Saturday, July 3, 2010
the joys of cooking on the woodstove
Over the last year we have had the pleasure of learning to cook on the woodstove. Our stove is an old Stanley traditional. We got it second hand, and it had had a rough life. It also came to us in pieces!
Woodstove cooking is not as quick as using gas or electric stoves, and you do need to get the wood, chop it up and put it in, rather than simply turn a knob and paying bills. Sometimes it can take an hour to get it going nicely (usually when I am rushing because I didn't light the stove early enough and its almost tea time).
On the small amount of wood it uses, it cooks (the equivalent of about 4-5 hot plates plus the oven at the same time), heats the room and our hot water, dries the clothes, keeps the bread warm while it rises and boils the kettle. I don't think there are many appliances that can do all that with the one input of 'fuel'. And the fuel can be grown on our land!!!!
It also lends itself to slow cooking, you can cook chutneys for hours, cook dried beans the day before you need them while the fire dies off for the night, stews can cook all day on the 'cold' side of the stove (Woostoves usually have a 'hot' section directly above the fire box, and then cooler areas moving away from it - so rather than turning the stove down to simmer, you just move your pot).
It bakes bread nicely, and we have cooked all sorts of cakes and biscuits in it. I keep my sourdough starter on top of the stove on the plate warmer rack (which gets used for lots of things but never for warming plates - there is always something on it!!!)
We love our slow combustion wood stove, and have used it through the summer (we found running it every 2-3 days to bake the bread was enough to keep the hot water hot). Summer use is just a matter of keeping the flue open to let out the heat rather than retaining it in the stove.
To me the woodstove is a 'symbol' of the slow, simple, back to basics lifestyle, that we are passionate about.