Wednesday, July 29, 2009

And I Thought MY Kitchen Needed Help--A Look Back In Time

I posted earlier this week on my other blog a little bit about our trip Saturday to the Chief Vann House. One of the interesting points about this house is the lack of any kind of kitchen in the main house. Everything was cooked either outside or in the freestanding kitchen building, then brought inside to be served.

This is the kitchen building on the Chief Vann House site, circa 1804--obviously they have redone the foundation and some of the brickwork to make it safe for modern occupation--even just for touring.

(as always, click on any of the pictures to see them in close up detail-then just hit the "back" arrow to come back here)

Look at the size of those timbers!

Can you see the wood shingles?

Not even a cook stove in the early days--this is one of two fireplaces--note the "insert" in the chimney--I assume for baking or keeping things warm.

Somehow the bricked area behind the mannequin must have vented into the chimney--there is a smaller fire box and some grating on top for cook pots--an early 'built in" stove top!

Slightly wider shot

Convenient for the young one whose job it was to keep the fires banked at night and to stir them back up in the mornings, as well as to keep the wood box filled and haul water and supplies as needed.
Did you notice the rope strung back and forth on the bed frame? That gives an added springiness to the "mattress"--a homemade sack filled with straw or corn shucks.

"Fine dining" for the family who staffed the kitchen
(yes, that's a water bottle--there were some nice ladies there demonstrating butter churning, and one of them left her bottle on the table)

Drinking gourd, hanging handily behind the door

I somehow failed the get pictures of the rest of the "front room"--the ladies were passing out home churned butter and crackers, I think I got distracted by my chewing (!) and unfortunately, the pictures from upstairs turned out blurry.

Linking this to Vintage Thingie Thursday at Coloradolady

See pictures of the dining room in the main house for Tablescape Thursday on my other blog, A Virtuous Woman.

Until next time....


  1. Can you imagine having to lug all of the food that you just cooked, from the outdoor kitchen, to the "big house"? But there were probably different people for that too. What a complicated life back then!

  2. wow.. I can't imagine myself living in this home.. especially cooking in the kitchen.. but still I think this kitchen is awesome..

  3. Actually, with no air conditioning, this was a pretty smart idea to keep the "heat of the kitchen" out of the house.

    Mt. Vernon has the same thing - - - I think it's how the wealthy lived in plantation days. I kinida wish I had lived then - - - only my luck, I'd have been one of the servants and not one of the wealthy.

  4. what a gorgeous little cottage hard to believe it was used as an outdoor kitchen..fancy carting the meals from there to the main house, especially in freezing winter!!

  5. Some days I think cooking is so much work, but it is nothing compared to what cooks faced long ago.

    Have a great VTT!

  6. More from your fun tour? Fabulous! Thanks for the history lesson!

  7. Oh, things were so different then -- love the fireplace and wish my kitchen were big enough to have one . . .

  8. Oh I loved all this and the blanket on little bed was just wonderful..,,just looking is awesome, however, I will take our modern kitchens. I can't imagine a womans work back then.. Happy VTT..have a lovely weekend.