Remembering my mothers cook stove
May 18, 2010
The wood cook stove – the most important piece of furniture in the household in the lives of people in years long ago. As I remember my Mom’s stove performed many tasks and never failed in any of them. Building a fire in the stove was the first chore of the day. Besides warming the house, by the time the family was up and about the tea kettle was steaming with hot water. It heated the water in the reservoir so we had warm water for the morning toilet. By the time the family was all washed up, Mom had a kettle of hot oatmeal and a large pan of golden brown biscuits out of the oven and breakfast was ready.
After breakfast, on Mondays the copper boiler was brought in, put on the stove and filled with water from the well, creek or which ever source we had. Since Monday was wash day the fire had to be kept hot to heat the water. Mom also put a roast with potatoes and carrots in the oven so when she had the wash ready for the line, dinner was all cooked and the stove had done double duty as it did almost every day.
Tuesday was ironing day and the top of the stove had to be kept hot to heat those heavy flat irons. Mom also baked bread on Tuesdays and what a day that was – there just is not anything that smells better than freshly starched and ironed clothing mingled with that of bread fresh from the oven. Especially when Mom, with her sweet smile, handed each of us a slice of that bread and butter. That old oven had done double again!
There were many brands of cook stoves, Majestic, Home Comfort, Quick Meal and Copper Clad to name a few. Some of the stoves had a reservoir built on the right side of the oven which held 5 or 10 gallons of water and as long as the stove was hot we had hot, or at least warm water.
Harmon and Enid Kindall moved their Copper Clad from Kansas to Carbondale, Colo., some time in the late 1920s where they raised a large family and used that stove for as long as they lived. If I were to guess I would say there was thousands of loaves of bread baked in that oven in its life time.
As a child our family moved several times and the cook stove was always the first thing loaded in the truck. I wonder if there is any way to figure how many meals my Mom, or anyone’s Mom, cooked on their wood/coal cook stove in their life time. More that I can count, I know that!
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Wood is easier to cook with than coal because it is easier to regulate the amount of heat wanted. Baking bread is an art and the temperature of the oven could make or ruin a batch of bread.
During the cold winter months when us children came in from play or school, half froze, we would shed our outer clothing and Mom put chairs in front of the open oven door and put blankets around our shoulders. The warm air coming from within that oven was like a little bit of heaven, especially when Mom brought us a hot cup of hot cocoa with a dollop of good thick cows cream floating on top. Although it was cold outside we were warm and toasty inside and out and the fire in the cook stove kept on burning, the tea kettle kept on singing and all was well.
That cook stove made our house a home, with Mom and Dad’s help of course. I have to add that we don’t have that kind of comfort and well-being from the cook stoves today and what a shame. We should not forget the Round Oak heating stoves – what a glorious feeling that was to back up to after coming in from the cold out side. We do not know what a good life we had back then.