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Cooking on a Wood Cookstove


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Hi Everyone,


I love my wood cookstove (it's an Elmira Oval) which I cook on and use to heat the house for about 7 months of the year.  It is so versatile--I can boil, bake, can, fry, steam, grill over hardwood, and use the amazing warming oven to keep things warm(Coffee, tea, etc) and even mittens and socks. If you have ever cooked on one, let me know what you like and don't like.


Also, I just restored this awesome waffle maker for the cookstove. Enjoy!



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We had a wood-burning range when I was a teen, living in northern Newfoundland (electricity came from a few truck-sized diesel generators, and was thoroughly unreliable).


It's a whole other approach to cookery, that's for sure. When I first read about the AGA and its mantra of "you don't *set* the temperature you want, you *find* the temperature you want" it made perfect sense to me. Obviously on a cookstove you do have some control over the temperature, if you manipulate the vents and dampers and choose which woods you burn (we always had some poplar set aside for lower-temp cooking and baking, for example). It frustrated my mother terribly at times, because she didn't grow up with a wood-burner, but my father was very skilled at maintaining a stable temperature.



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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three


"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning


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Looks like our wood stoves are cousins. Mine is a Elmira Sweetheart - slightly smaller than the Oval. We originally had an antique Findlay Oval, which I loved, for over 20 years. Then our insurance company decided to send out an inspector who told us that we had to remove it or lose our coverage. I was distraught. Fortunately we were able to find the Sweetheart, which is a modern reproduction of the original Findlay model and built to code so that it could be legally installed. What a relief. This stove is the centrepiece of my kitchen, providing heat in the kitchen and a handy cooking surface. In the summer I use it as a filling cabinet and extra counter space. 


After all these years using the cookstove, I think I'm pretty good at using it to cook on the surface and can make a fire in about 5 minutes, without a match. Never quite got the hang of the oven for actual baking purposes, but it's perfect for keeping things warm, warming up a pan of leftovers or crisping a loaf of bread. As Chromedome very accurately put it, you don't set the temperature you need, you find the temperature you can use. This means juggling pots on the top - far left back corner is usually the hottest and the right front is the coolest. If I need a really hot fire quickly, I'll throw in some small dry bits. To hold a fire overnight, go for the heaviest densest piece of hardwood in the pile. 


Of course I also have an electric oven and a gas cooktop. But whenever the cookstove is going, it's my first choice. 




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My paternal grandmother cooked/baked via one for decades.


We had one at home, a Pittston — made in Pennsylvania.


I had a small wood cookstove in my cabin.

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~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!


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