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Cooking in a fireplace using heavy iron cookware such as this bake kettle required strength as well as skill. A bake kettle was among the most versatile of fireplace cookware. It could hang over the fire, but it was also used to bake bread, pies and cake. The cook raked red-hot coals from the fire onto the brick hearth. The kettle sat on top of the coals and the food, usually in a redware dish, was placed inside. The heavy cast-iron lid covered the pot. The cook then heaped on more hot embers to the lid and the food baked from the heat surrounding it. The cook took care when removing the heavy ember-covered lid to check on or remove the food. Bake kettles were a quicker way to bake a few items without having to heat a large wall oven.
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