How Did people Cook Without Pots and Pans?
I love to cook. I have used one of my pans for over 40 years. It’s a simple sauce pan, stainless steel, with a copper lining at the base. It’s been with me so long that I take it for granted.
But recently I started thinking about how people cook without either kitchen stoves or metal pots. Sure there were open fires with clay pots, but what about before that? Was everything just roasted on a stick?
It turns out that there is a whole cooking technology – still in use today – where food can be boiled without any pot at all.
When I first heard that I said, “What?!!!”
Imagination got the best of me…
And then my imagination zinged off to a very science fiction solution of using force fields, generated by super conductors, to suspend water and vegetables over a heat source.
But wait a minute… If a society didn’t have the use of metal, they might not yet have super conductors either. Right?
Okay then, how about crystals? Like the ones outer space aliens showed the ancient Egyptians how to use so they could move the stones to build their pyramids…
Oh. Wait a minute. Wrong reality again.
No this solution doesn’t come from Star Trek, nor Egypt. It doesn’t even involve UFOs.
Nope. This is a technology so simple that any of us could do it in the backyard.
The real story of how to boil without pots and pans…
So here is how you would boil vegetables in ancient Ireland. You dig a hole in a peat bog. Then you build a roaring fire nearby. Come back to the hole with your carrots and notice that water has seeped into the hole from the sides of the soggy pit. That’s good.
Put the food in the water. Then roll a number of hot stones from the fire into the pit until the water boils. Continue to add hot stones to maintain the boil until the food is ready. Spear the food with a sharp stick to remove it from the water and… Enjoy.
Pretty cool, huh? The only technology required is a means to light the fire. And there isn’t even a pot to wash.
But what if you don’t live near a bog or in the damp Pacific Northwest? Simple pits in less soggy soil can be made sufficiently water-tight by lining them with leaves or small rocks. Then you would follow the same recipe but just add water before the food and the hot stones.
The thing that appeals to me the most about this method is that it doesn’t require any special tools at all. What a boon for a nomadic lifestyle. There is nothing to pack up.
But I don’t plan to give away my stainless steel pans just yet. That’s the thing about our modern lifestyles, we have so many wonderful conveniences due to our technology. But when we move to a new home, we may think we need to bring our entire store of tools with us. Just as we may be surprised at the idea of boiling food without a pot, we may also be surprised to find that we don’t necessarily need every last pot and pan when we downsize in a move. Sometimes less can be more. Still not sure I could give up that old sauce pan though.