a.k.a. the Summer Kitchen
We are soon going to be headed for the warmer months, yet again, when those of us living with and cooking with wood could do without the added heat from cooking indoors.
For this very reason those especially in the southern States and other warmer climes, including the settlers in Australia, have built and used outdoor kitchens. Some of those are and have been elaborate structures, brick-built some even, some simple, often just wooden shacks or lean-to structures, and some folks simply cooked outside over an open fire, and such.
An iron cooking pot over an open fire and the deep skillet suspended from the iron tripod of the “kettle iron” was the way it was done with the poor Blacks in the South of the United States and with the Gypsy, and how it often is still dome with the Rom, the Gypsy, in Eastern Europe.
This way is not, however, a very fuel efficient way and method of cooking, even though wood is, theoretically and practically, a renewable resource and in some places, where many of the homesteads are, quite abundant. A well-designed and -constructed summer kitchen with the right kind of wood stoves is the much better option than just cooking over an open fire. Added to that the convenience of a roof of sorts just in case it should rain.
Anyone with his own permanent homestead, in my view, even if not in the warm and hot regions, might well consider an outdoor kitchen, even if just on the back porch, for instance. This way the cabin, the homestead, is not, unnecessarily, overheated in summer from the heat of cooking and baking, often either resulting in tThe outdoor Kitchenhe residents being uncomfortable and that's it or the use of air conditioning, ceiling fans and other fans and such like, all requiring energy to run.
By removing the heat from cooking and baking from the interior of the house to an outdoors facility, that is to say, into the summer kitchen, more than one bird is being killed with one stone.
Depending on the area, as in geographical area, of residence such an outdoor- or summer-kitchen will have walls or not and where there are walls to be used then ideally those should be wooden and constructed rather like large doors that can be opened in real hot weather, and when it is not raining, to make work over stove and oven a little less hot.
Now, before summer cometh, is the time to look at building or setting up your very own summer kitchen and, as we have said before, this can be an elaborate affair of a special building, just a porch kind of construction, like a car porch, a lean-to at the side of the house, arranged on the back porch (or the front porch even) or just cooking outside over and open fire or, using a stove, such as were used in Gypsy caravans of years gone by, the so-called “Queenie” stoves, or similar, just outside in the yard. My grandmother and mother cooked like that for years.
No, I am not about to give you – at least not on this here Homesteader Blog – detailed descriptions and blueprints for the creating of such a “summer kitchen”. This is because no two situations are ever the same as regards to where and how to put up a summer kitchen. All I intend to do here is to give you food for thought for a summer- or outdoor kitchen.
© Michael Smith (Veshengro), January 2008