Cooking Ware In History

Posted by Campbell Ewald

Dec 28, 2011 9:10:58 AM

While we know that early methods of cooking included hoisting an animal over an open pit and cooking it with fire, there are plenty of other evidences of baking vessels that were also used.  It started out with a change in baking itself, with people laying the meat down and using leaves as a sort of covering for it so the moisture would stay inside the meat.  Gradually the grasses and leaves gave way to stone pots carved out with simple tools around 7000 BCE and clay was found to hold heat so some civilizations began to utilize clay in cooking.  Here is some interesting information on how other materials came to be used for cooking.


Pottery cooking pieces are probably the earliest form of baking ware and some discovered vessels date all the way back to the Egyptians and probably earlier than that.  Pottery was a popular material used in the cooking of foods and an Egyptian bakery was found with pottery molds used for the baking of breads.  In later years, pottery gave birth to earthenware which is still used today and is quite popular for baking dough-based recipes such as pizza.  Earthenware is also a good choice for casserole dishes because it has the ability to heat foods evenly, speeding up cooking times.  I think it’s amazing that we still use ancient cooking methods even today.

Cast Iron

Did you know that cast iron cooking ware dates to around 513 BCE in some parts of the world?  Well it does and cast iron has played an important part in cooking ware ever since.  When it made its debut, cast iron was used for hearth cooking and the pots were formed with three legs to help balance the weight of the metal.  Cast iron was popular in the new world where colonists and settlers used it on the trail and at home for making stews and cooking meat.  Lewis and Clark valued their cast iron pot as one of the most important pieces of equipment that they brought when they made their famous trek to the Pacific.  Today, cast iron continues to be popular and is still used on the open campfire as well as in the home.


My brother loves his copper cookware and like pottery, copper actually dates to the period referred to as the biblical period.  It has been found in archeological digs in Israel and in Egypt and was used for medicinal as well as industrial purposes.  About 3,000 years ago, the first evidence of copper used for cooking ware has been found and copper played an important role in cooking over the centuries.  Because it holds heat so well it is preferred by professional chefs and can be found in fine cooking stores around the world.

Stainless Steel

Unlike its predecessors, stainless steel is a new material, having only been introduced as a material for cooking ware in the last hundred years.  The metal was actually an accidental discovery when its founder was mixing metal compounds.  It is often combined with aluminum and is usually coated over the aluminum to make the aluminum safe to use with foods.  Stainless steel cooking sets are everywhere you look and are relatively inexpensive to use in comparison with other materials.

What material do you prefer in your cooking ware and why?

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Topics: kitchens, cookware

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