Feb 18, 2022 • 27M

What's in a Kitchen?

What we say about our kitchens, and what they say about us

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Mason Tang
Humans talking about (mostly) human things, in search of those delightful conversational moments that will spark your curiosity and brighten your day.
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A kitchen at an Airbnb in Copenhagen
The kitchen at an Airbnb in Copenhagen

Like many of you, I’ve been spending a lot more time cooking at home during the pandemic. Our kitchen is one of the most important spaces in our house—it’s where we feed ourselves and each other, and it’s also a profoundly personal instantiation of our values, personalities, and upbringings. For me, the kitchen is a place where habits and tradition (“this is how we always did it as kids”) mingle with aspiration and experimentation (“I wonder if I can make my own ice cream…”). Where necessity—we all have to eat, somehow—mingles with indulgence and luxury. Visit someone else’s kitchen, and I am sure you will learn something interesting about them, and maybe yourself in the process. The photo for this post is from an Airbnb in Copenhagen we stayed at in 2018. What seems familiar, and what seems surprising? What do you notice?

My friend Rachel is one of the most food-loving people I have ever met. The first time we hung out outside of work, we met up for a picnic, and she brought a homemade quiche and some seasonal berries from the farmer’s market that morning. She told me how she knew which stands at the market had the best fruit and how she likes to talk with the vendors to pick the tastiest treats. She recently moved to New York and went through the process of furnishing a new apartment from scratch, including the kitchen. Sensing an exciting and somewhat rare chance to dig a little deeper into the experience, we decided to record a podcast about it!

We hope you enjoy this conversation we recorded together about Rachel’s experiences and reflections on putting a new kitchen together, and how our kitchens connect us to our cultures, to ourselves, and to each other.

If you like this kind of podcast-ish content, please let me know (you can just reply to these emails)! What else would you want to hear? What would you like to talk about or learn more about?