Here's an old idea made new again: putting the kitchen in the basement. That's just what my own mother did in time for summer. She had a small, simple kitchen installed in the basement of her house. And she has used it nonstop for the last three months:
From baking to canning (both really hot kitchen activities), the kitchen has been put to hard use so far. It stays cool naturally so she's always comfortable when working there, even on the hottest of days. And the rest of the house isn't overburdened with the heat of an upstairs kitchen (nothing like hot weather, an air-conditioned house, and a hot kitchen pumping heat right back into the interior!).
She kept things simple: a basic range, open shelving (since most dishes and things are still stored upstairs), two used cabinets that were being discarded from another home, and a laminate countertop bought by-the-foot from the home improvement store. It isn't necessarily pretty, but it's the epitome of function and has been an absolute joy for my homecook mom.
It used to be that homes were always built with the kitchen in the basement. Not so much to keep cool, but to keep "the help" out of sight. Anyone up for bringing this movement back without the class division but with nice, cool relief for summertime home cooks? Let's hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Related: The Return of the Root Cellar in the New York Times
(Image: Flickr member , licensed for use under Creative Commons)