The cabin we volunteer in has an outdoor kitchen, with only a stone hearth to cook on. You can see the 'kitchen' behind me, it's the roofed structure on the right. Can you imagine cooking in inclement weather?! Even the kitchen table is outside...it would be so hard to keep the food clean...imagine chopping veggies on a windy day. Yikes!
I was a bit disappointed at first, only because it seemed much easier and sophisticated to cook on the big cast iron stoves in the other cabins. Our little cabin is the only one on the farm with a hearth kitchen. This class helped me appreciate what an ideal kitchen it really is! I wouldn't mind having one in my own backyard.
We also learned how to cook on a cast iron stove. Cooking on the hearth is SO much easier than working with the iron stoves. I had NO IDEA that cooking on cast irons stoves was so labor-intensive. The stove requires a one hour preparation period and a one hour shut down period, and it must be waxed every time it's used, and 'blacked' every week. All for a loaf of bread? Yikes. No wonder people hired full-time cooks. Preparing a simple dinner would take at least 3-4 hours every day!
During the class the students were unanimous in thinking the hearth was much easier to cook on, which I wouldn't have expected. I'm looking forward to getting more experience with it. It's just fascinating to me to learn how our ancestors lived. It sure gives me a deep appreciation for how easy it is to cook on a 'modern' stove with gas burners. There's no need to feed the fire and tend it constantly. Just CLICK and the fire is ready. No ashes to deal with, and no cast iron utensils to lift.
After the class we explored the premises. I love the wooded path near the Tonkawa Indian camp. It's so beautiful and peaceful. This is my favorite spot in the farm.