The farmhouse kitchen is set out as a typical Cumbrian farmer’s kitchen would have been in the 18th Century. Many Lakeland farms would have been very isolated and things that we take for granted like food and clothing would have been hard to come by. The kitchen would have been the site of many activities from cooking and washing to spinning and making clothes.
The open-hearth peat fire would have been the main source of heat in many homes for both cooking and keeping warm. It was easier to keep a peat fire lit over-night than re-light it each day, so some peat fires in the Lake District could have burned continuously for hundreds of years.
In the kitchen you can see dozens of items used across the decades for making and storing food including a practical bacon settle which served as both a great place to store cured meats, and also a handy fireside seat. Milk churns and butter pats would have been used by the enterprising farmer’s wife to make butter to sell and bring in a little extra money for the often meagre family income.
Featured Item – Bakestone and Paddle
The bakestone and paddle were used to make oatcakes, the cornerstone of the diet of the Lakeland farmer. Wheat did not grow particularly well in the Lake District so wheat flour had to be imported and was expensive. Oats grew much better and could be grown by the farmer or bought quite cheaply. Oatcakes, also called clap-bread, became a staple in the Lakeland diet. A batter of oatmeal, salt, butter, water, a raising agent and a small amount of flour if it was available was mixed together and then cooked on a griddle pan over the fire. The oatcakes could be eaten straight away, warm and soft, or dried out to be preserved for several months.