Cooking pots..... Whats yours?

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ForgeCorvus
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Cooking pots..... Whats yours?

Post by ForgeCorvus »

Hiya folks
The question is what do you use as a cooking pot and why did you choose that particular vessel ?
If you could also give sizes and rough price that would be good to know.

I've tried to search and condense things down to a list of options, but its a task worthy of Hercules
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Eofor
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Re: Cooking pots..... Whats yours?

Post by Eofor »

Jumping in before Elleth who will win ANY cookpot conversation with hers (especially considering one of mine used to be on someones head)

I have three that I used based on the need and location, the first one on the left is the go to for almost all overnight stuff as it is just big enough for two, nice and light and can work with a modern jetboil stove if we are unable to have a real fire (local laws) I think it cost me around 50 euros?

The middle one is a clay pot I tend not to use on the trail due to breakage but if we’re having a themed gathering then I take any chance to cook using it as the food from it is amazing.
Cost was a few dollars at a thrift shop.

Lastly the one on the right is for bigger group events 5-8 people and is made from an old bucket style great helm.
(It’s currently filled with cedar shavings to use as tinder) It will work with the jetboil but is much slower than the small one.
Cost was $35 US from a friend who made it from the old helm.


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Last edited by Eofor on Mon Nov 22, 2021 11:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Elleth
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Re: Cooking pots..... Whats yours?

Post by Elleth »

Ha!

So as Eofor mentioned, this is mine:

Image
A Dunedain Ranger's mess kit

I do really like it, but I think the changes Greg requested for his model are more practical.
(You can find pictures of his on his "A Ranger's Pantry" thread)
... and I so need to try that pantry someday!

If you're not looking to go custom, you can get a very similar pot off the shelf from Matuls:
https://www.etsy.com/listing/1096344801/steel-cauldron
(oh - some vendors paint their cookware for some reason. Ask them not to do that and just ship in the white, then season it like you would cast iron.)

Regarding materials: I think sheet iron is the best general-purpose material for a travelling pot*.
It's much lighter than cast iron, and there's no danger of melted tinning or solder coming apart like with a copper or bronze vessel.

Regarding size: so far I think the ~1-1.25 liter / 4-6 cup capacity is the best compromise size for a general purpose kettle for one or two people. Mine is great and compact and good in a pinch, but having the extra capacity just for keeping hot water available is really really nice.

I've actually been meaning to do a little cookout in the back yard with a number of different pieces and write up pros/cons, but that will be a few weeks more.


* For hearth cooking, the Townsend's 5 quart cast iron pot is far and away my favorite. It's too late-period for straight medieval reenactment, and it's not light, but it's a dream to cook in. I far prefer it even to original kettles. The walls are thicker so it just holds onto a nice even heat .


Edit- more on kettles:
viewtopic.php?p=46313#p46313
Last edited by Elleth on Tue Nov 23, 2021 1:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Iodo
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Re: Cooking pots..... Whats yours?

Post by Iodo »

ForgeCorvus wrote: Sun Nov 21, 2021 5:47 pm The question is what do you use as a cooking pot and why did you choose that particular vessel ?

Because I don't do overnights in kit, and UK law mean's you can't really get away with lighting open fires, I've never looked into getting a "middle-earth accurate" pot. The only times I use a cooking pot on the trail are when I want to make a hot brew, and sometimes something for lunch. When I started I just used what ever seemed practical from the family cupboard of camping stuff (that over a number of years has become quite extensive), but I have refined this to some personal favorites:


Image


The shiny pot on the right is a zebra billy can, the small frying pan comes with it and fits inside the top, the handle for the frying pan is a trangia pan handle that I cut about 1'' off so it fits in the pan. The zebra pot is made from stainless steel. The grey pot in the middle is a cheapo amazon 750ml titanium cooking pot with a bail.

