Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Home on the range

The fourth word in our memory writing challenge is "stove." I have a fascination with stoves. I once wrote a post about an Aga range. I have always wanted to own an Aga. The first memory I have of a stove that came close to an Aga was when my parents bought a cottage (it was our year-round home) on Lake Ontario. It came equipped with an old wood burning, cast iron stove.

I remember my mother once baked a cherry pie in its oven with cherries that came from a tree in our garden. It was a magical. About ten years ago, I baked a cherry pie with cherries from the tree in my garden. I used my electric stove. It was fun, but it wasn't magical.

Another memory I have of these cast iron beauties is when I was eight years old. We stayed on a farm for the summer that had a big old black stove. In winter it heated the entire house. I marvelled at the clever engineering which took the heat from the stove through huge pipes that travelled up the walls and through the ceiling. A pipe went into every room carrying the hot air to the bedrooms upstairs.

Getting the fire to light and keeping it lit was always tricky. However, once lit, the stove cooked several meals at a time, boiled water for laundry and simmered vats of clotted cream (in Devon) on its back ledge.

Here was a workhorse, the heat and heart of a home. In summer these stoves were moved - not sure how they did this - to a back kitchen, often called the summer kitchen. The pipes were detached and heat from the stove presumably stayed away from the house.

My best memories of family are tied to stoves. My grandmother had a gas stove with an eye level oven. She cooked lavish German meals on it, including desserts, Angel Food cake and Bread Pudding, to name a few. When we bought our house years ago, I inherited a stove with an oven large enough to cook two huge turkeys at the same time. I should never have replaced it.

I would love to have an outdoor brick oven and I may buy a smoker next year, if I can find one I like. I am fascinated with large hearths and huge pots suspended over them. I once had an old pot belly stove that came with a large pot for baked beans. I could go on....but you get the idea.

I'll never forget a cooking class I took years ago. A woman asked, if she could replace her stove - oven and all - with a microwave. I gasped! Where would all your memories come from?

Have an amazing day!

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