ST. AUSTELL PARISH
My Grandfathers Home
By A. O. Crowle
J. Mosman, OPC
It was an old house with the living room floor constructed of slabs of granite on which was sprinkled dry sand to take up the dirt from the men's boots. There was no cooking range or coal. The fireplace was a large opening in the end wall of the room. The floor of the hearth being large slabs of granite on which the fire burned. The fuel was furze and turf which was cut on the downs, this was brought home and built into a rick near the house. Each house would have its " fuzy and tuff " ricks. Built in the wall on one side of the hearth was a cloam oven for the baking of bread and cakes. For boiling meat and vegetables, an iron crock was used which was suspended from a cross-bar and hung over the fire. The baking of pies, pasties and tarts was done by heating a baking iron, this was a large round thick sheet of iron. It was placed on a "brandis" or trivit over the fire and when sufficiently heated was placed flat on the floor of the hearth and the food placed on it. Then an iron bowl called the "baker" was placed over the baking iron in such a way that the food to be cooked was completely covered, then the hot ashes from the furze and turf fire were piled around and over the bowl, this was then left until the food was properly cooked. The following is an old saying, "They that got clain shinin` slabs, ain't got any mait to ait "; in other words if a hearth was clean very little cooking was done. Cream had a delicious flavour when scalded on a furze fire, and often, as a boy, I loved to spend a day or two at this house and enjoy the Meledor "Blackberries and cream ". When the days work was over my grandfather would sit in the high backed settle in front of the fire and read the only book in the house "The Bible".
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