Kitchens are where we cook, clean, cry, talk, laugh, break things. Hugely symbolic - as well as practical - kitchens evoke thoughts of hearth and home, family and domesticity. No wonder that people today commonly spend more money refurbishing their kitchens than any other room in the house. To get at the heart of the meaning, design and purpose of the modern kitchen, Freeman interviewed dozens of homeowners. She follows them through the process of shopping and purchasing a new kitchen, and she discusses the importance of layout, color, shape, and texture. She explores the dominant role that women play in shaping the appearance of a new kitchen as well as considers the evolution of the modern kitchen in the context of the consumer age. The first history of the kitchen, this innovative book will appeal to anyone interested in design, sociology, gender studies, and cultural history.