Thursday, March 2, 2017

Ahhhh, to cook like a pioneer! Or not ...

Hi! Kit Morgan here! Lately I've had my house in a bit of a shambles. It happens with a remodel. More so when the house is very old. We've had to tear out entire floors so we can put in new ones, and there's nothing quite like having half of your house jacked up and open to the elements while you'er in the other half trying to make do with a living room that's suddenly now a bedroom. Alas, that was my work space.
Then to have your main source of heat go on the fritz, well, it's time to start chopping wood. Now all that needs to happen is to have the power go out!
But, amidst all of that, I'm reminded of having nothing but wood heat for years while growing up, not to mention my mother cooking on an old wood stove when I was a kid back in the sixties.

I describe a stove in my Prairie Bride Series as being so enormous, it's scary. When we think of an old-fashioned cook stove, we often have images in our heads like the one pictured above, complete with a pooch basking in its warmth, or a kitty curled up in front of it. The one we had growing up wasn't quite as big. I actually found a picture of a stove that looked just like it.
As you can see, it's pretty simple, nothing elaborate, just something that gets the job done. I also remember my mother cursing that little stove. A lot. Especially if the wood was wet, but what can you do? But she managed, and used it for years. I remember when she got a new one, it was also a wood cook stove. We had it, too, for years, until she finally relented, (or maybe lost too many battles with her new found monstrosity of iron) and went to an electric stove in the seventies.
I marvel at those hearty individuals who still, to this day, use a wood cook stove. I've thought of getting one myself, but then wonder about the summer months, and does one keep both a wood and electric (or gas, depending on where you are). 
I have a wood stove in my kitchen now, but it's not a cook stove. Though when the mood strikes, I occasionally make a pot roast on top of it. 
They say the kitchen is the heart of the home, and I always liked to imagine a large family in a large kitchen with a big old fashioned cook stove radiating its warmth throughout not only the kitchen, but most of the house. Yes, the wood has to be chopped, stacked, (heck, logged to begin with, at least where I live) and brought in, and I've done my share over the years. But there's just something about it that gives us modern folks a sense of satisfaction. Before electric and gas ranges, it was a normal part of every day life. 
Today it's a kitchen tool capable of taking us back to a bygone era where hard work and diligence, at the end of the day, met up with the smell of a cherry or apple pie being taken out of the oven. The fruit of our labor. Literally. 
So, with that said, I'm curious. How many of you grew up with, or have a wood cook stove? Did your grandparents have one? Would you use one today if you were given one? 


  1. Very nice post, Kit! My mother-in-law has a wood-burning stove in her basement, mostly as an alternate heat source. My husband remembers her cooking on it (stew or chili) a few times during childhood when the power was out or in the depths of winter when they wanted the extra heat. (Maybe just so she could prove she could.) Fond memories.
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Actually my great grandparents had a gas stove by the time I came along in the 50s. Don' think I'd do well with one, but if push came to shove, I'd manage. *Smile* Doris

  3. We had a two burner potbelly stove. Mostly it was used for heating until dad got baseboard heaters put in but we lived in the mountains and just about every winter the power went out and we'd make soup, stew and sometimes popcorn on the thing. When we 1st built the house it was small and I slept on a cot next to the stove ( I think I was 4) the thing I remember most was dad getting spitting mad because my mom got that thing so hot the stove pipe would glow red/white and she burned through one every other year! LOL. Yes, once we move out to the kitchen I'm getting one put in, just because I can. LOL

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