Inside The Victorian Kitchen

The kitchen was a beehive of activity in the Victorian home, with preparations starting from hours before sunrise and until late into the night. The kitchen was usually a large room with an ample connected pantry.  More than often, it also had sleeping quarters for the cook or the kitchen maid. A Victorian kitchen was a place to chatter or gossip (about the masters and mistress of the house) and to cook sumptuous food.

Until the late 1700’s, the rich and poor shared some similarities when it came to kitchen and one of them was cooking on an open fire. But the turn of century, ushered in a more enlightened Victorian age and with it came the highly efficient cast iron ovens where the Lord of Manor’s cravings for rich baked goods and hearty puddings could be served. Although the new oven was efficient but was not convenient to operate. Coal had to be carried in regularly and ashes had to be removed throughout the day.  A servant would rise early to fire the stove and the domestic kitchen staff was required to keep it stoked all day.

With the passage of time, new stoves were invented that allowed cooks to regulate the temperature by adjusting a series of fuel and metal plates. Later, the gas and electric stoves were introduced which allowed the Victorian cooks to regulate the temperature by adjusting the knobs. It can be rightly said that the Victorian age, was the age of rebirth in the kitchen.

Copper pots, specially tinned on the inside (in order to avoid reaction with certain foods) were replaced with cast iron pots. The tastes of the Victorian era could be reflected by the invention of mass produced kitchen gadgets such as pastry cutters, jelly and pie moulds and biscuit tins. In fact the Victorian era showed the introduction of kitchen tools that are still in use today, such as can opener, cheese graters and potato peelers.

Some household names of today that showed their first appearance during the Victorian era were Perrier water, canned soup, canned pork’s and beans, Tabasco sauce, Gulden mustards and Folgers coffee. The appearance or the popularity of canned food shows that the Victorians struggled between home cooking and the lure of readymade foods.

The cook had a valued position in the Victorian homes and one who bore the title of “Professed cook”, meant that he had the skills to create and organize a fancy bouquet in addition to the daily meal and could earn as much as $72 a year. Cooks and kitchen maids saw or took to their notice, that in spite of any kind of challenge, the Victorian kitchen should produce rich delicacies fit for a Queen.

Well, above are some the most interesting and refreshing facts about the Victorian kitchen. The Victorian era is still remembered by everyone even though we have moved into the 21st century because of its’ historic and classical features.

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