May 15, 2010
Today I tried to investigate if it was possible to quickly bring boiling water or near boiling water to the boil when moved from a larger cauldron over the fire to a soapstone vesel placed in the embers.
The larger metal cauldron was filled with 10 litres of water and hung from the lowest link of the chain.
11.02 The fire was burning hot enough for the experiment to commence
11.12 Some slight steam forms on the surface of the water
11.49 The steam is quite heavy
—- my observations and ability to feed the fire is interrupted due to the presence of a large group of children and a lengthy discussion with my boss—
12.58 small bubbles start to appear- I try to feed the fire
13.22 larger bubbles
13.43 No change but lots of the water has steamed away
13.47 The boiling in the larger vessel is being stopped and I transfer some of the liquid to the smaller soapstone vessel.
Nothing appear but smaller bubbles by the rim of the vessel, due to some obvious problems with transferring glowing embers from the fire to be spread evenly around the soapstonevessel. Lacking the proper tools I could only shovel so much embers towards the soapstone vessel at the time and hardly any at the furthest side of it. A possible fault from my side is the comparison with medieval vessels which are built with a tripod and thus possible to place on top of the embers.
However these rather distressing results might mean that I have reconsider the interplay between soapstone vessels and metal cauldrons in the studied period.
The next step will have to be a study of the soapstone vessel as it hangs over the fire. Although I should have been able to bring the content of the cauldron to a boil, this may not be essential for the way I would imagine the use of the cauldron. Considering the rather heavy reduction of liquid in the cauldron would make it quite suitable for making stock .
To boil stock.
To bring the soapstone vessel to a boil by hanging it from the chain
to cook a turnip in the fire..