Monticello's 2005 book entitled Dining at Monticello: in Good Taste and Abundance implies that copper was used primarily for French-style cooking in the 18th-century, and that copper was a rare material because of cost. But I disagree. After comparing 100 probate inventories from Maryland and Virginia, it seems that copper was commonplace in most kitchens, even those who had a few vessels to cook with. The materials of choice for the kitchen were determined by the recipe, as Marc Meltonville from Hampton Court Palace pointed out in a presentation at Winterthur this past spring (the video I've linked with Hampton Court is wonderful, and I wish I could do such a thing here!). Similar to my blog post on particular crocks for preserving and pickling, here's an example for the differences in metals. Hannah Glasse notes in her publication The Art of Cookery (1747) that “If you boil turnips for sauce, don’t boil it all in the pot, it makes the broth too strong of them, but boil them in a sauce-pan.” A pot (likely iron) would have cooked the turnips very quickly, and made a strong, heavy boil. However, a sauce pan would have simmered or cooked the turnips slower. This implies that the pot was used over direct flame, hanging from the crane in the hearth, while the sauce pan was used over coals on a trivet.
|William Rogers Mug 2nd Quarter 18th-century|