You know it's true...you say it yourself! "Everyone ends up in the kitchen!" I have a new theory about the "why" of it, actually two. We know it's a social thing, the kitchen is a magnet (obviously) to be around food, and people like to help, but it's more than that. I think the reason people enjoy being in the kitchen is because it's "real." You can let your hair down in the kitchen, be more real, more casual, roll up your sleeves and be more "yourself." Even a formal kitchen is still, well, a kitchen, and has far less of the "pretentious" factor than does the more formal living areas of the house.
Show me a fabulously dressed guest in the living room, and then in the kitchen, and I'll bet that guest warms up to the host and other guests just a little bit more quickly!
Beyond that, the other reason I see the kitchen as an attraction for guests is because kitchen tasks/activities allow people to be DOING something, to be involved, to feel useful. Perhaps guests feel they are at a different level of engagement with their hosts, being more of a partner with their host. And, working in the kitchen, doing lite duty, along with your host and other guests sort of takes the focus off of you and on to a team effort. It's fun, it's interesting, it's goal oriented. Hang out and be casual/social or get in there with preparation, there is something for everyone in the kitchen, as we see time after time.
Enjoy being in the kitchen this holiday season in whatever way works for you, whether guest or cook!
Next....Let's Get This Party Started! Anatomy of a Party Kitchen!