On the left at the back is my favorite cooking method, because most of the time even though it's a real fire, people turn a blind eye to it because it's just a real fire in a box :mrgreen: but in the stricter places I have to use the spirit burner. Both of the pots work just fine with both cooking systems and over a proper camp fire

I have never been able to decide which pot I like best, because in terms of usefulness the zebra pot wins for a number of reasons, you can lock the bail in the up position, it's stainless steel so I don't need to worry about damaging it with the chain-mail pan scrub and the extra pan is good to use as a plate/bowl/for making a brew etc... However the thing that makes me go back to the titanium pot is how strangely not-out-of-place it looks with a period kit once it's been blackened by the fire and I have left the lid at home, whereas you can't get away from the obvious modern-ness of the zebra can's perfect mirror polish and stamped bail

ForgeCorvus wrote: Sun Nov 21, 2021 5:47 pm If you could also give sizes and rough price that would be good to know.

zebra billy can (10cm model):
10cm/4'' diameter and 10cm/4'' high (without the lid and not including bail)
it usually costs a bit less that 20 GBP

titanium pot:
10cm/4'' diameter and 11.5cm/4.5'' high (without the lid and not including bail)
it might have been this one, I'm not sure because the logo burnt off it but I expect they are all very similar in quality: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Boundless-Voya ... WYH1P&th=1
and they are usually about 25 GBP
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ForgeCorvus
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Re: Cooking pots..... Whats yours?

Post by ForgeCorvus »

Iodo: I can trust a Dwarf to use mail in the kitchen :-).... Is that a Bushbox stove?

I'm also in the Realm of Elisabeth, second of that Name. So I know what a PITA it can be to find somewhere to go bush ( I'm too far south to go and play on the other side of the Wall.)

Elleth: I saw that pot and other bits in its own thread, just be grateful that theres a bit of water between thee and I otherwise I'd seriously think Orcish thoughts about it

Eofor: Like the converted helm, extra points for that!


My current bush pot is a stainless steel single walled ice-bucket, great over wood fires, alcohol burners and gas stoves but looks even more OOP then a Zebra billy.

It looks like I'm going to have to brush up my riveting skills, I remember being told by a couple of Vikings that a bellied bottom on your pot made it easier to nestle into the embers...... Anyone know if thats true?
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Elleth
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Re: Cooking pots..... Whats yours?

Post by Elleth »

It looks like I'm going to have to brush up my riveting skills, I remember being told by a couple of Vikings that a bellied bottom on your pot made it easier to nestle into the embers...... Anyone know if thats true?
This is also my experience. As long as the center of gravity remains low however, flat should be fine. Also flat can sit on trivets (or stovetops) easier.

Personally I prefer a roundish belly to the bottom of a kettle.
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Re: Cooking pots..... Whats yours?

Post by Iodo »

ForgeCorvus wrote: Mon Nov 22, 2021 8:04 pm Iodo: I can trust a Dwarf to use mail in the kitchen :-).... Is that a Bushbox stove?

Ha Ha :lol: no, it's not a bushbox, it's a cheapo alternative from e-bay (you're probably spotting a trend here), but that said, it's actually really good, I just wish it were a tiny bit bigger, and a note for anyone who gets one of those: make sure you get a hinged one and not one that slots together, the hinged ones are so much easier

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/114705330462
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Re: Cooking pots..... Whats yours?

Post by Elleth »

Oh!

One other thing. Please forgive me if you already know this, but since lots of us don't grow up being taught these things -

A fire meant for cooking is different from a campfire usually.

Generally for much cooking you want a nice hot bed of coals. That gives you an even heat, no flames licking around your wrists, less smoke in your face, etc. So for cooking, you want a fire that burns down fast... or alternately, work alongside a larger fire and let a firemaster shovel you coals.

Our last event, I let a family friend and his band of boy scouts set up the fire while I worked on prepping the food: when I turned around, I saw they'd done a diesel-kindled "upside down fire" - that is, the kindling was piled on top of the fuel. I thought this was just ignorance until it was explained to me - then found it's the hot new thing for bushcrafty folks because it just keeps the flames going and going and going for hours.

.... the exact opposite for what you want for cooking. I could kinda make it work, but it was far from ideal.

You can cook over flames of course - but as you probably remember from campfire s'mores it's a more unpredictable process. It still works well for liquids in a pot where you're not pre-browning meat/pre-sweating onions, and well enough for roasts if you pay close attention and don't mind a few scorched spots. But coals are easier.

