Scallop Potatoes II

Elizabeth Raffald 1769 The Experienced English House-keeper.-

“I received a comment from Mercy Ingraham regarding my question on “Dutch Ovens” in my Scalloped Potatoes blog.

  Raffald’s receipt, says to put them in a “Dutch oven,” now there’s a controversy for you. Did she own a bake kettle from Holland or is this Dutch oven a new-fangled tin thing. HMMM– very interesting side note. There has been a lot of banter about the word “Dutch Oven” and nothing conclusive that I have heard either way. Anyone out there have an idea about this?”

  Mercy Ingraham said– “Like the potatoes in the scalloped shells. Very pretty. I have a photo of an old? Dutch Painting that is clearly what I call a tin kitchen or reflector but labeled as a “Dutch Oven” dating to the 1600′s. “——- “ That’s one of the reasons many of us in Pennsylvania call the cast iron pot in which we bake a “Bake Kettle”.”

Gabriel Metsu , born 1629, died 1667, Painted the following picture called THE COOK, undated. It clearly shows a tin oven and the painting is Dutch.  Now is this the oven of which Raffald speaks.  I’m not sure we have a real answer here.  Several American receipt calls for a tin oven.  Did they not know it was called a Dutch oven by the mid 1700 in the colonies?

The-Cook-1657-67-largeIt always seems like one question leads to more questions. I do agree with Mercy, a cast iron pot with lid should be called a bake kettle, not a Dutch Oven. The Tin Oven in the picture is Dutch and may have been called just that in the 1600’s.  I think I might still call my tin oven, just that a tin oven.


If God had intended us to follow recipes, He wouldn’t have given us grandmothers.
~ Linda Henley-Smith

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About Sandie

Since I was a small child I have loved early fireplaces and the smell of smoke in an old house. However it was not until about Fifteen years ago that my journey into hearth cooking began. It all started at the Hurd House Museum in Woodbury Ct. I was the director of the Junior Docent program and among the programs each week we cooked. At about the same time a group of us started the Culinary Historians of Connecticut meeting once a month to discuss equipment used, receipt (18th century term for recipe), and anything between the late 1600 to late 1700 that had to do with hearth cooking. We were fortunate to try our hand at cooking at several Museums throughout Ct and many more private homes. We made cheese; we held a late 1600 dinner and shared our knowledge with others. Our group designrd our own tours such as the Kitchens of Old Wethersfield. In 2000 we were delighted to host the Historic Foodways group of ALFAM at the Hurd House during their conference at Mystic Seaport. We put together a great workshop of Puddings, Sausages, Brown Bread, Beverages you name it we offered it. I am now a member of the ALFAM foodways group. Then it was off to Colonial Williamsburg for the seminar The Art of 18th-Century Cooking: Farm to Hearth to Table. During the years I joined many workshops in Sturbridge Village plus their Dinner in a Country Village and breakfast at the Freeman Farm. So I was pretty much hooked on heart cooking and the 18th century way of life. I joined a wonderful group of ladies and we started the “Hive” a place to improve and grow your 18th century impression and offer research about material culture in 17070’s New England. We also travel with friends and have displays of clothing and teas at Museums in Massachusetts. Many events are held at the Hartwell Tavern at Minute Man National Park. They have been gracious enough to let us play there and entertain and share our knowledge with their visitors. Please visit our “Hive” site if the 1700 interest you. Then the move to New Hampshire and a job at Strawberry Banke in Portsmouth as the co-coordinator of the Junior Role Playing workshop and eventually cooking in front of the hearth at the Wheelwright house. Not only did I enjoy making my evening meals at the hearth to take home but also talking with the visitors. I am an entertainer after all, check out my program page. Most recently I am working at the Museum of Old York in Maine as an educator, hearth cook and organizer of the Junior Docent cooking program in the summer. See some photos in the archive file Because I do make food with the docents and serve food to the public at our Tavern Dinners I took the National Restaurant Association tests called ServSafe and now have my Certification as a Restaurant Manager. I look forward to the Museum of Old York opening again this March 2012 and getting back to the hearth and teaching, however for now I’m cooking at home and enjoying doing so.

3 thoughts on “Scallop Potatoes II

  1. I, too, have seen the above painting, as well as another one (in fact, I included this one in a blog post about tin ovens being around since the 17th century). I’ve also seen several written references to “Dutch ovens” that clearly refer to tin/copper reflector ovens. However, as I recall, most were in peoples’ memoirs that were written in the mid to late 1800s (or thereabouts) wherein they recalled life as it was in the late 1700s to early 1800s. So, perhaps they just had fuzzy memories? Or not?
    I guess the one question I have in the other direction is: where’s/what’s the proof that round cast iron cooking contraptions with three legs and a lid were, and should be, called “Dutch ovens” in the 17th, 18th, and/or 19th centuries?

  2. Carolina,

    Someone calling a bake kettle a “Dutch Oven” is often heard. To my knowledge there is no proof that the iron kettles were called “Dutch Ovens.” Just one of thoses Myths that leark about .

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