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Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors


Cooking in the Old Country

by Nick Tullius, 5 Oct 2009


The people of the Banat villages cooked their meals on cooking stoves called "Sparherd" (translates something like "economy stove"), which was either built with masonry all around and cast iron rings on top, or made of iron/steel (not necessarily cast iron) lined with brick or ceramics. In addition to the cooking rings on top, the cooking stove had a baking compartment, with a door opening on the side ("Ofenröhre"). The latter was used mainly for baking. The combustible material was mainly firewood and corn cobs (after the kernels had been removed).

Typically there was a cooking stove in the main kitchen, and another one in the summer kitchen. The idea was to keep the main building cool during the very hot summer days.

In the winter, the big room-heating ovens were used for baking bread, several loafs at a time, but also had a cooking compartment for cooking and warming up of one-pot dishes, such as stews, cabbage rolls, etc. These burned mainly corn stalks (after the leaves had been eaten off by the cows), but the fire was started with some straw. Because of their large mass of bricks and masonry, they kept warm throughout the winter night.

Most yards also had a built-in large black kettle, wood-fired, and used for a variety of applications, such as boiling water for rendering of the pig; melting the pork fat to make lard; cooking the "Leberwurst; but also for boiling laundry during the big wash, and cooking the home-made soap and maybe even cooking large amounts of "Paprikasch" for a wedding.

Open fires anywhere in the yard would have been dangerous, because of all the combustible material around (such as stacks of straw, chaff, corn stalks), so they were essentially "verboten".

[Edited by Rose Mary Keller Hughes. Published at DVHH by Jody McKim Pharr]



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