The Fall of the Kitchen

The Kitchen, as it is known in the Petroleum Era, does not exist in the Cosmic Era. During the hardship of the Second Dark age and the Population Contraction, and the subsequent wars that saw the population of the planet reduced by 90%, many of the conveniences and essentials of the basic kitchen were revealed to be expendable. As society coalesced into the new Cosmic Era conventions, things were streamlined, or were simply rendered irrelevant.

Causes and Calamities

Personal assistant robotics started becoming commonplace, and cooking and cleaning were seen as tedious tasks. The robots were left to do these, and the late Petroleum Era kitchen was less a social space, and more a workspace, little different from a tool shed or garage. The size shrank, and emphasis started shifting towards utility and efficiency for robots or menial workers. The common spaces in the house grew larger, and houses started getting larger, because Westerners demanded more and more breathing space. Food culture and cooking skills declined.

The Second Dark Age and the Resource Wars saw certain things become unreliable. Food deliveries from other continents and countries ceased. Food had to be somewhat locally produced, or shipped in from other semi-local areas where there was a surplus to share/sell. This lead to some of the horrors of CE food production, myco-proteins, mass produced plant biomass extruded into sticks, patties, and wafers, and other instances of need outstripping culture. During this time period, the iRestaurants rose, as did the food dispensary. Both provided ample amounts of technically nutritious food at low to no cost to the consumer.

Why cook when meals were ready to eat, free, from the dispensary. If the dispensary offerings werent to taste, there are a half dozen automatic restaurants ready to vend out meals at bargain basement prices, up to a modest price for their best offerings. Why even consider cooking at home, no one can beat the five item for five credits offer from iBurger.

The Kitchenette

The CE Kitchenette is the size of a traditional television entertainment center, and has a small sink plumbed into a waste disposal line, and a single cold water faucet. The lower portion is a freezer/chiller that can store a small amount of pre-prepped meals, typically in the same fashion as a vintage record player. The top has a Smart Microwave, also known as a SmartWave. Most prepped meals have codes allowing the SmartWave to read it, know what it is, and reheat it properly. The surface of the Kitchenette has two hard points for mounting peripheral appliances, hooking into its power supply and smart system.

The most common additional appliances include a cava dispenser, analogous to a coffee pot, but having more in common with the Keurig pod system. A convection toaster for making toast, other sliced bread products, or the increasingly popular Pop! lines of handheld non-refrigerated food options (this is where the hamburger helper and curry flavored pop-tarts go). Blenders for making smoothies (from mixes, not fresh produce, don't be silly) or the ever present and over popular drink dispenser. The personal fountain uses syrup pods and the unit's water supply so that the user has their beverage of choice on hand.

The Branded Kitchenette

The Branded Kitchenette is an increasingly popular and neo-bourgeois flex. Having a branded Kitchenette means that the refrigerated cell is stocked by said brand outlet, and has a preset series of appliances. The iBurger Kitchenette has a convention SmartWave so that with the press of a button or voice command, the station will automatically cycle up a burger and fry combo, microblast it, and drop it out with the fries and bun crisp, and the burger patty steaming hot. Of course, a branded kitchenette has to be stocked and serviced by a licensed supplier, and same for maintenance. They will have specific branded drink dispensers. Many have, to their owners delight, branded condiment dispensers as well.

Variant Kitchenettes

The Macro-Kitchenette

The Macro or MK series is was released as an option for larger families, and has increased cold cell storage, two SmartWaves, and two drink dispensers feeding from a syrup cell. This was intended to make it where there was not competition of hostility between users, or if different food stuffs were requested and there was concern of cross contamination.

The Chain-Kitchenette

The Chain model is a hybridization combining multiple kitchenettes into a literal chained machine. These are typically installed and used in areas of high population such as corporate galleys or messes, and are common in non-residental arcologies, large ships, and large spacecraft.

Service Kitchette

The Service model is high speed, high power, high efficiency, and is found in the corners of convenience stores and Alt-Dispensaries, and require a credit payment to use. Just because its the Cosmic Era doesnt mean low grade gas station food has gone away even through the gas pumps are long gone.

The Micro-Kitchenette

The micro kitchenette is small enough for a single person to pick it up and move it, and is intended for use is maximum economy residential units. Approximately a foot in cubic space, the micro model is a self contained SmartWave (low power, high efficiency) and soft point hook up for a single stand alone appliance. Most people discard the side mount appliance and use the hook ups for recharging personal devices, while the micro unit it hooked into the power grid. Micro units are not intended for frozen food packs, but room temp stored packs.

The Pico-Kitchenette

A grandiose term given to a pocket sized microwave unit that is barely larger than the normal shelf stable food pack. The unit uses a small amount of power to heat said food pack, and can be run off of batteries, or a hand crank if there is no power grid available.

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