Assembling 10 essays from around the globe which engage variously with the space in which food preparation occurs—the kitchen—revealed stunning diversity but also commonalities. In this first of two sets of theme papers on this vital but often unexamined domestic space, the discourse of modernity unites the look and use of twentieth-century kitchens in Australia, Britain and Finland. Imbued with notions of scientific management, the modern kitchen had some common designs which prescribed women's place within it—first as the main occupant and then as the family overseer. The construction of this semi-private space also involved particular domestic technologies which, as the new century dawns, now literally connect the kitchen to the world beyond via the internet fridge. This Introduction begins the two-part feast of gender, place and culture—with an overview of Australia and sketch of subsequent essays—Supski on mid-century migrant Australia, Saarikangas on Finland, Bennett on rural Britain and Watkins on the fridge.