Information about work, life and play in Regional Australia

Friday, April 25, 2008

In memory of our old fuel stove

I was trying to cook a roast chook, hen for the benefit of those not used to Australian slang. Our oven is small, it has a grill that hangs down at the top, so that it is very hard to fit two baking trays in the oven.

This cast my mind back in a fit of nostalgia to 202 Marsh Street, the house in which I grew up. That had a stove, a real fuel stove of the type that used to go 24 hours a day.

The oven itself was not huge, just a little bigger than the one I have now. However, it was the combination of features that made the old-fashioned stove so great.

Just below the oven was a warming oven. This allowed me to transfer dishes from the main oven just to keep warm or to slow cook if I increased the heat.

The hot plate was huge, running the length of the stove. Hot at one end, cooler at the other, this allowed me to cook multiple dishes moving them along to cooler spots as required. So once the gravy was done, for example, I could move it to the other end to keep warm.

Yes, there were some difficulties. For example, a fuel stove does not heat quickly in the way that a gas or electric stove might, so you have to manage this. But still, once you had mastered this, the ease of cooking was great.


Anonymous said...

Hello Jim. I remember my Gradmothers heavy black fuel stove at Blanchetown in the Riverland of South Australia.My brother, grandma and I would gather wood in the early crispy mornings when we went there for holidays, all to the backdrop of carking crows and cockatoos, and the heavy flapping of pelican wings. Thank you for the memories ( and re your previous post, I found an old fringed caramel-coloured tartan picnic rug recently,exactly as we used for picnics when I was a child.I'm sure its from the late 50's,early 60's.I love it.

Anonymous said...

Good thing I don't know how to cook much... :D I won't have problems with stoves...

Jim Belshaw said...

Thank you both for your comments. Pam, your comment captured the nostalgia bit rather brilliantly.

SIA, with the old stoves, learning to cook was partly learning to use the stove. You could do more, but had to know how to do it! We have to work out a way of encouraging you to cook - it's fun.