This book sets out to investigate and celebrate a whole range of ovens, used and built the world over. By focusing on outdoor ovens, meaning those constructed or used outside of the home, as opposed to the average temperamental contraption found in most modern kitchens, we can learn about the people and communities that built and operated them. We know that people naturally gravitate towards a fire, and with a few recipes as well as instructions on how to build ovens, readers will warm to this book. If you can’t stand the heat, go al fresco!
Chapter One: Underground - Hangi, Imu, Luau – are all terms given to the underground ovens of the Pacific Rim. Building a fire and making a subterranean oven can often be the focus of a religious or cultural ceremony or rite. It can also be a means for poachers and brigands of remaining undetected in the hills around the Mediterranean.
Chapter Two: Overground – From earth to clay to brick. This chapter looks at the development of the oven in all its guises (tandoors, pizza ovens etc) and the rise and fall of the public bakery.
Chapter Three: Wandering free – Portable ovens, from the ceramic Hibachi to the cast iron Dutch oven.
Chapter Four: Enough to feed an army – Innovation in the military kitchen. From the ‘Soyer Stove’ of the Crimean war to modern military catering, this chapter looks at the development of military ovens used for victualling whole armies.
Chapter Five: Sweet suburbia – The rise of barbecue culture
Chapter Six: No Smoke Without Fire – A look at hot and cold smokers and their uses.