Feb 12, 2010

Our "Warmest Friend"

One of the unique features of living on the farm is cooking on and in the woodstove in the kitchen of the main house.  Although we are still working on the finishing of the room, (the wood floor has to be removed and reset, the walls papered and ceiling painted, the cabinets finished, etc.), it is still the coziest place to be on a cold winter's day. 

Lighting the stove is the first task to be done in the morning.  The surface must be scrubbed thoroughly  with a metal pad, then rinsed and wiped clean with a coarse linen cloth before the fire is built inside.
                                                                                                                                                             The ashes from the previous day are scraped out and dumped into the ash bucket to be carried outside to the ash heap behind the haybarn.
                                      Then 1,2, goes the crumpled paper, pieces of bark and small wood slivers, and finally logs graduating from small to large. 

Strike the match!

It burns and heats up while we are out in the barn so that when we come in again the cooking can begin immediately. That really matters because it is a tight schedule to get the breakfast prepared and on the table, the morning devotional of hymn singing, prayer, and scripture reading accomplished without rushing and Gustav off to the school bus in Junsele by 6:50 A.M.
Not an easy task....

When Nainy first came to the farm she had never cooked on a wood stove before.  She had to learn from scratch.  There are no dials to click on/off to regulate the heat on the surface or in the oven...that has to be done by the amount of wood in the firebox and the flow of the draft under the fire...a skill  gained only by practice, trial & error, and  finally, experience.  Cast iron and stainless steel are the utensils of choice on the farm.  With the exception of well-seasoned cast iron, there is NO non-stick anything on the farm.

At the beginning, there were a few "burn-o's" like this one accompanied by a fair amount of frustration, disappointment and occasionally even tears.  It was hard for her to have  failures when she had been used to cooking and baking well with such ease using an electric or gas cooktop and oven.
She told us later that one day, when things had been especially trying, she  wanted to stand in the middle of the kitchen and scream:

Could we please just get a normal stove?!!

But with time all that has changed...and here are a few examples:

Fruity yeast rolls, pineapple upside down cake,

Swedish pancake breakfast with bacon and eggs, Thanksgiving turkey,

The ingredients and final prep work for our traditional Sunday dinner of  oven roast covered with fresh herbs and fresh vegetables in cast iron, and spuds ready to be boiled in stainless steel and turned into "potato mash" as it is called in Sweden,

and, of course,  breads of every kind fresh from the stone-lined wood oven.  These are sunflower wheat, country french and sourdough rye, all made in the woodstove.

It's official:

We love our woodstove.
We love the warmth and cozy feeling it brings into our home from September to May each year.
Nainy loves the challenge and joy of making beautiful food for our family in it.

We wouldn't trade it for the world!


MStevenson said...

I don't know how you do it. You're such a good cook, I bet you make the best meals!

That bread, the bottom picture look like its from a magazine.


em-il-ie said...

That rbead looks divine.
But I looove that you snapped a picture of the burn-o. I have had a few of those myself in an ELECTRIC oven!