The term “dirty kitchen” will usually evoke mental images of dirty dishes piled high in the sink, a cooking range slick with grease, unrecognizable stains on the kitchen counter or even on the walls, and all sorts of nastiness imaginable. Not quite so for the Filipino household. A “dirty kitchen” is actually more of a Filpino English term that describes a kitchen where most of the food preparation and cooking is done by the household staff. When I say “most of the food prep and cooking”, this includes some of the tougher work: slaughtering and gutting goats and chickens, skinning frogs, dressing fish, and so on. This is also where the heavy-duty chopping is done, and when you enter the dirty kitchen you may as well expect to be greeted by a roaring open fire with a wok large enough to seat a child, getting worked over by a sweaty-bodied cook.
So what of the regular household kitchen? Traditionally, the main kitchen is exclusively used by the family when they wish to cook a meal themselves. It is often kept in showroom condition, and most often serves as a sort of “holding room” for the dishes before they are served in a party.