Kitchens Reborn

Pre-Pandemic kitchens were the heart of the family space, but in many cases, there wasn’t a lot of cooking happening on a daily basis. Overbooked families found themselves using their kitchens to reheat and plate food that was picked up or delivered in between the race from activity to activity, but often the state-of-the-art appliances were rarely used.

Kitchen Survival

As the pandemic unfolded, many families rediscovered the kitchen and began to explore their appliances and began to understand and reimagine the layout of the space. For many, the kitchen also transitioned to become workspaces and school classrooms. It was a Wi-Fi-enhanced hub of activity of Zoom and Teams meetings and gathering space for snackers.

When the pandemic dragged on, homeowners began enhancing appliances and purchasing the equipment that they needed to begin to make meals at home. In fact, in the latter part of 2021 cookware sales increased by 36% and food and beverage purchases soared by 221%.  And, as homeowners learned how to cook, they also began to redesign their spaces. Building material purchases rose by 86%.

Cooking Therapy

Americans were learning to cook! Recipes were some of the most searched online interests as further evidence that people of all ages were eating out less and using kitchens more.

With restaurants reopening and more people moving outside the home, there are still questions about whether the kitchen behaviors that came with the pandemic will revert to our pre-pandemic eating out habits.

So far, it appears that Americans have enjoyed the culinary arts and are continuing to eat at home.

Here are some of the imaginative kitchens recently designed by three Honest Abe homeowners.

Danny & Tia Suiter

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

The centerpiece of the Suiters’ kitchen is a roller-mounted island, fashioned of wooden planks from native trees.

Tia installed a small marble drink serving surface over the wine refrigerator, which is encased in a custom wooden cabinet where wine glasses are suspended from an old wooden rake in a recessed side.

Modern appliances including a double-door refrigerator, both a gas and an electric stove and deep, double sinks provide contrast with the rustic wooden handcrafted cabinetry and exposed beams.

Seventy percent of consumers said that they consumed more food while at home during the pandemic. When examined in terms of healthy consumption, 43% of consumers emphasized that they consume more fruits, 42% more vegetables, and 30% more protein-containing foods (meat, chicken, or fish). In addition, 39% of consumers stated that they made their breakfast more balanced. When examined in terms of unhealthy consumption, 47% of consumers said that they consumed more sweets, 24% consumed less vegetables, 21% consumed less fruit and 19% consumed less protein

Alex & Connie Diamond

Lebanon, Tennessee

The kitchen is the center of activity for the Diamonds, so Connie wanted to use space wisely. Instead of cabinet-covered walls, a pantry stores food and small appliances, and a window overlooks the fenced back yard.

Cabinets of soft maple glazed in dull white encompass the refrigerator, microwave, oven and an organizational cubby. On either side of the hammered copper farmhouse sink are mounted shelves holding often-used dishes just above the aged brick backsplash.

Installed in the “L” of the L-shaped island is a gas range. The Diamonds often eat on the white quartz countertop, which is wide enough for food prep and serving. Star-shaped pendants light the island, which is painted Silver Mist with walnut stained endcaps that mimic barn doors.

What were Americans learning to cook?

The Pandemic’s Most Googled Recipes

  1. Banana bread
  2. Pancakes
  3. Chicken
  4. Pizza dough
  5. Brownie
  6. “Recette crepe” (which means “crepe recipe” in French)
  7. Meatloaf
  8. French toast
  9. Lasagna
  10. Cheesecake

Sam & Tammy Taylor

Manchester, Tennessee

The Taylors’ commercial kitchen (one of two in the home) was designed by Sam for Tammy to use for her jelly and jam business. Appliances and fixtures are stainless steel, while work surfaces are marble. 

Every shelf in the huge pantry is so organized that a screen door, not a solid door, was used.

Sam built a small passthrough door from the garage into so that Tammy would not have to walk up steps with groceries.

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