Even in today’s supposedly modern age with equality between sexes and men who stay at home full time looking after the household, Mrs Beeton’s views are surprisingly still current. Most families today don’t have a full time cook but the adoration of the range and as a slightly maternal object is present. Many times I’ve visited friends and family who have excitedly taken me to their kitchen to show off their traditional Aga or range cookers. Granted, today most people don’t actually understand how to use one or have a large stone kitchen without central heating requiring it to be on all the time but the nostalgic love the item is still very present.
“66. FROM KITCHEN RANGES to the implements used in cookery is but a step. With these, every kitchen should be well supplied, otherwise the cook must not be expected to “perform her office” in a satisfactory manner. Of the culinary utensils of the ancients, our knowledge is very limited; but as the art of living, in every civilized country, is pretty much the same, the instruments for cooking must, in a great degree, bear a striking resemblance to each other.
On referring to classical antiquities, we find mentioned, among household utensils, leather bags, baskets constructed of twigs, reeds, and rushes; boxes, basins, and bellows; bread-moulds, brooms, and brushes; caldrons, colanders, cisterns, and chafing-dishes; cheese-rasps, knives, and ovens of the Dutch kind; funnels and frying-pans; handmills, soup-ladles, milk-pails, and oiljars; presses, scales, and sieves; spits of different sizes, but some of them large enough to roast an ox; spoons, fire-tongs, trays, trenchers, and drinking-vessels; with others for carrying food, preserving milk, and holding cheese. This enumeration, if it does nothing else, will, to some extent, indicate the state of the simpler kinds of mechanical arts among the ancients.”