Today’s adventure will be in research and possibly some jewelry making.
The research I am doing ties into my cooking table (https://www.grimmsfield.org/cooking-table) and requires some backstory. Last year at Pennsic, My wife and I tried to cook several pieces of meat over the fire on a spit. The main problem we found was keeping the meat (or Fowl) from turning. The spit we used was round and the heaviest part of the meat was always facing down. In trying to combat this I came across the picture to the right. This was a genius idea and looks like it would be fun to forge.The ability to pin the meat to the spit bu means of a skewer would solve our problems quite nicely. I also came across another image using the same idea seen below that image.
I was also able to find several examples of cooking skewers being kept by the cooking fire and used on a regular basis. These were quite common in colonial households. Most of these were from auction sites with little or no history given.
The question now became, was this style of spit used in period? Finding examples of meat or fowls cooked on spits in period was easy. I plan on devoting more time to the research presented by these images. However, today my main quest is to find a period pierced spit. Even though I was planning on making my spit with this feature for the Grimmsfield cooks to use, I would much prefer to have it be documentable.
The first image I was able to find of a spit with holes for skewers was The kitchen maid by Joachim Wtewael . This image shows very clearly the slots in the spit, but unfortunately was painted between 1620 and 1625. So close but no cigar. The quest must continue.
The second image I was able to find was even better. Not only did it show a spit with the skewer slots, but the meat being held on with the skewers. Kitchen Scene is a perfect example of the spit and its use! Helpful in every way but one. It was painted by Peter Wtewael (Dutch, Utrecht 1596–1660 Utrecht) in 1620. Again to late to be used for documentation.
As I was begining to give up hope and decide to just make the spit anyway, i stumbled onto the works of Joachim Beuckelaer (1533–1574) pintor flamenco. What Awesome work he did and with details that any blacksmith would love. Not only did he paint a kitchen scene with a slotted spit, he painted three! The first one Christ in the House of Martha and Mary.1565, shows a spit with a clear slot below the roast. It also gives a tantalizing glimpse of the stand attached to it.
The second work by Joachim Beuckelaer (1533–1574) entitled The Well-Stocked Kitchen.1566. again shows a long spit with a slot for a skewer near the other end of the spit.
The final image, Allegory of the carelessness (undated) shows yet another kitchen scene with a spit with the slot worked into it.
Although the painting by Peter Wtewael is the best from a working standpoint, all of Joachim Beuckelaer works fall safely within period. This has allowed me to look at the spit as both a working tool and as an A&S project in its own right. Some of the other kitchen scenes that I am saving for future reference are:
Well, not as much jewelry making as I hoped. Plenty of research done though, plus my scattered images bundled into one place. I hope to get working on the spit soon. For those of you following the fire table, I think that blog is going to be phased out in favor of all ramblings by Grimm being posted here.