One of the best-known aphorisms of Harry Truman, US president at the time the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, was “if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen”. This has a nice euphonious ring to it, but at first sight it seems an odd metaphor to describe an important truth. The problem with Truman's kitchen is that it pre-supposed the wish to be in it. The average man in the US at the time of Harry's utterance, and probably in the UK too, had no particular wish to be in the kitchen. This was the place for women, and indeed, in Lancashire where I was brought up, men were often banned entirely from this part of the house, most particularly when it was on heat. But, nevertheless, Truman had it right by pointing to the kitchen as an important central place in the household.
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