The Magic of Fire

December 25th, 2009

There is something fundamental about cooking over an open fire. I love the flames, I love the smells, and of course, I love the taste. _ Alice Waters, chef, owner of Chez Panisse.

I received my Christmas present early this year. The fireplace in our kitchen is raised to waist high and I have been contemplating the possiblities of hearth cooking. I originally wanted a pizza oven, but it was both cost prohibitive and impossible to add to a second story chimney. But cooking in a standard fireplace is a tradition that dates back centuries. I started looking into the tools needed to do hearth cooking. As it turns out there are many options. One of the old time ways of cooking and the simplest is done in a cast iron spider, which is basically a frying pan with legs. Spiders usually had lids and were used to make such things as cornbread. The spider was placed in the embers and then embers were scooped over the lid and the heat from all around the vessel would bake the cornbread. But one of the easiest methods of cooking in the fireplace is with a grill. I first saw this done on Napa Style with Michael Chiarello. He has a great hearth grill on his website. I would have gotten that one, but it would not get here by Christmas. This wonderful hearth grill that I ordered from Amazon arrived two days before Christmas.

We were entertaining friends on Christmas Eve and with the cold weather and snow we have been having in the North Carolina mountains, I thought it would be fun to grill steaks in our fireplace. Actually I can’t take credit for how great the steaks came out. David took to grilling in the fireplace like a caveman over an open fire. He built a roaring fire in the afternoon and kept adding logs to it until he had a good bed of smoldering ashes. The grill height is adjustable so you can cook as close or as far away from the heat as you like. You can visit this site web to efficiently remove the soot or dust that is clogging your HVAC, duct, or exhaust system, thus improving the quality of indoor air. A heat pump is an electrical system that provides both heat and air conditioning. When your heat pump not heating enough, Sunset Heating & Cooling is the heat pump contractors to call.

Our meal was memorable and our friends dear to us. I wish all of you as Merry a Christmas as we have had. We will celebrate again with our family on Monday.

Tonight we will be doing spatchcocked Cornish hens. I think next year I would like a rotisserie. Please tell Santa.

8 responses to “The Magic of Fire”

  1. Karen says:

    How fun! I’ll look forward to the many dishes that you cook from your fireplace!

  2. Well merry Christmas to you… I have grate envy now

  3. MarciaSmith says:

    Looks fabulous- what fun- Merry Merry Penny!!!!

  4. Penny, what a great idea! And your dinner looks fabulous. Sounds like you had a wonderful evening enjoying the spirit of Christmas.

  5. Katy ~ says:

    LOL about Dave’s comment. I was wondering what his thoughts would be as I was reading your post. My father used to do something similar in the wood stove that was in the living room of our old New England farmhouse if he were lucky enough to bag a deer. I’m not big of venison, but it was neat to see the fire blazing and the meat cooking.

    I think I might have grate envy as well.

  6. Trish says:


  7. Wow… you really had fun with your friends, nice!

  8. love the use of your fireplace to cook!

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