Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Carbon neutral cooking...

No I'm not referring to my culinary skills... whatever I put in the pan always turns into carbon. I'm blogging about our new wood cook stove! My mother-in-law and father-in-law are already laughing at us for buying a wood cook stove. They threw theirs out 50 years ago and haven't looked back once. I have romantic notions about being able to cook with fuel we can grow on our farm... and wood is the easiest choice. (BTW, I like to eat, and my wife doesn't like to chop wood, so we'll definitely have a gas stove as well... perhaps someday fired by methane... but that's another blog entry)

After searching antique stores, browsing ebay, and pouring over specifications from manufacturers, we decided to buy a new "Waterford Stanley" brand cookstove from Lehman's. We hadn't intended on purchasing the stove until after we moved in, but I recently realized that fitting a cookstove back-to-back with our Rumford fireplace and beside a pizza oven, while still allowing enough room in the kitchen for an island was going to be no mean feat. We are literally building the masonry alcove around the stove.

They must use wood cook stoves for real in Waterford, Ireland (where the stove is made), because it is the most practical design I have seen, in terms of fitting it into a kitchen without taking up half of the kitchen. For instance, you can plumb the flue out the back of the stove or out the top, and the flue does not take up any more space than the stove itself. The stove also has 2" of insulation around the sides and back to allow closer fitting to the walls, and to keep the heat in the stove itself. Finally, the Waterford is made of solid cast iron, not a steel frame with cast iron bolted to it. At over 700 pounds, this sucker is heavy!

My wife and I took an entire day to drive up to Lehman's showroom and buy the stove (that's it wrapped up in the back of our truck - they sold us a showroom model). It is no exageration to say that they have a dozen wood cook stoves and over three dozen regular wood stoves on display in two different showrooms. Located in Amish country, Lehman's is without a doubt the world's most awesome store. Imagine 8 or 10 buildings (one of which is a timber frame barn!) connected together as one single store nearly a quarter of a mile long. To quote my wife "you can buy gourmet salt and gaskets in the same store!" I'd say over 50% of their inventory is "made in the USA." (Possibly over 80%). And most of their merchandise does not require electricity. If you're within 5 hours of Kidron, OH, I'd suggest driving there... today! If not, you can shop them on line. For us, I think it should become an annual ritual to visit their store.


Blogger dp said...


Good choice on your cookstove. I've only heard good things about them. We have a Baker's Choice wood cookstove that we bought two years ago. It's great to cook on and bake in it. It's a dual purpose stove, used for heating and cooking.

January 30, 2008 at 3:08 PM  

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