Roasting a turkey ... 1860-style

| 2/15/2012 12:42:54 PM

Mary Murray head shotFor many years, I've been a Tasha Tudor fan. There's just something about the simple lifestyle she lived, and so beautifully depicted in her enchanting watercolors, that has always appealed to me. And when it came to cooking, I was always intrigued by her roast turkey prepared in a tin kitchen, or reflector oven, in front of the fireplace.

I had never seen such a reflector oven for sale, so when one from 1860 came up for auction several years ago, I had to bid on it! A close inspection told me that it was obviously an important piece of cookware in someone's life. While tarnished from much use, it had also been well cared for ... I often wondered what stories it could tell.

And so, with great anticipation, I was ready to roast my own turkey. I had done my research, and with a recipe from "The Tasha Tudor Cookbook in hand, I began. First the turkey was rubbed with bacon drippings, then sprinkled with salt and pepper.  The spit from the tin kitchen was carefully inserted into the turkey, along with metal skewers which keep the turkey from sliding off the spit.

 oven in front of fire 

The oven was set in front of a fire, and in the photo below, you'll see several holes around the spit handle. These holes are used to secure the spit as it's turned to ensure the turkey will evenly cook.

close up of oven 

12/28/2012 1:43:03 PM

I have just discovered you and christine Byrne and would like to know the name of her blog. I would like to find one of these ovens.

Roland Small
6/18/2012 1:38:22 PM

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2/20/2012 2:26:49 AM

Thanks's fun to stumble on these old pieces and find them in good enough shape to use! I truly think I could travel back in time!

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