I’m redesigning my website, and so I’ve been going through my photo archive the past few weeks. I keep coming across these incredible cooking spaces—some are so humble, modest, and simple. These are the ones I’m drawn to most, the ones that tell me about the history of a place, or the story of their family line. They evoke a feeling and a sense of place. You know where you are just by the details of their kitchen.
With each kitchen I flip through, I realize how sweet, beautiful, and intimate it is to let someone into the space where you make and share your food, and how honored I felt when I visited each of these kitchens.
The really cool thing I see when I step into someone’s kitchen is how differently people cook. At the end of the day, I realize that what really matters is what is behind the food. What is the inspiration, where is the soul? Who passed down the recipe? Why do the people in a certain regions cook a particular way? It never matters how fancy or beautiful the kitchen is; when I’m there, it is because their food has depth, soul and meaning.
Here are a few of my favorite food spaces I have had the privilege of shooting.
|All photos by Penny De Los Santos. Click to enlarge.|
[Above] The great Diana Kennedy in her home kitchen in Michoacan, Mexico. Her kitchen was more like a personal food library/archive of Mexican culinary history. I loved being there.
A subject's kitchen in Mexico City.
A roadside kitchen in northern Honduras, where I stopped one morning to have coffee and eggs before the long trek to a remote village. This cook used maguey leaves, sugar cane, and anything else she could find to create a fuel for her fire.
A kitchen in Croatia, where the house had a wood-burning oven next to the more modern gas stove.
A sweet, tiny kitchen in Dakar, Senegal. The family made the national dish of Senegal for me that day: a fish-and-rice stew called Thiéboudienne, or Ceebu Jën. [Editor's note: Click the link for a recipe courtesy of Saveur—including Penny's shot of the finished product!]