the Oven


 For millennia, not much has changed in the way we bake our goods. One only needs something to bake, a heat source and a way to contain both. In these modern days, we have digitally-regulated hot boxes fueled by gas or electricity with pushbutton convenience, built-in timers and a myriad of one-touch settings. Thirty years ago, the standard oven was similar, but with a single knob to control temperature. A hundred and fifty years prior, nothing but wood fire - the standard since at least the emergence of written history.


So why a wood-fired oven? Besides the ambiance and living amidst an abundance of fuel (wood), the oven design and material hold a tremendous amount of stable and even heat energy, unlike household and even most commercial ovens. One well-tended fire can provide a day of pizza and direct-fire cooking. The next morning, the ash and any coals are removed and several loaves of bread are baked, not to mention the day's meals. That evening, a pot of beans or a slab of roast beast can be tucked away for a long night braise. Removed the next morning, enough even heat remains to render lard or dry herbs. All off one firing of the oven! And the bread - oooh the bread!