Dirty kitchens are extensions of main kitchens to serve as some sort of a work area where the dirty jobs are done. So, if you want to preserve the beauty of your main kitchen (which serves as mere display) and refuse to have anything messy or violent to be done there, you set up a second kitchen near it. All the dirty works are done there.
We used to have a dirty kitchen set way back in the backyard where guests won’t see or hear what’s done there. My grandma used to chop or butcher huge meat pieces there, like pig’s hind legs, and used firewood to cook them in large kettles. I watched while her assistant, Cardo, did all the dirty works under her supervision.
In our main kitchen, only the finishing touches on food dishes are done. Sauteing and boiling are probably the only activities done there. My mom wanted to keep the main kitchen nice and clean. But as a kid, I often wished the dirty kitchen was given more attention than just having it built with rough and unfinished hollow blocks, a rough screen door, secondhand wooden jalousie windows and used and rusted GI sheets. Just because it’s called “dirty” doesn’t mean you literally make it so.
I dreamed of a cozy dirty kitchen, something looking like a mountain cabin, with nice looking bricks, crazy-cut marble floor, handsomely fitted cooking areas and a fireplace and cogon oven. Something like the picture above by HomeDesignLover. In fact, I wanted our dirty kitchen to have a nice loft where two small and snug sleeping areas are located, so Cardo and I could sleep there now and then—like taking a vacation.
I told myself, I was going to renovate the dirty kitchen when I had saved enough money. But years passed and typhoons and time destroyed our dirty kitchen.
But dirty kitchens are advisable for Filipino homes. If you have a spare space adjacent to your kitchen, you can extend it to have a dirty kitchen, or have it detached and a few meters away from the main house—as part of your main kitchen but also separate from it and unseen to your guests. It can also serve as a picnic area, a backyard open (or covered) lounge or a barbecue or grill and chill area. Just have it designed somewhat like the dirty kitchen shown above.
And as I had pictured it in my childhood, you can provide a loft for fitting in a sleeping area or two to serve as servants’ quarters. Or, again as I have mentioned, a kind of vacation house in your backyard where you can choose to spend the night anytime you want. The loft can also serve as extra space for keeping culinary items like big pots and kettles.
For limited budgets, a small and temporary dirty kitchen nook like the one above, looking cute but functional, will do.