Sunday, October 10, 2021

Baking over a fire in a "pot oven" or "cottage oven"

An interesting one minute film clip from 1950s or 60s Wales, shows a pot oven baking bread hung over a peat (turf) fire with coals. Chunks of burning peat are placed on the flat lid to bake. There is no lip along edge of the lid (so differs from dutch oven top). Excerpts mentioning Ireland and Scotland. Film clip below.

The lid does not have a raised lip around the edge like a dutch oven.
The side of the pot appears slightly flared from the base so the lid may set down in it, leaving a bit of the side to be slightly higher to hold the peat on the lid. Just guessing, since I am having a hard time seeing details (even the feet). Has anyone studied or used this over the fire?
Pot and cottage ovens described like bake ovens/ dutch ovens over coals -


“Eggs, milk and cakes baked in a pot-oven, that is, a three-legged pot heated by piling red-hot turf under and over it, are usually to be obtained.” [at Inishken, an island off the west coast of Ireland]
The Fortnightly. London: July 1, 1892

"A few [suggestions for economy], such as the Pot Oven made from the Irish Cooking Pot, are particularly interesting in showing what can be done when there is so serious a shortage of fuel that it must be saved in every possible way."
Review of the British booklet Cookery Under Rations, 1918 by M. M. Mitchell in The Journal of Home Economics Dec 1918

"We had, of course, no real oven – only a little pot oven to stand on the floor, with red turf over and under; but my pies were a great success, and savoury, fragrant odours soon filled the little homestead."
Six weeks on the Bog of Allen in Family Herald May 15, 1875


"There is a kind of cottage-oven used in Ireland and other places, in form of a wide stew-pan, made of cast-iron, with a lid of the same thickness, on which embers of turf are put. This is placed over other embers, and an equal slow heat is maintained, which dresses a stew, bakes a pudding or a bit of meat, and is found very useful at other times as a cottage-pot."

"Muffins… These at a pinch may be baked on the Scotch girdle, or in a thick-bottomed frying-pan, or the cottage oven-pot."
Margaret Dods (Christian Isobel Johnstone) The Cook and Housewife’s Manual. Edinburgh: 1829

FILM CLIP of baking bread in a pot oven over the fire with peat coals on top from People's Collection of Wales HERE

Old photos from Ireland show a pot oven/cottage oven:
Clare County Library, link at bottom HERE
Museums of Mayo HERE

Different types of DUTCH OVENS blog post HERE

Baking a pie crust over the fire in a porridge-pot
Over the last 30 years I've baked in brick ovens or cast iron dutch ovens, but I have made one recipe which bakes over the fire and the crust is always dry and flaky.

"A peach pot-pie, or cobler, as it is often termed... Rub the bottom and sides of a porridge-pot, or small oven with butter, and then with dry flour. Roll out some pieces of plain or standing paste about half an inch thick, line the sides of the pot or oven with the pieces of paste, letting them nearly touch in the bottom…Put a paste over the top, and bake it with moderate heat, raising the lid occasionally, to see how it is baking. When the crust is brown… "
The Kentucky Housewife by Lettice Bryan, 1839. Recipe and cobblers HERE
The kettle hooting the porridge-pot by James Gillray, 23 July 1782. Satire of William Petty, 1st Marquess of Lansdowne and Charles James Fox. National Portrait Gallery UK HERE


Oc 20 Wed 2:30 Pots for socks. Commodity itineraries in the North Atlantic during the 17th and 18th Centuries. “reconstructs the journeys of three cooking pots from different places in northern Germany and Denmark [to Iceland] and along the way, attempts to situate these journeys within the social and cultural contexts through which they pass.” Gavin Lucas, Jakob Orri Jónsson and Kevin Martin HERE. Paper: HERE Facebook page: The Archaeology of the Danish Trade Monopoly in Iceland. HERE


THIS WEEK'S TALKS (I've added many since start of month)

Oct 11 Mon 6:30-8 Breaking Bread, Building Futures: The Power of the Black Kitchen. “the history of Black women chefs and cooks in cities like Chicago and the efforts to nourish their communities!” Dr. Rita Mookerjee. African and Black Diaspora Studies HERE

Oct 11 Mon 7 The Adler Hotel – From Heyday to Present Day. 1927 “built in the mineral resort spa town Sharon Springs… with 150 rooms…2 kitchens, one of which was kosher.” Home movies of early years, staff interviews. Ron Ketelsen. Sharon Historical Society HERE

Oc 11 Mon 7-8:30 Columbiana, Recipes and Rituals from the Soul of Columbia. author Mariana Velasquez. $20 HERE

Oct 12 Tue 1:15 The Origins & Rituals of Absinthe. Allison Crawbuck & Rhys Everett. The Viktor Wynd Museum & The Last Tuesday Society. £8.95 HERE

Oc 12 Tue 1:30-3:30 The forgotten history of French colonialism in Bengal. Less well known than the English East India Company. Dr Robert Ivermee. Brick Lane Circle HERE

Oc 12 Tue 2 Beers, bears & beyond in Estonia. Beer “Experimenting with local flavours like juniper, moss, birch and rye… traces of Nordic cuisine in high-end restaurants or foraging for the seasonal, local ingredients to be found in Estonian dishes.” Travel Geeks online. National Geographic Traveller (UK) HERE

Oc 12 Tue 2:30 A Miller and his Mill (Warney Mill, Darley Dale UK). Using the miller John Else’s papers to describe work “of the mill and its farm but also of the craftspeople and specialists who helped rebuild the mill [1860], and those who bought flour and other products from the mill.” Judy Cooper. Ashbourne Heritage Society. £5HERE

