Spice Kitchen

Caliente63March 18, 2013

Watching an episode of "Love It or List It", I was bemused to learn of a thing called a "spice kitchen". This is apparently a secondary kitchen adjacent to the big open concept kitchen which seems to be mandatory these days. The idea is you cook stuff that creates odors in the "spice kitchen" to avoid stinking up the house. Of course, the spice kitchen tends to be cramped, because who can afford two full-sized kitchens.

Is it just me, or has this gotten ridiculous? If someone finds that an open concept kitchen doesn't work for them because of odors, wouldn't it be more rational simply to enclose the kitchen instead of building a second kitchen so they can have one for show and one for cooking?

Oh well, I guess we can file this under "first world problems".

This post was edited by Caliente63 on Mon, Mar 18, 13 at 17:16

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wi-sailorgirl

I believe spice kitchens are quite popular in certain country and amongst certain ethnicities where extremely spicy and smelly food is often cooked. Obviously it's not something that most Americans would need, but it's not a new thing either.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 3:39PM
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Mistman

Spice kitchens aren't that unusual, to us Americans they tend to be but in other parts of the world they're 'normal'. Asian and Indian cultures both have uses for them.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 4:08PM
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tinan

I hope that good ventilation and a good hood would address this. I love to cook spicy food and I love curry but hate smelling it throughout the house. That's why i replaced our crappy base level Broan hood with a higher power Kobe hood, and set out a bowl of white vinegar when cooking spicy food. Then we open all the windows, and no odors linger.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 4:13PM
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wi-sailorgirl

Tinan ... does the vinegar really help?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 4:47PM
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a2gemini

I think we have a few Wok kitchens in our neighborhood - same idea with a mega fan to whoosh the smells out of the house.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 8:05PM
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shanghaimom

In Asia and India this is a common (and needed!) feature. Highrise apartments are usually tiny, and the cooking grease and odors would overwhelm without a dedicated frying room. The ones I have seen were part of the balcony area, sort of half-enclosed, with high-powered fans. They weren't just fancy extra spaces for rich people.

For an immigrant family, this might be a highly desirable kitchen feature that allows them to cook the way they're used to.

Maybe those Love it or List it clients were of Asian or Indian heritage. If I cooked that way very often, and could afford it, I'd love to have a space like that for fishy/greasy/spicy/smelly stuff.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 8:44PM
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marcolo

Yeah, well, Asian spice kitchens are usually not located off a 2500 sf marble and Shaker kitchen with a Wolf and a Subzero off a two- story great room.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 8:53PM
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madeyna

Thats what I use the huge bbq with the side burners for. Its on our covered deck and gets used off and on all year.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 9:15PM
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Tamko3

I live in Richmond, British Columbia just a suburb from Vancouver. All new builds have a spice or wok kitchen for resale value. It's a cultural cooking space just off the main kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 10:31PM
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stacieann63

I saw that episode too and it reminded me of my grandparent's kitchens in their basements. They were Italian and we had a produce farm with lots of tomatoes! A lot of canning and making sauce in the basement. Same concept I guess. I only remember my great grandma serving tea and cookies in her upstair kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 11:23PM
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eleena

But not just a spice kitchen.

Due to the main kitchen becoming a place for family gathering and entertaining, having a butler's pantry or a "back-kitchen", whatever you want to call it, is becoming a necessity. Not very many people can clean as they cook.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 12:14AM
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steph2000

It's funny what Americans decide are a necessity. And how we keep getting sucked into more, more, more...

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 2:23AM
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deeageaux

I see many Asian families here in SoCal have an outdoor kitchen as the "spice kitchen." Usually a wok burner plus old appliances/cabinets from remodeling the indoor kitchen under some kind of porch.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 4:57AM
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robo (z6a)

Tamko3 wrote:
I live in Richmond, British Columbia just a suburb from Vancouver. All new builds have a spice or wok kitchen for resale value. It's a cultural cooking space just off the main kitchen.

This makes sense because I think Love It or List It is in Vancouver now which is 40% East or South Asian.

The advantage of having a sister in Toronto is she knows a few people who have been on home shows. Someone she works with was on Love It or List It. I like hearing about all the fakery behind the scenes. What is with us Canadians and home tv?

This post was edited by robotropolis on Tue, Mar 19, 13 at 10:21

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 6:47AM
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tinan

wi-sailorgirl, yes - if you place a bowl of white vinegar near the stove when cooking the spicy food and leave it out for an hour afterwards, it helps reduce the odors.

Apparently it works even better if you simmer it in a bowl on the stove - I guess it volatilizes faster that way.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 1:43PM
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a2gemini

Thanks! I will have to try this

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 7:40PM
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kheitman14

I am watching the HGTV show about the family with the spice kitchen. I think it's a great idea! I don't understand why people commenting on this thread are having a hard time with it. Most people have two living areas and two dining areas, yet I don't see anyone complaining about that. If you like to cook, no matter what your heritage, I think you would love having a secondary small kitchen. Now that kitchens have become so open, it would be nice to have an area to cook smelly foods.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 10:47PM
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live_wire_oak

I'm doing a whole home right now with a secondary kitchen termed a "grease" kitchen. It's 14x16. The formal kitchen is 18x24. The customer's ethnicity comes into play for this, plus it's a multi-generational home. They also entertain large crowds a lot with help brought in for those occasions. But, on a 11,000 square foot build, it's not as disproportionate compared to some 18x24 kitchens and 8x10 butler's pantries being done in homes with less than half of the square footage of this one.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 11:02PM
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taggie

I would think the opposite. That is, that if you like to cook you would hate doing it in a secondary tiny enclosed and smelly room.

I could see it if there was inadequate ventilation in the nice big kitchen with all the amenities and accoutrements at hand. But given the choice, I think most people would choose not to cook in a tiny enclosed secondary space.

Now, if we could afford *servants* then yeah bring on the spice kitchen. :-) But for me personally, not so much.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 11:07PM
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SaraKat

This was not an American more is more thing, it is an Asian request. In New York the Chinese buying up expensive real estate want wok kitchens. Big in CA too in new builds. Coming to a neighborhood near you.......

There was a thread on this not too long ago that was very interesting on GW.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 8:15AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

2 kitchens in a house are not new and not isolated to asians...friend's old colonial had a kitchen in the main house and then a series of rooms which connected it directly to the barn including a summer kitchen and a wood shed. Without a/c and a need to keep fires burning to cook, a summer kitchen was a very good thing to have in colonial times....they also used it for smelly things like cheese making and rendering lard.

Our old house was built by an italian family and it had a stove and fridge in the basement off the "party room" which was used like a secondary kitchen.

Folks up the street built their home and they are portugese with the "dress" kitchen upstairs and the "working" kitchen downstairs.

Some jewish homes maintain a separate kosher kitchen.

As I recall, Thomas Edison's home in Ft. Myers had the kitchen in a separate building as he couldn't stand the smell of food cooking....go figure.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 9:37AM
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sjerin

This is why we chose to keep our kitchen enclosed and buy a strong hood fan--no room for a spice kitchen but I definitely couldn't see opening up the rest of the house to strong cooking odors!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 8:02PM
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mrsmortarmixer

I have a closed off kitchen now and we're working on the second kitchen/pantry/processing room. It's not that I mind making a mess in the main kitchen, it certainly gets abused, but there are some things that I'd really rather not do in my main kitchen. It also allows me to keep larger processing equipment plus many of my canning supplies in one area that doesn't crowd on daily use kitchen storage. I could survive without it, but considering the amount of time I spend canning and how much meat processing we do, it just made sense to use a now unused room for convenience.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 6:44PM
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