I’m a big fan of cast-iron. If you’re a regular reader, you aren’t surprised. There’s no such thing as air-conditioning in this area. In the summer we cook with dutch ovens outside. And in the winter the wood stove keeps our house warm–so why not just cook on it?
The problem is, it’s different than a regular stove and oven. And that intimidates people–so much that’s it’s nearly a forgotten art. But I think everyone should have a working knowledge of cooking on a wood stove.
Not convinced? Hear me out and see if I can sway you…
Here are my top reasons to learn how to cook on a wood stove:
1. It’s a piece of history!
I’m no good at history, but even I think it’s pretty cool to learn about things people used to do as a part of their daily lives and then try it. It’s quite possible that your grandparents used to cook this way as a way of life. I know mine did (as well as my parents and my in-laws). I think about this when I’m cooking on the stove sometimes.
2. It’s a cheap way to heat your home.
We cut our own firewood from trees that fall down over the years. Cooking three meals a day on a wood stove keeps your house warm without paying for electricity. Now I’m not saying you should start off right away with cooking three meals, but can you imagine if you did? Depending on where you live, if you did cook three meals a day on your wood stove, you could possibly not turn on your electricity all day long. Imagine what that would do for your electric bill in the winter? And if you have a gas stove that you aren’t using–it’s a winning combination for your bank account.
3. Your life could depend on it one day.
What if you woke up tomorrow and there was no electricity? We’ve all gone through this here and there for an hour or two. But what if it didn’t come back on for a few days? Or ever?
We live in a cushy world right now where it may be hard to image this. But it could happen overnight Friends. Would you be able to heat your home and keep your family warm? Would you know how to cook without electricity? It’s different, I promise.
4. It gives you life skills.
Once winter hits, we light the wood stove in the front of the house for heat. It stays going 24/7 until it warms up. But the stove we cook on gets lit every time we use it. That’s a lot of fire starting practice. Sometimes there are hot coals left from the last meal and we start the fire from coals–that’s a whole different skill.
You learn how to start a fire (which is not as easy as mother nature would indicate). You learn what burns and what doesn’t. (No, not all wood burns. The woods that do burn, burn at different temperatures for different times and have different smells.)
If you found yourself isolated in the wilderness would you know what could burn and how to start a fire? It’s just a good skill to have.
5. The food tastes better.
Ok, maybe that’s just a personal preference. Wood stoves are wonderful for classic dishes like crumbles, custards, pies and breads.
6. Cast iron lasts for generations
When I lived in the city I was always buying new cookware as pans got scratched or dented and handles broke. If you have real cast iron it can last generations. They are costly upfront many times, but can last 100 years or more. Even a cast iron pan that’s rusted can be cleaned up good-as-new to be used again.
7. It will teach you time management
Everything takes longer to cook on a wood stove–think about the time it takes to cook things in a slow cooker. You have to prepare ahead of time, but it’s less intense cooking.
Have I convinced you yet? Do you already cook on a wood stove?
Share with me your favorite recipe or tell me what you remember your grandparents cooking. Feel free to share a link to a recipe so I can add it to my Dutch Oven board.