Some say the quality of your kitchen appliances is irrelevant to the quality of your cooking. But, as the ever-growing availability of cooking gadgets illustrates, we apparently like to believe our cooking skills improve by investing in energy-intensive blenders, juicers, steamers and cookers. For the gadget-savvy, Whirlpool has developed a Green Kitchen, which of course, is metaphorically green. The kitchen combines existing technologies to create an intricate web of energy exchanges between the dishwasher, refrigerator, stove and oven, aimed at saving electricity, resources and time.
This kitchen is the embodiment of Industrial Ecology’s (IE) line of thought. IE advocates the study of material and energy flows that result from human activities, and aims to develop solutions to close these material and energy cycles so as to limit their ecological impact to a minimum. Still, this kitchen mostly focuses on energy-efficiency. Efficiency measures can only improve unsustainable practices to a certain extent, since the design of the kitchen does not demand radically different behaviour from its users. Unfortunately, efficiency has its limits.
Therefore, I prefer another kitchen, this Outdoor Kitchen by Nina Tolstrup, and I’ll tell you why. The Outdoor Kitchen radically changes the way users approach their cooking. Cooking outside, in a do-it-yourself manner naturally turns the cooking into a communal experience, assuming you’ll need some extra manpower to carry foodies, and other kitchen utensils outdoors. The flexibility of the kitchen user interface – it can be easily moved in and outside the home, great for the unpredictable Dutch weather – also lowers the threshold to really engage in some classic grilling, smoking and roasting.
Returning to the Green Kitchen, I believe it will not promote cooking creativity. The contrary, by the looks of it, it looks more like a mysterious black box than a microwave. And that’s not the way to go, I’d say.