A counterargument of course for trail cooking is that you're not doing things like browning raw meat: you're just tossing cut bits of pre-dried stuff into water*. I think an iron kettle with a decent sized bottom is a good versatile option because it works well for both cooking raw stuff over coals and boiling/rehydrating trail food over open flame. Others may have had a different experience, of course.


Is that helpful at all?


Oh - one more thing, about my kettle and lessons learned:

- I should have just asked for the pattern to be engraved into the iron (if at all) rather than having an attached band. The different heat expansion is a pain.
- I was too clever for my own good with that "lid as a skillet" thing. Greg's absolutely right, frying in the bottom of the pan is the better option. It's possible of course to (for instance) pan-fry a bit of dough while a soup is going, but after my initial experiments it's never been something I've actually had call to do... and a rock works just as well for that kind of thing.
- I still prefer a hinged pot lifter to a fixed bail. Some of that's holdover habit from 18th c. hearth cooking admittedly, but also - it packs smoothly, the handle doesn't get hot unless you're using it for a hanger, it does double duty as a small set of tongs, and and it doesn't loudly clank like conventional pot bails do. (though in fairness it doesn't look like Greg's design clanks). That's totally an arbitrary weighing of preferences though, and I think Greg's design is awesome.



* Another cooking tip: the thicker the soup/stew, the more you'll want to keep scraping the sides to keep things from scorching. The more you want to scrape the sides, the more bother cooking over open flame is going to be. But lots of water in your soup means lots of water that wants to leave your body in the middle of a cold night. So... tradeoffs. :mrgreen:
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Re: Cooking pots..... Whats yours?

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Elleth wrote: Tue Nov 23, 2021 12:43 pm - I should have just asked for the pattern to be engraved into the iron (if at all) rather than having an attached band. The different heat expansion is a pain.
- I was too clever for my own good with that "lid as a skillet" thing. Greg's absolutely right, frying in the bottom of the pan is the better option. It's possible of course to (for instance) pan-fry a bit of dough while a soup is going, but after my initial experiments it's never been something I've actually had call to do... and a rock works just as well for that kind of thing.
- I still prefer a hinged pot lifter to a fixed bail. Some of that's holdover habit from 18th c. hearth cooking admittedly, but also - it packs smoothly, the handle doesn't get hot unless you're using it for a hanger, it does double duty as a small set of tongs, and and it doesn't loudly clank like conventional pot bails do. (though in fairness it doesn't look like Greg's design clanks). That's totally an arbitrary weighing of preferences though, and I think Greg's design is awesome.
You're right, that pot is terrible and you should just give it to me.
Elleth wrote: Tue Nov 23, 2021 12:43 pm And lots of water in your soup means lots of water that wants to leave your body in the middle of a cold night. So... tradeoffs. :mrgreen:
You're also very right about this too. I actually taper my water intake into the afternoon if it's going to be a really cold night.
ForgeCorvus wrote: Mon Nov 22, 2021 8:04 pm I remember being told by a couple of Vikings that a bellied bottom on your pot made it easier to nestle into the embers...... Anyone know if thats true?
It's not really a problem with a flat bottomed one either really, not in my experience. I have found the bellied pots do work better if you are cooking directly in flame (as we sometimes have to) or boiling water because they let the flames lick up and around the side of the pot.
Iodo wrote: Mon Nov 22, 2021 6:28 pm and UK law mean's you can't really get away with lighting open fires,
This is a problem we have faced in Australia since the really bad bushfires we had in 2019/20. The national parks don't allow a fire at any time of the year and many regions have blanket fire bans for 9 months of the year. I get it but damn its frustrating. We have resorted to using a modern stove to heat our small pot and it will even heat the larger one given enough time.

Looking at that little firebox of yours Iodo, surely you could fab something similar yet far more Dwarven? It already looks like something they would use.
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Re: Cooking pots..... Whats yours?

