Earthenware cookpot attempt #2

This is the second post from the old, archived Dagorhir forums about my cook pot experiments from back in 2010. In the first attempt, I managed to boil water, but the pot did not survive. In this, my second, I managed to successfully correct my earlier mistakes and the pot performed perfectly (grog in the clay body, and placing the pot in indirect heat beside rather than in the fire seem to have been the keys).

Seven years later, I still have four of these pots, and I’m hoping to bring them out to an event soon to see what else I can learn through further experimentation.

(Original post from May 4, 2010)

After reading everyone’s wonderful advice from my last attempt at cooking in earthenware (both here and on the Armour Archives), I went back to the studio, made some new pots, and gave it another go. It was a total success.

The pots are, again, a white earthenware. This time I wedged a bunch of grog into the clay to give it a more open body for conducting heat. As a plus, the grog made the clay incredibly easy to throw.

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I decided to set the pot in the fire this time, rather than hanging it above the fire. I cleared a patch within the fire ring and set the full pot down next to the fire. (For those of you who are curious, the pot is holding a soup made from chicken, barley, carrots, parsnips, turnips, rosemary, sage, and thyme.)

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As the pot began to warm up, I moved it closer to the coals. Soon, the water on one side of the pot was beginning to bubble slowly.

At this point, I started pulling coals out of the fire and placing them around the pot. Some of them were touching the sides of the pot. To keep my bed of coals alive I piled some more wood into the fire in a semi circle around the pot(leaving an opening for me to reach in and stir the pot). As the heat built up the water in the pot started boiling violently, so much so that we had to add more water to the pot.

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The soup cooked quickly – the chicken was ready to eat less than 45 minutes after I put the pot in the fire. It also tasted really good (though we decided to use more rosemary and celery and no carrots, sage, or thyme next time).

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I’ve got six more of these in the kiln right now – goodbye stainless steel!

About the author: Alric