Tuesday, March 1, 2016

SOL16 Day 1

I'm involved in something rather different this month--the Slice of Life daily writing challenge, sponsored by Two Writing Teachers.    They are, obviously, both writers and teachers, and the challenge is for teachers to exercise our own writing muscles by writing daily vignettes.

I'm sure I will still work books into my posts--and indeed, may double post on occasion, when I want to participate in a TTT or write a review.

This morning, however, I'm thinking about 19th century (and earlier) kitchens.

This is prompted in part by reading Kate Atkinson's Life After Life recently.  While it's firmly 20th century, much of the book takes place in a WWI era English home in which a single income family is able to afford a cook, a scullery maid, and an additional servant.  As I was cooking dinner the other night, I suddenly wondered--how did cooks make dinner in the winter before there was good lighting?  Did they cook by candlelight?  Or did they eat dinner ridiculously early?  Kerosene or oil lanterns must have been standard at some point, but going back to medieval days, cooks in castles and manors must have had really dark working conditions.

A few days ago, I also managed to burn my hand opening the oven door.  I responded quickly, running it under cold water, then resting it on a towel-wrapped ice pack during dinner.  It still hurt after dinner, so my husband dug out the aloe spray for me.  I had to use the ice pack to get in order to get to sleep, but at some point in the night it fell to the floor, and by the time I woke up, there was no pain.  It stings a bit when I first step into a hot shower, and I have a tic-tac sized mark on the back of my hand, but otherwise, it's fine.

This got me thinking--before freezers, if your burned yourself even a bit, it must have been a much more painful and lasting experience.  It must have nearly always blistered, which makes infection more possible.  The conventional wisdom, I've heard, had them putting butter on burns, which sounds like a terrible idea.  Once again, there are definite perks to living today.

11 comments:

  1. I love how you take us through your wandering of thought while cooking dinner. Sorry about the burn and glad it is healing.

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  2. I love how you take us through your wandering of thought while cooking dinner. Sorry about the burn and glad it is healing.

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  3. Things were not so sanitary back then either so I wonder if working in dark conditions was more appetizing. I remember reading that the Pilgrims ate in the dark on the Mayflower so they wouldn't see the bugs crawling in their "ship's biscuits" in the book Eating the Plates. I hope you're feeling better. Burns are not fun.

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  4. Things were not so sanitary back then either so I wonder if working in dark conditions was more appetizing. I remember reading that the Pilgrims ate in the dark on the Mayflower so they wouldn't see the bugs crawling in their "ship's biscuits" in the book Eating the Plates. I hope you're feeling better. Burns are not fun.

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    1. That is a terrifically disgusting detail! I will have to share it with my kids. :)

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  5. After reading your post, I think our brains may work in a similar fashion. Then I read your about me section and find that we have similar reading tastes! I think I will be visiting here often! Thanks for your post and participation in SOLSC. Here is my first ever SOLSC... http://sometimesfabuloussometimesfail.blogspot.com/2016/03/these-moments-sol16.html

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  6. I got to thinking about camp cooking and making a meal in my kitchen; how much work it was to boil water, to use only what we carried in our backpacks, and clean up. In my kitchen I can whip up a meal relatively easily and quickly.
    Yesterday my 87 year old mother, who lives with me, asked, "What did we do before microwaves?"

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    1. I know my mom grew up milking a cow and separating the cream out--she talked about what a PAIN that device was to wash. I also wonder what will seem ridiculously complicated to future generations, of course.

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  7. I need to look for this book - it sounds interesting! Your post also made me think of Downton Abbey - and all the work it took to get a meal prepared with so little light, and everything prepared by hand.

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  8. I need to look for this book - it sounds interesting! Your post also made me think of Downton Abbey - and all the work it took to get a meal prepared with so little light, and everything prepared by hand.

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  9. Oooh, I love a fellow reader-teacher-slicer! I'm excited to see what comes next from you... I read Life After Life. It's funny, this made me want to pick it up again and check a few passages out. The kitchen bit here, totally brought to mind the Downton Abbey staff and how they ate too. I'll have to go back and click on your review of the book up there.

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