Friday, January 17, 2014

Yea Olde Wood Cookstove

Yea Olde Wood Cookstove

Have any of you got a wood cookstove? They are a marvelous thing in all their Stove Blacked cast iron and nickel glory!

I have one and love it dearly. My first memories of our wood stove come from childhood, the early morning rattle of stove lids as my mother got the fire going and started breakfast for my Father before he went out to do chores on the farm. The stove lids clatter was invariably followed by the smell of bacon and coffee. Still two of  my favorite morning smells! The the gentle warming of the air around my nose as  it peeped out from under the blankets signaled the fire heating up the cast iron stove and the start of a new day. The old house was heated by the wood stove, and in winter it was quite cold in the back bedroom my brother and I shared.

We grew up loving the wood heat and toasting our toes by the stove when we came in from the outdoors.  Food always seem to have rich flavor and  a pot of soup simmering on the back of the stove would fill the house with the delicious smell of our lunch to be.  Bread baking days came on Monday and My mother would have crusty gold loaves sitting to cool on the table in no time at all.  Watching our Mother slide a turkey grown on our farm into the over on Christmas day filled our heads with wonder and the secret hope we would get the wishbone and maybe a drumstick!  And the taste..oh it was heaven!

Our dinner was served  in bowls  or on  plates that had been kept in the warming oven, food served on warm plates seems to retain more flavor than on modern plates out of the cupboard. Of course these were memories from child hood. We grew up and my Mother divorced and we moved away from the farm, the wood cookstove was replaced by a fancy new electric range.  The kitchen wasn't as warm somehow, the forced air furnace kept the new house at a steady temperature all day and night, so why didn't we feel as cozy?

Life moved on and somehow I ended up back on our farm, working with my father and now as an adult learning to cook on the wood stove! The first thing I noticed was it was warmer again! Then it was my turn to get up and start the day by getting the stove lit and burning. Coffee...I found out it boils over alot quicker on a wood stove depending where you out the pot! My first attempts a a roast of beef had a unique result, blackened on one side and near raw on the other, the oven was either COLD..or 700 degree's! It was simply a nightmare!  My Father had a genius idea, he stoked the stove and got the oven right, I prepared the food to cook! I finally got the hang of it, cut the wood smaller and more uniformly and stoke it steadily but not overfill the firebox! We were a real team!

The strange thing is food really does taste better from the wood heated oven...I have no idea why but it does, I never had a dry turkey until I cooked in an electric over at a friend place one Christmas. Roast beef in a wood oven is miles above one done in a gas oven. 

 I cannot imagine not using my Old McClary, it has fed me and warmed me from childhood and has seen my failures as a cook and helped me make great success's as a cook!  It has had coffee boiled over on it Bread burned to charcoal in it and has  huge farm raised Thanksgiving Turkeys come out smelling like heaven and glistening gold brown and crisp skinned!  Goose at Easter and Chocolate cake for many a birthday, it is a grand old behemoth and will sit in my  kitchen warming plates. toes and even chilled lambs for as long as I am here!

Thanks for the memories hardly does the stove justice! My Olde Woodstove!


  1. What a lovely post~I do not have a cookstove, but we do have only a woodstove for heat. We cook on it as well. I love the warmth of the stove and totally get that some parts far from it are cooler in the morns. My bedroom is that way but I love that I can go to the stove and feel real warmth to my bones.

    Love the post...and thank you for stopping by my blog.
    Have a lovely day.


  2. my my my......such a writer....I was right there with you....
    I have a little memory of a was a gas space my grandpa's house....I loved to stay over at his home....He would get up before dawn and turn up the stove or light it if he needed to start it
    It had a pretty flame that I loved looking at...the closet thing I had back then to a fireplace....
    Glad to read that you moved back with dad and learned the ways of the farm/ranch
    now I must go and read on.!