Why Filipinos have two kitchens

The kitchen is the central part of some homes where family congregates. In a traditional home in the western world, the wife usually does the cooking with few exceptions. She spends much time in the kitchen so the kitchen flows into the breakfast nook or the more casual dining room/family room combo. Filipinos on the other hand, especially the middle class and the rich, have a cook in residence and the kitchen in the main part of the house is seldom used. Filipino kitchens are not well ventilated and cheerfully curtained. Most of them do not have all the amenities that modern kitchens in the United States have so most cooking is done in the back of the house where the ‘dirty kitchen’ is located.

Many Filipino houses, especially those owned by the wealthy have two kitchens; one for show which is located in the main house and a small no-nonsense kitchen area with cylinder gas-fuelled burner or fire wood stove used for day to day cooking. The so-called ‘dirty kitchen’ is located in an unobtrusive back part of the house used by the hired cook in residence who does most of the cooking. It could also be outdoor to ward off the stinking smell of greasy and fishy odor from permeating the house. For those who can afford modern appliances, the lady of the house sometime ventures to do some special cooking using her modern gadgets. The cylinder gas-fuelled burner or firewood stove is useful during periodic ‘brownouts’ when the electric oven and range become useless. As a practical alternative during frequent ‘brownouts’, the ‘dirty kitchen’ relies on less sophisticated appliances because a hired cook does not really require time and labor-saving gadgets but most likely did not know how to operate the new gadgets and will result in damaging the modern appliances.

Copyright © 2014. By Rosalinda Morgan, Author. All rights reserved. *Why Filipinos have two kitchen*


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