Why Are We Going Back to Cooking Outdoors?

The kitchen is the heart of the home. While living rooms, bedrooms, and bathrooms are important, it is in the kitchen that the family gets together, and where most people congregated during parties. Interior designers the world over are making millions designing kitchens, and manufacturers love the attention that people pay to appliances and finishes. At the same time, it seems that many of us now decide to move outside for our cooking. This move to the great outdoor is both nostalgic and progressive in nature. It is nostalgic since our human ancestors always cooked outside until plumbing, gas, and electricity lines became commonplace. At the same time, it is progressive because we now seem to understand that our ancestors had a few things right as well.


The first time moving outdoors became fashionable again was with the construction of The Homewood in Surrey, UK by Patrick Gwynne, back in 1938. He wanted to empower people back to clean cooking, away from frozen and processed foods. For Gwynne, it was all about flavor, freshness, and flames.

Then came the glorious era of the 1960s and 1970s, when people suddenly started to live in communes, returning to a more natural way of living. Consider, for example, south-central France’s The Ark, who created masonry over to bake 120 loaves of bread each week. Susanne Fischer-Rizzi followed this up in 2012, who believed cooking on an open fire is possible all year long, regardless of the climate.

The fact that cooking outside is enjoyable and lovely is undeniable. However, if it becomes a daily thing, then it quickly turns into a chore. Cooking outside takes a lot of preparation and work, with everything being fresh. While it is certainly true that there are no nasty cooking smells or fat splashes inside the home, these benefits don’t always outweigh the disadvantages. After all, it just isn’t comfortable if there is rain or snow outside. Naturally, in areas of the world where the climate is always pleasant, cooking outdoors is much more commonplace.

Essentials to an Outdoor Kitchen

If you want to be able to cook outdoors, be that for the occasional grilled summer fruit kebabs or because you genuinely want to eat clean, flavorsome, fresh, fired food every single day, what are some of the key things you will need?

  • A bread oven is a necessity. Here, you can bake sourdough, bread loaves, pizzas, and more. When you choose a bread oven, you must make sure that it is geometrically sound, which means it is domed on the top and that it can retain enough heat to properly rise doughs and scorch crusts. A nice extra to bread ovens is that they give off a lot of heat. This means you could sit around it as a family in the heart of winter, coming up with your own pizzas.
  • The smoker is also crucial. Take, for instance, the little chief smoker |, which shows that cooking high-quality food outside is possible. Smokers are experimental in nature. You can use them for all types of meats, trying different sauces, rubs, and marinades as you go along. These can also be used during the winter because you fill them with your chosen meat and just let them smoke for hours, until you are ready to eat.
  • An excellent area to enjoy the food. Eating outside is almost as nice as cooking there, after all. Do also consider a solar panel to power things like coolers or other small appliances. These things are designed to make the entire experience more enjoyable and comfortable. When you cook outside and get everybody around it, it becomes an event for all to take part in.
  • You can also consider a fire pit. This will help to keep you warm during colder nights, while also creating a beautiful atmosphere when it gets dark, regardless of the season. You can also place a grill over the fire pit so that it serves as a barbecue at the same time.

Look at a recent feature in the House Beautiful magazine, Seven Incredible Outdoor Kitchens, to be further inspired about cooking outside.


The Future of Cooking

Realistically, it is unlikely that kitchens and dining rooms will completely disappear. Fashions come, and fashions go. What will probably happen, however, is that there will be a greater integration between indoor and outdoor cooking. An outdoor kitchen is very informal, which is just one of the reasons why it is not always appropriate. At the same time, the kitchen will always be the real heart of the home. And, as previously said, if that type of cooking is the only option that is left, people will quickly grow bored of it. But when you have both, then you have found the perfect balance.

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