Summer Kitchen Fireplace

The fireplace served many functions in an early New England home.


We used our fireplaces for cooking, heating water for washing and warming the home. This house has two hearths. The dining room served as the winter kitchen. It has a fireplace large enough to cook small meals and has a bee hive oven for baking. The large kitchen [in the ell] was used the other three seasons of the year as a work room for cooking, preserving food, and many other tasks.

Spending hours around a hot fire WAS DANGEROUS WORK. Women and girls did the kitchen work; wearing large skirts. Catching fire could easily end in painful death.

Our every day fare was a one pot meal that we kept hot over the fire; home baked bread and soup, stew or chowder.

While mom did the cooking, children would have to entertain themselves, often, everyday items became part of the play:

Antique Book Illustration
Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold,
Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old;
Some like it hot, some like it cold,
Some like it in the pot, nine days old.

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This feature is made possible by a grant from the Leo J. and Rose Pageau Trust.