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Elleth wrote: Tue Nov 23, 2021 12:43 pm I saw they'd done a diesel-kindled "upside down fire" - that is, the kindling was piled on top of the fuel. I thought this was just ignorance until it was explained to me - then found it's the hot new thing for bushcrafty folks because it just keeps the flames going and going and going for hours.
That's actually a good fire lay, but you would have to let it burn down to the coals for proper cooking.

It's not "new." Maybe re-emphasized. We used to call it a "Council Fire" when I was in Scouts.

I have quite a few bushpots and mess kits, but not really Middle Earth-y.

I was wondering about some type of copper pot (no lead in any solder).

Copper distributes heat better, has been the choice of chefs and is in the cannon of texts.

A larger version (say 32+ oz.) of this:

Image

https://www.medievalcollectibles.com/pr ... ng-teapot/

Thoughts?
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Re: Cooking pots..... Whats yours?

Post by Iodo »

Elleth wrote: Tue Nov 23, 2021 12:43 pm ....and and it doesn't loudly clank like conventional pot bails do. (though in fairness it doesn't look like Greg's design clanks). That's totally an arbitrary weighing of preferences though, and I think Greg's design is awesome....

Have I missed something here or am I just being forgetful, what is Greg's design :?:

Eofor wrote: Tue Nov 23, 2021 2:13 pm Looking at that little firebox of yours Iodo, surely you could fab something similar yet far more Dwarven? It already looks like something they would use.

I have actually thought about trying this at some point, the only reason I haven't is that I don't get chance to use it often enough for it to be worth the time at the moment, however I probably will end up making something eventually
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Re: Cooking pots..... Whats yours?

Post by Elleth »

Harper - thanks for the info!

Similar pots to the one you post have been used in trekking/reenactment for ages. And they're great! Once upon a time I even used my old trekking corn boiler set for my regular everyday cookpots.
(although they are harder to keep clean than either iron or modern cookware)
boilers.jpg
boilers.jpg (89.71 KiB) Viewed 535 times
BUT with tin-lined copper you have to be really careful to keep the bottom covered in liquid. eg -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TciUEGxk2HE
With the design you showed (and my boilers as well) there's also a risk that the bottom can come loose from the pot.
(or so I've heard. I've so far managed to avoid boiling mine dry).

Anyhow - if you want to pan-fry something, you need a separate iron pan.
With an iron cauldron, you can start out pan-frying meat or dumplings or something, then add in the liquid on top.
So you sort of get two things in one there.

If on the other hand you're never going to cook it dry, a copper boiler is lighter - and as you say is attested in Crickhollow.




Iodo - I didn't want to steal his thunder, but here's where introduces it (pictures gone) -
3A Dunedain Trekker's Iron Cauldron (V2)

... and here's an awesome other thread of his where you can see what it looks like -
A Ranger's Pantry
Last edited by Elleth on Wed Nov 24, 2021 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cooking pots..... Whats yours?

Post by Harper »

Elleth wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 12:59 am
BUT with tin-lined copper you have to be really careful to keep the bottom covered in liquid. eg -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TciUEGxk2HE
With the design you showed (and my boilers as well) there's also a risk that the bottom can come loose from the pot.
(or so I've heard. I've so far managed to avoid boiling mine dry).
That's a good point.

I'm liking this one:

Image
It doesn't appear to have that seam on the bottom and has a lid that can be used as a frying pan (though I"m not sure how that smaller handle with the ring effects things). You could put in a pack or lose the pan/lid to stuff in the end of a bedroll. While different for a Base Camp, I honestly can't envision a Ranger using a frying pan in the field--for odor discipline if nothing else. To grill meat or fish, I imagine that they would craft a quick grill out of green branches stripped of bark. But they would need a container for boiling water, making soups and herbal teas for healing. You really can't readily craft a container suitable for those things in the wild.
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Re: Cooking pots..... Whats yours?

Post by Iodo »

Elleth wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 12:59 am Iodo - I didn't want to steal his thunder, but here's where introduces it (pictures gone) -
3A Dunedain Trekker's Iron Cauldron (V2)

... and here's an awesome other thread of his where you can see what it looks like -
A Ranger's Pantry
Thanks for the link :P
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