The Wood Cook Stove

Last week I hosted a giveaway for a copy of my family cookbook. Annette @ The Ward House commented on the cover picture.  She said it looks almost exactly like the stove they currently use. So I decided to tell the story of “our” stove.

About 45 years ago my grandparents moved to the Ozarks. At that time, they heated with wood. I’m pretty sure they didn’t actually cook with wood, too. At least, not most of the time. After all, this was the mid-1960s… not the 1800s! But they found this lovely antique “wood cook stove” at a second-hand place and bought it for $20!

When Granddaddy got ready to build their house, he designed the kitchen around it with a native-stone alcove for it to sit in. The opposite side of wall has a beautiful stone fireplace which they also used for heat. Many times they would build a small fire in the “cook stove” when they just wanted a little warmth on a chilly spring morning, but didn’t need a big fire to heat the whole house. To my knowledge, Grandmother didn’t use the stove for her main cooking, but she did keep a kettle of water on top and would sometimes use the oven for making cornbread or biscuits when the electric range had something else in the oven.

One year, after I was married, we were there for Thanksgiving or Christmas. The power went out and I remember they finished cooking the turkey in the wood stove. It made me realize how handy it is to have equipment that doesn’t rely on electricity or technology to operate. We love our modern conveniences, but when they are down we have major problems.

My grandparents are gone to Heaven now. My parents currently live in the house that Granddaddy built, and the “wood cook stove” is still in it’s alcove. One of my uncles inherited the stove, but for now he has chosen to leave it where it is. Mother and Dad still build a little fire in it when they want to warm up the kitchen on a chilly morning.

Not very many things in my life are exactly where they have been as long as I can remember. The years bring so many changes. It’s just part of life. But sometimes I take comfort in things that haven’t changed.

And now for the winner of my cookbook… It goes to Sara @ RyanSaraNCora! Congratulations, Sara! Email me with your mailing address and I’ll get your cookbook out to you.

If anyone else is interested, I do still have a few cookbooks left for sale. I am offering them for $10 each, or two-for-$15, postage-paid.


  • Annette

    Thank you for posting about the wood stove and linking to me. =) We use the cook stove year round – I love it these cold mornings and if the 3" of ice actually arrives tonite, it will come in handy when the power goes out.

  • pse

    Karla, Grandmother did often cook beans or other things on the stove when it was cold enough to need a fire. But said she was thankful she didn't need to depend on it to get breakfast cooked before the school bus ran.

  • Constance

    That's not just a good story but a great memory! You're right, we are too dependent on modern conviences. The best example is someone trying to make change for you without the electronic cash register!

    When we build our cabin we are thinking of getting a reproduction gas or electric stove from Elmira Stove Works. They have modern stoves that look like your grandparents. They're pretty pricey but if we can swing it, it would be perfect! Likewise, I want to have it against a rock wall similar to yours.

    Merry Christmas!

  • A Romantic Porch

    Yes,mother cooked a lot of meals on the stove in the winter. It was great to get off the school bus and find something simmering on the stove…comforting…I've felt myself missing those times a lot

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