Among the items listed on the 1802 Inventory of Joseph Cory were "Iron Kittles (kettles), 2 Dinner pots, Spider Frying pan &ct.” 2 Brass Kittles, Old Iron & Ladle &ct.”
By this time in New Jersey there had already been established a number of active ironworks. References to "Hollow ware", vessels made of cast iron, can be found in various papers within our period. The quality of the pieces, did not seem to vary greatly; wealth simply determined the number of pieces each family owned.
Copper and brass were also employed in making cooking utensils and although lighter and easier to handle than those .made of iron, they were usually costlier.
Listed below are some terms that can be applied to the interpretation of the Main Room of the Miller-Cory House.
BEEHIVE OVEN - A fire separate from that of the hearth was started in the beehive oven for baking. Only after the fire had burned to ashes and been removed, would the items for baking be placed in the oven. With the door closed, the heat retained by the oven bricks would bake the goods. Foods were placed in the oven accordingly; longer cooking items to the rear and shorter ones to the front. Due to the great amount of time required in the baking process, it is unlikely that baking would have been done more than once a week. So-called because the interior shape of the oven resembled a beehive.
COOKING POTS AND KETTLES - Cooking pots usually had bulging sides and a cover whereas kettles had sloping sides and usually no lids. Cooking pots and kettles that were to hang from a crane had rounded bottoms and no feet. If they were to stand on the hearth or be placed on the hot coals, they had three legs. The height of the legs often varied depending on the use.
CRANE - An iron arm attached to one side of the hearth which could be swung away from the fire, allowing the cook to make adjustments in much greater safety than with the lug pole.
DUTCH OVEN - A kettle with a recessed lid used for cooking and baking. Items normally baked in a beehive oven could also be baked in a Dutch oven, often faster. It was placed over hot coals on the hearth with more hot coals added to the lid. The foods, some placed directly on cabbage or maple leaves, received the heat from both top and bottom. Often referred to as a bake kettle.
GRIDDLE - A flat-surfaced pan.
GRIDIRON - Consisted of parallel bars on a frame, either rectangular or circular, with short legs and used for broiling. Was also used at times on a trivet to increase its height over the coals.
HEARTH - Floor of the fireplace and the immediate surrounding area where foods were prepared, cooked and preserved; sometimes for as long as a good 15 hours a day.
KETTLE-TILT- Kettles hung from the crane with trammels could be tipped for easy pouring with the aid of a kettle-tilt. Made of iron.
LUG POLE - A bar which extended across the hearth and positioned into each side of the masonry. Made of wood or iron. With the aid of hanging devices (see: "Trammel"), pots and kettles were suspended from the lug pole - a safety hazard in that the cook had to step into the hearth over the fire to make adjustments. Also, lug poles made of wood at times burned through and fell, sending pots and all into the fire.
PEEL - Made of wood or iron, were long-handled (for safety) tools used to lift foods into the oven. Items not baked in pans were flipped off the peel onto the oven floor or leaves. The baked goods were later removed from the oven, also with the peel.
REFLECTOR OVEN - Usually made of tin (some of copper) - also called "tin kitchen", Would be placed directly in front of the fire and the heat reflected from the oven back roasted the meat. The door allowed the cook access for basting.
SKILLET - In the 18th Century, a skillet was not a frying pan but a small long-handled stew pot with feet.
SPIDER - A frying pan with three short feet for standing among the coals on the hearth and a long handle. So-called because its appearance suggests a spider.
TODDY IRON - Toddy was a hot colonial, drink consisting of' an alcoholic liquor, water, sugar and spices. A heated toddy iron would be used to stir the mixture while at the same time keeping it hot.
TOASTER - Usually made so that two slices of' bread could be stood between hand-wrought iron supports and placed on the hearth. Some had a swivel feature and when given a little kick, would turn, exposing the opposite side to the fire.
TRAMMEL - An adjustable device attached to either a lug pole or crane which enabled pots and kettles to be hung from it at varying levels over the fire. (One of ours is dated 1757).
WAFER IRON - Were often used to make sacramental wafers for churches; were round or oval with engraved designs that appeared on the wafers.
WAFFLE IRON - After being preheated in the coals, the iron was greased, the batter poured and the iron then closed. It was usually balanced on the end of the table while the waffle baked. Retained heat in the iron allowed for 2-3 waffles to bake before the iron needed reheating.
Compiled by the Miller-Cory Education Committee - 12/83
Pleasures of Colonial Cooking
The Groaning Board
Colonial Kitchens, Their Furnishings and the Gardens - Frances Phipps
Museum of Early Trades and Crafts, Madison, NJ