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The Food Axis: Cooking, Eating, and the Architecture of American Houses Hardcover – January 5, 2011
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"Cromley’s is a well-balanced investigation, that will appeal to students and scholars of history, vernacular architecture, foodways and material culture.It is to her credit that I find myself wanting to know more."(Abigail Carroll Winterthur Portfolio)
About the Author
Elizabeth Collins Cromley is Professor of Architectural History at Northeastern University. She is the author of Alone Together: A History of New York’s Early Apartments and coauthor, with Thomas Carter, of Invitation to Vernacular Architecture: A Guide to the Study of Ordinary Buildings and Landscapes.
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The outdoor or basement cooking space of homes from 1800s and early 1900s, evolve into today's open kitchen and dining area. The shift is gradual and complex but persistent and consistent. The 1950s modernistic and futuristic kitchens define streamlined, efficient food preparation and women freed from domestic toil. Later, cooking and eating areas are indoor, outdoor, multipurpose social settings.
I learned a lot about domestic architecture and American culture in reading The Food Axis, and had to laugh recently, when a friend showed off the first addition to their log cabin high in the Applegate: a dining room. All that room suggested crowded into my mind! Later that afternoon, her husband described the outdoor kitchen he planned, off to the side of the deck where it would be central to the gathering, cooled by mountain breezes and brilliant in the sun of Southern Oregon.
The Food Axis was part of a display at the National Building Museum bookshop in Washington DC., on the occasion of their summer 2012 exhibit, "House and Home". It's a splendid museum and the central hall is worth the visit even if you don't take time for the excellent exhibits.