinet for mixing and preparing raw foods. And in the clearing away of meals, it means separate surfaces for stacking soiled dishes and for draining. There is no place in the efficient kitchen for the general utility table, where mixing bowls and salad plates, soiled dishes and clean are jumbled together in hopeless confusion.
Second, the efficient kitchen requires the arrangement of large equipment in a step-saving sequence. The briefest analysis of the work of the kitchen reveals a repeated order of work: We collect raw food, prepare it, cook it, and serve it; we remove soiled dishes, scrape and stack them, wash, drain, and put away. This obviously gives us the key to the placing of equipment on the floor plan: For the preparing process, first the refrigerator and food cupboard, then the cabinet, then the stove, and last the serving table; and for the clearing away process, first the stack table, then the sink, then the drain board, and last the shelves for china.
In the preparing sequence, we can work either toward the right or the left, but we must end at the dining-room door. In clearing away, however, we must always work toward the left - provided we are right-handed. For each dish or utensil as it is washed is held in the left hand, and if the drain board is on the right of the sink, we must cross the left hand over the right with every piece that we put down. The only place for a sink with a right-hand drain board is in the home of a left-handed worker or in a museum devoted to displaying the tangible evidences of human folly.
Third, the efficient kitchen requires a compact working area. This means the arrangement of large equipment along the walls in a nearly continuous working surface on either side of the dining room door, leaving just enough room in the center for the worker to move easily about. It means windows placed above the work surfaces, and doors, closets and equipment not used in preparing and clearing away meals grouped at the other end of the kitchen. It usually also means an oblong kitchen, with only a few feet across from the cabinet to the sink, and a total floor space for the food work of not far from one hundred square feet.
Fourth, the efficient kitchen requires the placing of equipment at convenient heights from the floor, so as to minimize as far as possible the necessity of stooping and stretching. This is, perhaps, our most difficult problem, and one which calls for further study. For there is no agreement as yet as to the most convenient height for even the average worker, and the height which is convenient for the short worker is, of course, too low for the tall one. Since we cannot standardize the height of housewives, we must find some way of making the height of our working surfaces adjustable. Meanwhile, with the average worker in mind, we can place the sink and the worktables several inches higher than they usually are now placed. Fifth, the efficient kitchen requires the grouping of small equipment around the working center where it is usually used first. This means the abolition of the general utility cupboard or closet and the building of shelves and other storage space in almost continuous series above and below the various working surfaces.
Fig. 60. - A generous number of well-arranged built-in cupboards and drawers, a sink with drain boards, plenty of table space for work, and top space are some of the requirements for a good kitchen.