Dirty kitchens in the Philippines are not necessarily a reflection of a homeowner’s housekeeping habits. I remember my Mom and Grandma keeping extremely clean kitchens back in the States where I grew up in the Midwest. My Aunt Mary, God bless her, however, who insisted on only being address as “Mary,” was a different story.
Mary, a Slovak Catholic, who had a penchant for Camel cigarettes and beer, had a kitchen that might not always pass rigorous health care inspection standards. I wouldn’t doubt that some of those ashes from my aunt’s Camels would end up on the kitchen counter or table or in her goulash.
My Mom’s oldest (and only sister) also kept two small dogs in the house, “Pixie” and “Dixie.” Dog hairs littered the couch, the favorite hangout for the pooches.
My asawa in the Philippines also keeps a clean kitchen. But a dirty kitchen, built outside of the main house, is quite common. Because wood and homemade charcoal are used as fuel for cooking (LP gas is used inside for those that can afford it), it’s safer to have a dirty kitchen outside in case of a fire.
A fire inside a nipa hut or shanty could easily burn down the structure in a matter of minutes. Thus, the advantage of a dirty kitchen outside the house makes good common sense. Such a kitchen also can help keep the inside of a home from getting hotter.
We have a dirty kitchen at “The Farm,” our new location in Guimaras. It took me a half day of cleaning the structure but it was worth it. We were doing some cooking before, such as boiling water and frying stinky fish, outside on a small cook stove on the porch. But I got tired of inhaling the smoke that would sometimes drift inside our house so I took it upon myself to clean the dirty kitchen.
The kitchen area was a disaster. Bottles and other trash strewn were across the floor, and a bed of about two dozen frogs lived in one corner of the structure. Check out the next photo from a small room adjoining the dirty kitchen and multiply this about 100 times to give you an idea of the task I was confronted with.
But since I’m a retired American expat living in the Philippines without any Internet access now, I have nothing but time on my hands. My spouse almost fainted when she saw me outside doing actual manual labor. It’s a sight she hasn’t seen much of the past several years.
This is an interior look at the metal chimney. A stack of twigs sits next to the cooking area and the cook stove.
Here’s a picture of my hardworking asawa mugging for the camera. She uses the dirty kitchen now that’s it cleaned up. I also take it up myself to sweep the floor daily and clean the cook stove area. I’m bored and need something to occupy my time, even if it involves manual labor.
The next photo was taken a few years ago at our dirty kitchen at “The Compound,” where we formerly resided. As you can tell by my spouse’s expression, she wasn’t too happy that I snapped her photograph. I’m getting “The Look.” That never stops me, however, from posting such pics on my website.
Of course we’ll have a dirty kitchen in our new home that will be built sometime next year in Guimaras. I want to model it after the existing facility we now have at “The Farm.” And since we plan to build at a new location that has Internet access, I’ll have more time to “work” on this website again and use that as my excuse to get out of any dirty kitchen duties in the future. At least that’s what I’m counting on.