The kitchen, as we know it today, is a relatively modern phenomenon. In the 19th century food was still being prepared in cauldrons over an open fire, in smoky rooms where you ate, worked and slept. However, in wealthier households there was a ‘dark sow’ in a corner of the kitchen, the black iron stove from mills such as Norrahammar or Näfverkvarn.

Kitchen, 1908. Photo: Erik Rud

When the penniless people of the countryside migrated into the cities, many of them became even poorer. Misery was awaiting them in sheds and shacks. Houses with separate kitchens were not erected until the big building boom hit, near the end of the century. Kitchens made an appearance in the spacious apartments facing the street as well as in the cramped flats of the back houses. All kitchens faced the inner courtyard.

Running water, drains, ventilation and electricity was reserved for the rich. Ice was hacked from lakes and streams in the winter, and kept in stacks beneath straw or sawdust. The ice-man delivered his sought-after goods once a week. Outside the doors of the lavish apartments, in stairwells made from marble and porphyry, stood ice cabinets, with the brand Temperator in ormolu.

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