From Pemmican to Poutine: Eating in Canada
THE PARLOUR KITCHEN 50 YEARS HENCE.
January 4,1873, 19th century
Ink on newsprint - Photolithography
40.1 x 28 cm
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Cartoon (19139) , Print (10661) , social (690)
Keys to History
In the 20th century, technological innovations would transform the Canadian kitchen. This caricature captures the excitement surrounding food innovations in the late 19th century, but also articulates the scepticism about the social changes these innovations were encouraging in the home.
Over the last 150 years, the kitchen has indeed been redefined from closed and food-oriented to open and sociable as a result of architects' modernist aesthetic aims, the changing role of women and developments in household economics. The materialization of this futurist caricature, the living room-kitchen common in middle-class homes of the 1940s and 1950s, benefited from several technological advances and sustained the shift towards a servant-less household that had been evident in North America since 1910.
Elizabeth C. Cromley, "Transforming the Food Axis: Houses, Tools, Modes of Analysis," Material History Review 44 (Fall 1996) / Revue d'histoire de la culture matérielle 44 (automne 1996), p. 8.
This caricature laughingly condemns the 19th-century architectural idea of merging the kitchen and dining room into a "parlour kitchen." The labour of domestics or housewives related to the "dirty business" of the kitchen was to remain hidden for decades.
In the middle-class Canadian home of the 1870s, the kitchen area was the source of smells and germs. The dining room, however, masked food-related work and represented cleanliness: fresh table cloths, china collections, etc.
The 1950s open-plan kitchen, as anticipated here, would allow the housewife to participate in the social life of the house while luring family and guests to her cooking area.
Born in France, Edward Jump (1832-1883) emigrated to San Francisco in 1852. From 1871 to 1873 he worked in Canada, drawing cartoons for two Montreal-based publications, L'Opinion publique and Canadian Illustrated News.