My grandmother's house was a high set "Queenslander" with the kitchen located at the end of the hall and accessed from the veranda. After a meal was prepared and eaten, and the dishes washed and the kitchen tidied, the room was abandoned and we forgot about food until the next mealtime.
Except on baking day when it was a hive of activity and echoed with the sound of voices and the clatter of baking tins.
The kitchen was not the treasure trove of tasty treats it is today. There was no refrigerator to raid. There were no supermarkets, just the local shops. Food shopping was kid's business, done daily. After school, my first task was to do the "messages". Armed with a list, money and a shopping bag, I walked up the hill to the grocer, the vegetable shop, the butcher and sometimes to the chemists. The baker delivered bread daily and the milkman and iceman delivered each morning.
Once my family messages were done, I went down the street to Mrs Bolger's house, collected her list and walked up the hill again and back with an another laden bag. My reward was a about five cents and a shot of soul food.....she was the only one who encouraged me to draw and write.
My children never did "messages". The local corner shops had disappeared and I, like most mothers, did the food shopping while the children were at school.
Nowadays, we drive to the shopping centre, spend ages reading food labels, while buying more than we need because it is often cheaper to buy two than one. Our kitchens are laden with snacks. Food is available as easily as is water.
Our houses have changed. The earliest Australian kitchens were not attached to the house, it was too much of a fire risk.
My kitchen is in the middle of the house. To get anywhere, I have to pass by or through the kitchen.
Even if we escape the from kitchen’s temptations, our living rooms are a food trap, with the television advertisements constantly telling us to eat this or that. For entertainment we even watch cooking shows.
Open plan houses? Cooking shows on the television? Huge refrigerators?
Are our houses making us fat?