Oc 12 Tue 3 London's Food Factories. Rob Smith. Footprints of London. £6.00 HERE

Oc 12 Tue 6:30-8 The History of Gin “gin has had a remarkable journey, a story that reflects the ever changing moods and sensibilities of society at large.” David McNicoll. Brooklyn Brainery $6 HERE

Oct 12 Tue 6:30 Tavern Tastings. Ice Cream. Keeler Tavern Museum, Fraunces Tavern HERE

Oct 12 Tue 7 Betty Crocker and Her Cookbook that Changed How America Cooks. Leslie Goddard. Lake Geneva Public Library HERE

Oct 12 Tue 7-8:30 Foraging, Food, and Myth: Halloween Harvest. Felicity Roberts . Atlas Obscura $25 HERE

Oc 12 Tue 7:30-9 Korean traditional Sool (alcohol) class. “tour of traditional Sool (alcohol) brewery; Hands-on Ihwa-ju(pear blossom wine) making class; Live Makgeolli (Korean rice wine) paring with Korean food.” Park Rokdam. Korean Consulate in Toronto HERE

Oc 12 Tue 8:30 Be My Guest: How can food bridge discord and difference. Twin Cities PBS TPT HERE

Wedgewood showroom 1807
Oct 13 Wed 1 Josiah Wedgewood ‘The Radical Potter’. “revolutionised the production of ceramics in Georgian Britain by marrying technology with design, manufacturing efficiency and retail flair… campaigned for free trade and religious toleration… created the ceramic ‘Emancipation Badge’.” Tristram Hunt. Messums Wiltshire. £10 online; 15 in person HERE

Oc 13 Wed 2 A History of Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce. author Massimo Montanari, Rachel Roddy author of An A–Z of Pasta. London Review Bookshop £5-15 HERE

Oct 13 Wed 3-5 Farm and Food Study Capstone Presentations. Numerous speakers. Allegheny Mountain Institute HERE

Oc 13 Wed 6-7:15 Let’s Make Dumplings! Making Wrappers & Folding Dumplings. Hugh Amano. Milk Street Live Online Cooking School $24.95 HERE

Oct 13 Wed 6:30 Curated Cuisine: Happy Cooking With World-Renowned Chef Jacques Pépin. WBUR City Space MA $5 HERE

Oct 13 Wed 7-8:30 Mexico's History in 10 Dishes. Discover Oaxaca Tours $20 HERE

Oct 13 Wed 9-10:30pm East Meets West: Fong Wan’s Chinese Niteries. “…famous herb shop…series of restaurants, a shrimping fleet, and nightclubs in Oakland and San Fran… 1930s-1950s.” Calvin Fong. Oakland Public Library HERE

Oc 13 Wed 9-11pm Apples & Ciders & Trees (oh, my!) Albert Felix Etter “bred new varieties of fruit, nuts and grain. This program will focus specifically on his apple breeding program and his legacy as it pertains to the apple and cider world.” Humboldt Cider Company. California Garden & Landscape History Society $18 HERE

Oc 14 Thu 5-11 AM Revealing the Past seminar. Many. 9:30 Agriculture in Ireland's past: determining management practices through stable isotope analysis, Dr Meriel McClatchie. Royal Irish Academy HERE

Oc 14 Thu 10-12 Introduction to Canning. N.C. Cooperative Extension HERE

Oc 14 Thu 1 Meet-the-Author: Katie Quinn and have lunch in England, Italy and France ! “author of Cheese, Wine, and Bread: discovering the magic of fermentation in England, Italy and France.” Montgomery County Public Library MD HERE

Oct 14 Thu 2-3:15 Farming in Oxfordshire in the interwar years. “From the early 1920s to the end of the 1930s most farming wasn't profitable - for a variety of reasons.” Dr. Michael Heaton. Pendon Museum. £7.06 HERE

Oct 14 Thu 6 Summer Vegetable Series: Pumpkin. “history, cultivation, uses, and preservation…” UGA Extension Fulton County GA HERE

Oct 14 Thu 6:30 The Whiskey Rebellion 1791–1794: Jefferson vs Hamilton, Then and Now. Reid Mutenbuler. Culinary Historians of New York HERE

Oc 14 Thur 8:30-10 Food History Horror Stories: Witches, Poisoners, and Puritans. Sarah Lohman. Brooklyn Brainery $7 HERE

Oc 14 Thu 10pm Food Fights: Authority and Authenticity in American Jewish. Session 1: Referendum on the Jewish Deli Menu: American Jewish Religion and the Deli Revival. Rachel Gross. $5 HERE 3 sessions 10/14, 12/6, 12/13

Oct 15 Fri 12 Cheffes de Cuisine: Women and Work in the Professional French Kitchen. Rachel Black. Pépin Lecture Series in Food Studies & Gastronomy. Boston University HERE

Oct 15 Fri 5:30-7 Rough Estimation: Inheritance, Accounting, and Sibling Rivalry in an Early Modern Merchant Family. Jesse Sadler. IHR Institute of Historical Research UK HERE

Oct 16 Sat 8:30am-4:30 BNMC’s 1st Annual Food As Medicine Symposium: Harvesting Health 2021 - Catalyzing Adoption of Food As Medicine Interventions in Buffalo. national and local panelists, cooking demo. NYBuffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc.HERE

Oct 17 Sun 1-2:30 First Catch your Gingerbread - with Sam Bilton. Culinary Historians of Canada $19.10 HERE also Oct 30

©2021 Patricia Bixler Reber
Researching Food History HOME

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