Monday, September 6, 2010

I fell in love...with a stove.

When kitchen is the heart of a household it shows. It could be not only a place to cook, it should also be a place to have meals together.

But on Granny's Farm the function of the kitchen goes way beyond! Besides a standard kitchen in the house, there is also a not so standard kitchen. A two car garage that had been changed into a second kitchen and is now a place to make tons of preserves, pasteurise goat milk, make wine, have dinner when it rains outside, play music together and even have a part of it for a bedroom. The chest with a mirror servers as a room divider and in the winter it is the driest and the warmest part of the house, simply the best place to sleep.

And here is what I fell in love with! Most of the cooking, baking, preserves making on the farm is done on a contemporary Pioneer Stove that gets heated the old fashioned way, with wood.
The cooking service is large and the baking area is very deep. The compartment to the right serves as a hot water heater and storage.

It takes some time to learn to operate the stove and become an accomplished cook. And once you do, there is no turning back.

"I have a love-hate relationship with this stove," Jennifer, who will have been staying on the farm for a year in October, admitted. "It took me a while to get a hang of it, and still sometimes I burn stuff".
"I LOVE this stove," Sandy overheard us talking and offered her two cents on the subject.
"There is nothing more satisfying than to learn to cook on this stove. It is simply a heart stealer!", she added with a laugh.

There are no turn on/turn off knobs, or temperature reduction knobs. Once you get the fire going and the wood burns for a while, it takes 20 minutes or so for the stove to warm up or cool off. So if you need to bake, for example, you need to estimate on how much wood to put into the burning slot.

There are two knobs on the side of the stove, but they are to regulate the air flow by shutting down or opening the vents. Again, it gets a bit intricate here with how much to turn the knobs and you need to remember in which direction to turn, too. But once the stove reaches a certain temperature it stays that way for a long time.

If you are cooking on the range, then the dish gets warm and boils quickly. To reduce the heat going to the pot you simply slide the pot off the round cast iron burner as much as you need it to the degree you want the dish to be cooking at.

I love this stove! Love it! Love it! Love it!
It keeps the room warm, has warm water all the time, doesn't cost anything to operate (that is if there are woods all over the place, like here, in Washington. I guess in North Dakota it would be lucrative to have the stove!) and with some skills acquired can become any chef's best friend. That stove has a character and different moods, too, so with special handling it could be considered a rather unique kitchen equipment.

I told Mirek I want it. Once we settle down it will be a center piece in my country kitchen.

My zucchini breads, Jennifer's corn breads and Sandy's dishes came out great. With a few exceptions that is. Life would be too monotonous without any exceptions, don't you think?
When red kidney beans were left cooking while we went hiking to see the oldest tree in the area, the beans got a bit smokey. Nice flavor for a change.

Or when Sandy was reheating the leftovers of potato goat stew, the stew turned into "dried up soup", as the kids described it. Crunchy, crispy, smokey potato goat chips, so to speak, were so good that seized to exist over a very short period of time. See, the stove does not waste food, it improves it!


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