Cast iron cooking stoves of the gold rush

“Cast Iron Cooking Stoves” promised to be of first rate quality and guaranteed to “bake well” were advertised in the Cariboo Sentinel newspaper. These cast iron cooking ‘stoves’ were described as between 6 to 9 inches in diameter.

English dishes such as fried fish, doughnuts or fritters required “frying pans” as distinguished from other kinds of pots such as stewpans.  Frying pans were manufactured in varying depths to suit the cook’s need of lard or butter.

A typical frying pan in the 1830s had a flat thick bottom, and was made into an oval shape – 12 inches long and 9 inches wide with perpendicular sides.

John Keast Lord, a member of the British North American Land Boundary Commission during 1858–62, wrote:

“I never carry more than a frying pan and a tin pannikin; the former I strap behind my saddle…It is wonderful what a man can do with a ‘frying pan,’ it is equal to any emergency. Why, it would make any civic dignitary’s mouth tingle with delight if his nose only sniffed the rich appetising odour that exhales from a moose steak…fried in its own fat. Then I can bake bread in my frying pan, make and fry pancakes, or ‘slap-jacks’ as trappers call them,roast my coffee, boil the salt out of my bacon before I fry it; I can also stew birds, or putting a crust over, produce a pie few would be disposed to turn away from…”