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Old 06-26-2017, 11:12 AM
978 posts, read 1,115,239 times
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Ha, the unintended problems with open concept houses is that you get to smell cooking all throughout the house.
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Old 06-27-2017, 02:35 PM
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I guess you could say we had a "poor man's version" of the basement kitchen There was a small gas stove in the basement, along with large laundry tubs. I never pondered much as to why, it was just there. Later my parents added a fridge downstairs, so guess we were all set! The house did originally belong to an Italian family, so perhaps that fit in the culture/tradition of massive cooking in the basement.

We found the extra stove to be helpful, especially for holiday meals, etc. Growing up on the East side of Detroit, I became familiar with many different ethnic groups. I was always impressed at how immaculate Italian homes were. Their kitchens looked pristine, while they produced elaborate meals. Guess that's how they did it---they had a separate kitchen for all the "dirty work". I would hate to clean up after one of their banquets!
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Old 06-30-2017, 04:19 PM
Location: Detroit area
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I haven't seen it with many newer homes, but both sets of my grandparents had basement kitchens. They used them for canning, as well as extra cooking space for large family gatherings.

Makes more sense to me in older homes since the lack of central air would make a basement kitchen far more pleasant in the summer.
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Old 07-06-2017, 10:13 AM
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My better half grew up in Wyandotte, Michigan.

Many of the old polish neighborhoods in Wyandotte have small apartments with kitchens in the basements.

I was told that kitchens were in the basements for many reasons. Some have already mentioned such as the basement being cooler for cooking and canning and entertaining, especially before air conditioning.

During the 30's and 40's it wasn't unusual to have multi generational living in one house, during hard times or when extended family came to America.

Tradesmen living on the block would barter services such as plumbing, electrical and carpentry etc, with each other to make the basements livable if need be. It was usually done as side work without the city permits so it was a lot cheaper.

In 50's thru the 70's newly married couples often lived with family while they saved up for a house of their own. Then, when everyone moved out, the apts could be rented for a small fee.

After a while the city started to get rid of the mom and pop neighborhood businesses such as the local corner store, deli, bar that used to be the lower level of houses (big business didn't like the neighborhoods loyalty to their local block) so they made in harder with new ordinances and zoning etc, basement apts were also targeted and since most couldn't fight city hall, they went empty.

Back on topic; maybe the newer houses have kitchens in the basement because "that's the way we've always done it"?
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