Microkitchens – It’s All That I Can Afford!

Instead of covering how the political failure of baby booms has led to declining standards of livings and a lack of opportunities for the next generation, the media puts out stories about us wacky millenials, doing strange things to survive.  Apparently, this includes the rise of the “microkitchen” (a.k.a. a “kitchen” in an apartment a young person can afford.)  I have only lived in places with these “microkitchens.”  I always thought I just couldn’t afford a decent-sized apartment, but apparently I am making lifestyle choice that baby boomers in the media find cute and amusing:

But in the urban technology centers that have become the nation’s new factory towns, the kitchen gold standard glorified in design magazines and lovingly ogled in Nancy Meyers movies is being redefined. In cities like this one, where Amazon plans to fill 10 million square feet of office space, the aspirational kitchens of young cooks have small footprints and shrunken appliances.

The microkitchen, stocked with expensive blenders, elaborate coffee makers and professional-quality knives, suits digital workers who eat free at work or take their meals in homey but globally influenced restaurants in their apartment buildings. Dinner may come from one of a dozen app-based delivery services, either as a fully prepared chef’s special or a meal kit that requires cooking but not much chopping.

It really only gets worse from there.  Among other gems of erudite analysis, we are told the age demographic  transitioning to adulthood and most likely to marry and start families bought more kitchen appliances this year than last year.  I wonder what the kids these days will come up with next!  This article has all of the usual hallmarks of the media’s coverage of millennial social mores – only well-off millennials are discussed and there is no mention of the economic forces behind what is causing $600,000 apartments to have “microkitchens.”

This reminds of the recent article by Malcolm Harris where he discusses recent stories about Millennials saving both money and time by living in trucks or vans outside outside of their offices.  Harris gets straight to the point:

The best place a millennial can take shelter, according to the media reaction, seems to be in a car near work. In both of these stories the main characters are, of course, homeless. It’s important that in both cases that the young men in question are not poor or desperate. In fact, they’re both employed and quite well-off. There are plenty of young homeless people, but no national news outlets are covering the clever ingenuity they use to survive. Instead, municipal ordinances against sleeping in cars are on the rise, up 119 percent between 2011 and 2014. Norris and Brandon both could afford conventional housing if they wanted to, they have simply thought better of it. A model millennial has to be both rich and homeless.

He notes the rise in microapartments and tiny house living, especially the units that are designed to travel with you, and asks why you only hear about “Millennials” embracing this lifestyle:

If we were really undergoing a social shift toward small, thrifty living, it would be manifesting at the top as well. But while the wealthy plot to ensure decades of low-density retirement life, the vision of millennials sleeping in the backs of cars ready to roll down the road as soon as they’re not needed or packed together in minimal-sized pods sounds more like a trap than an opportunity. We would have to be real suckers to fall for the old “Sleeping in your car is cool!” trick.

I wonder.

Microkitchens – It’s All That I Can Afford!

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