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This term, meaning an unofficial inner group with high influence, is most-likely derived from the period when Oliver Cromwell was Lord Protector. His wife, Elizabeth, was the subject of jokes at the time for directing her husband's policies from her kitchen. A book was even published satirising the suspicion. This was called 'The Court and Kitchin of Elizabeth' and written by Thomas Milbourn in 1664.
Another alternative, but less-likely, is that the term derives from the fact that the American President Andrew Jackson, held private meetings in the kitchens of The White House during the 1830's.
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