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Friday, September 28, 2012

Cooking in Pioneer Times

Cooking has changed drastically over the years. We now have tools for nearly every task imaginable, and the invention of electricity along with the ease of getting it into our homes, has also changed how we cook.

In pioneer days the meals were usually cooked over a fireplace, or if the family was lucky enough to have a wood stove, then their meals could be created there as well.

Cast iron cookware was used in the home as it was able to withstand the heat from the fire. Most meals were simple, vegetables that the family had grown over the summer and preserved for the winter was the main fare at meals, if the family had chickens then eggs would also be incorporated. If the family was lucky there would sometimes be meat available at meal time.

If the family did not have a wood stove then they would cook over a fire in their fireplace, when cooking over the fireplace, most of the foods were cooked in a kettle that would be suspended above the fire on a fireplace crane. When the family wanted toasted bread they would use a roasting iron.

If the family was fortunate enough to have a wood stove for heat and cooking then they had a few more options for cooking.

With the wood stove, foods could be cooked in several different ways with cast iron frying pans, skillets, etc. The wood stove also made cooking a little bit easier and safer as it was dangerous near a fireplace as sometimes women's skirts would get sucked into the fire. 

All photos taken at Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center.
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