Megan McArdle theorizes that "we’re spending so much on our kitchens precisely because we’re using them less":
When women left the kitchen, they began earning their own money—and the spending authority that comes with it. Since 1990, while the inflation-adjusted income of traditional single-earner couples has barely risen, the income of dual-earner couples has risen 16 percent. [Jack Schwefel, the CEO of Sur La Table,] says, “The core of my business is that 40- or 50-something woman who has more time than she did 10 years ago and is rediscovering kitchens.”
In other words, cooking is increasingly a leisure activity, especially at the high end of the market.
But it has utterly passed me by. As the years go by, few things bore me more than foodie-ism. I don't begrudge those who are obsessed. I can certainly appreciate good, healthy food. It's just way down on my list of goods – barely above clothes and shoes.