A kitchen is a room used for food preparation and sometimes entertainment. A modern kitchen is typically equipped with a stove and microwave oven and has a sink with water on tap for cleaning food and dishwashing. Modern kitchens often also feature a dishwasher. Some installations to store food usually also are present, either in the form of an adjacent pantry or more commonly cabinets and a refrigerator.
Although the main function of a kitchen is cooking, it can be the center of other activities as well, especially within homes, depending on its size, furnishing, and equipment. If a washing machine is present, washing and drying laundry is also done in the kitchen. The kitchen may also be the place where the family eats, provided it is large enough. Sometimes, it is the most comforting room in a house, where family and visitors tend to congregate.
The development of the kitchen has been intricately and intrinsically linked with the development of the cooking range or stove. Until the 18th century, open fire was the sole means of heating food, and the architecture of the kitchen reflected this. When technical advances brought new ways to heat food in the 18th and 19th centuries, architects took advantage of newly-gained flexibility to bring fundamental changes to the kitchen. Water on tap only became gradually available during industrialization; before, water had to be collected from the nearest well and heated in the kitchen.
The houses in Ancient Greece were commonly of the atrium-type: the rooms were arranged around a central courtyard. In many such homes, a covered but otherwise open patio served as the kitchen. Homes of the wealthy had the kitchen as a separate room, usually next to a bathroom (so that both rooms could be heated by the kitchen fire), both rooms being accessible from the court. In such houses, there was often a separate small storage room in the back of the kitchen used for storing food and kitchen utensils.
In the Roman Empire, common folk in cities often had no kitchen of their own; they did their cooking in large public kitchens. Some had small mobile bronze stoves, on which a fire could be lit for cooking. Wealthy Romans had relatively well-equipped kitchens. In a Roman villa, the kitchen was typically integrated into the main building as a separate room, set apart for practical reasons of smoke and sociological reasons of the kitchen being operated by slaves. The fireplace was typically on the floor, placed at a wall--sometimes raised a little bit--such that one had to kneel to cook. There were no chimneys.