The cooks were often blamed for their tendency to drink ! But we can easily imagine that the heat emitted by flames and embers, important source of heat in the 18th century, incited the kitchen boys and cooks to drink in order to quench their thirst.
The kitchen was a real important point of activity in the house, food was prepared for the family, the guests and the domestic staff (more than 30 people in the 19th century).
A complete set of kitchen utensils had to be maintained regularly. The copperware and tin ware had to be polished, mended, tined ... sometimes a contract was signed with an itinerant boiler maker and tinsmith.
THE BUTCHER'S ROOM
It was done either in a corner of the chimney, in the metal oven or on the "Potager". The embers were carried to these different places.
The "potager", often situated under a window was used to cook "potages" (which is the French for soup), to let sauces simmer, to warm up stocks on a bain-marie or for letting any dishes cook over a low heat. In English it could be called a built-in simmering oven.
Cooking on embers
In the chimney are frying pans, cauldrons, waffle irons, grills, the roasting jack... these are the main instruments for cooking game, meat peaces or soups directly on the flames.
In the pastry oven next to the chimney, a fire was made behind the metal door. Once, the oven was nice and hot, embers were taken out and the pastry was set inside to cook.
Cooking on the flames
THE BUTCHER'S ROOM
The kitchen, with its stone-vaulted ceiling, is organised to provide all styles of cooking : a broad open hearth for the roasting spit, a closed oven for braising, the range with its five hobs for sauces and soups, the pastry-oven with a special comportment for raising the dough.
Copper utensils of all sorts, Pré d'Auge pottery, pewter, glassware and earthenware decorate this kitchen, which, with its delicious smells of cooking, seems ready to function.
The laundry, next to the kitchen, is the room dedicated to water, with its indoor well, its sink and its draining racks.
A cook-automaton explains how the kitchen was run in the 18th century and reveals the secrets of its recipes.