In the days before mechanical and electronic labour-saving devices were available, the kitchens of rich and poor were probably similarly equipped, differing only in the size of room, the quantity of spoons, bowls and pots and, more significantly, the distribution of labour! The farm labourer's wife with a brood of 8 children to feed and clothe would have spent all of her waking hours in the kitchen, while the farmer's wife would have had a couple of girls to help her and the squire's wife probably had a housekeeper, cook and a host of servants.
How different today's kitchens: light, airy and clean and crammed with utensils, gadgets and machines. My cottage is about 350 years old and I've been looking around the kitchen to see what would have to go if I were to try to live like the original inhabitant. Goodbye Aga and gas hob; farewell washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher; out with the steam iron, food processor, Kenwood Chef, microwave oven, centrifugal juicer, citrus juicer, electric toaster; then we have the cupboards and drawers filled with smaller gadgets: whisks, apple corers, peelers, presses and all manner of handy little tools that would have mystified my grandmother.
Well, who doesn't need a set of labels for their cheese board?
I can remember the day that my mother got her first washing machine and later on a vacuum cleaner and what a difference they made to her life. I would hate to be without those items and I have serious withdrawal symptoms when I'm away from the Aga: