Our Pioneers Knew Their Ovens Newspaper Article.

Go down

Our Pioneers Knew Their Ovens Newspaper Article. Empty Our Pioneers Knew Their Ovens Newspaper Article.

Post  Guest on Tue May 03, 2011 8:01 pm

Our Pioneers Knew Their Ovens Newspaper Article.

By W. P. THORNTON

CITY people find it hard to realise that gas and electricity play no part in the lives of thousands of their fellow Australians. They find it even harder to visualise the primitive sort of existence which the average pioneer wife and mother accepted without question. Many started their married life cooking over a camp oven-surely one of the simplest of kitchen amenities.
This oven was hung over a fire in an open fire place. After the lid had been put on, it was covered with glowing wood and ashes. Food thus cooked was truly delicious for the oven retained all its juices and flavour. To-day the camp oven is used only by drovers and a few campers of the more sensible sort.

AS the pioneer family raised its standards it was able to afford a colonial oven-an uncomplicated type of fuel stove but an advance on the camp oven. I doubt if you will find a colonial oven in use anywhere in Australia now, but there was a time when it was as popular as, the ordinary fuel stove is in the country "to-day. Most pioneer homes had a large fireplace in the kitchen with big hobs on either side. When food was cooked, it was placed on these hobs to keep warm. Perched over one end of the fire, with its polished brass tap, was the domestic hot water "fountain." It seldom let the family down for in most kitchens the fire was never allowed to go out. When the household retired for the night the fire would be raked into a heap in the centre of the fire- place and covered with ashes. Next morning the ashes were raked away, some wood added, and in a few minutes there was a roaring blaze. And, of course, there were the bellows, always at hand to coax a stubborn fire; the poker, a pair of tongs, and a stack of firewood nearby in a big box were other accessories. Country women took great pride in their fireplaces which were regularly white-washed (usually with pipeclay obtained from the bush).

WHO would dream of comparing, gas or electricity-made toast with the kind that is made before a dying fire of wood? If you have never toasted bread and cheese at an open fireplace you have missed a lot in life, let me tell you. And what of mushrooms roasted on a sheet of iron placed neatly over the flames? Words fail me! Suffice it to say they were virtually indescribable and their flavour and bouquet never to be forgotten.
Some country homes had a little brick oven built a few yards from the house. This was used for bread making. The oven was usually fired with wattle wood. When this had burnt down 'ashes were raked out, and the tins of prepared dough placed in the oven. Even when the loaves were baked the oven was still hot enough to bake cakes or to roast .a joint or a rabbit. Home-made bread kept fresh for a week, and was of excellent quality,
ONE family on the South Coast made a fine oven out of a termites mound. A cavity was dug in the "ant-hill" (as such mounds are called), an iron lid was fashioned and a hole made in the top to let the smoke out. Food for several people was cooked in that strange oven.
Some families, of course, tried the aborigines' methods. A fowl, fish, or rabbit would be covered with clay and baked until the clay was hard and showed signs of cracking. Prepared in this way it was delectable. but all that is of the past.
For alas, it is not only the pioneer who has left us. His spirit and resourcefulness have also departed from this land.

The Sydney Morning Herald
1949
http://newspapers.nla.gov.au/



Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Our Pioneers Knew Their Ovens Newspaper Article. Empty Re: Our Pioneers Knew Their Ovens Newspaper Article.

Post  Billy on Tue May 03, 2011 9:05 pm

Top post James Very Happy
That brings back some great memories of my own upbringing, in particular of our always warm kitchen. My parents sold the property I grew up on about 10 years ago and up until that time the kitchen had a slow combustion stove which also heated our hot water.
If we went away and the stove went out (which it rarely did), on return we would have to stoke it back up and wait for the water to heat up so showers could be had. Not a big deal as I guess thats all I knew. It also had a tray underneath the oven which Mum would put all her baking trays and thus was assured that they would always be dry and ready for the next (famous) home cooked bikkies and cake.
Above the oven there were 2 big circular cast plates that had covers on them to keep the heat in and at the back of these a kettle was always sitting ready for that "cuppa". Above this and built around the flue were 2 airing cupboards that went to the ceiling. In these we would hang any damp clothes or place other things that we needed to dry but not to quickly.
The stove temp and air flow was regulated by 2 levers at the base of the flue and several times the chimmeny caught fire due to them being open too wide or the wood being too "hot" and other reasons.
That oven/kitchen was the "heart of the house" and many a sick lamb or other orphaned animal was nursed back to health on a blanket placed in front of it.
Cooking chops (sorry lambs) in a frypan was a hit and miss affair sometimes, but usually they would be well done and crispy as! (beewdifull!!) Roasts on the other hand slow cooked in the oven were a work of art and although I have had plenty since I reckon the best ever were those cooked in that temperamental oven that Mum mastered and Dad fed tons and tons of wood to in the many years they lived and raised a family on that property.
We did some rough calculations on amount of roasts cooked in that oven and it worked out to be around 4 thousand!!! That equates to nearly the full carrying capacity of sheep on the property and works out to be about 2 1/2 a week which would be about right. (@#%^$ we ate alot of sheep) Shocked
Must say Mums roasts and bikkies etc are still legendary and she has mastered the electric well, but reckon the old man is secretly thankful that the only wood he has to get now is for the big slow combustion heater in the lounge room where 1 big log will last the whole night through, and if its a good one, the next day as well Very Happy
Again James top post as are all your others that I have read.
Billy
Billy
Contributor Plus
Contributor Plus

Number of posts : 271
Age : 45
Registration date : 2011-04-08

Back to top Go down

Our Pioneers Knew Their Ovens Newspaper Article. Empty Re: Our Pioneers Knew Their Ovens Newspaper Article.

Post  Guest on Tue May 03, 2011 9:26 pm

Billy that also was a top yarn mate, my upbringing was very much in the same order. My word how much have we lost… makes ya wonder give me the good old days anytime. Cheers mate

cheers

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Our Pioneers Knew Their Ovens Newspaper Article. Empty Re: Our Pioneers Knew Their Ovens Newspaper Article.

Post  Billy on Tue May 03, 2011 9:56 pm

The world is IMHO, "running too fast for its legs to keep up!"
Like the idea of a slower, more simple life.
Some of the stuff we got now is pretty cool though cheers
Billy
Billy
Contributor Plus
Contributor Plus

Number of posts : 271
Age : 45
Registration date : 2011-04-08

Back to top Go down

Our Pioneers Knew Their Ovens Newspaper Article. Empty Re: Our Pioneers Knew Their Ovens Newspaper Article.

Post  Guest on Wed May 04, 2011 8:19 am

Billy wrote:The world is IMHO, "running too fast for its legs to keep up!"
Like the idea of a slower, more simple life.
Some of the stuff we got now is pretty cool though cheers

How true mate how true. cheers
cheers

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum