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posted November 21, 2005

Free Permits to Cook at the Cob Fireplace

The fireplace in the cob courtyard near the playground is ready for use. It has a metal arm called a "crane" inside at the top, which has holes for hanging cooking pots (with s-hooks). It can swing around so the pots can hang wherever the cooks want -- over the hottest part of the fire, or off to the side where it's cooler.

Last spring, Bridget Wranich, who is in charge of the historical kitchen at Fort York, lent us a book about "cranes" and other Victorian kitchen implements. In the middle of November, Jutta stopped off to return the book. Bridget wasn't there, but a volunteer cook named John Hammond was.

Mr.Hammond is very knowledgable about pioneer cooking. He had just cooked a pork roast over the fire by suspending it from a nail with a string which he twisted around every 15 minutes and then let it gradually unwind itself (thereby turning the meat in front of the fire). He showed Jutta how he had caught the drippings in a little bowl set on the hearth underneath the roast, and used the drippings to baste the roast over and over. The roast was stuffed with herbs from the Fort York gardens. Jutta thought it was the most delicious thing she'd ever tasted.

Some of the park cooks want to try this, and anyone else who wants to get a (free) permit to make a fire in the cob fireplace can try it too. Open fireplaces are a wonderful place to cook, and winter is the time to begin. For more information about using the cob fireplace, and borrowing the park's s-hooks, dutch oven, trivets, and cast-iron frying pans, call the park at 416 392-0913 and ask for Mayssan. She'll connect you with the park cooks. Or you can e-mail her at

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