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WHAT A BAKE OVEN IS
BY this time we had not only mortar, but bricks,
and men among us who knew how to lay them up;
therefore father had hired a mason to make a bake
oven, wherein could be cooked at one time food
enough for two or three families.
We had built to this house of ours a big chimney
of stones, well laid in mortar. It was on the back end,
where the logs of the building were cut apart to give
room for a fireplace, and father decided to have the
oven on the outside of the dwelling, so that it could
be joined directly to the chimney without danger
of setting fire to the house.
When it was done, he counted to have built over
it a small shed, and thus mother could do a week's
baking without making too much of a clutter in the
Already had I fashioned a most beautiful peel
of laurel wood for mother, and I dare venture to say
that in all America you could not find one more to
What is a peel? Why neither more nor less than
 a wooden shovel with a long handle, on which bread
can be thrust into the oven, else how could the
housewife push the dough into a pit eight or ten feet long,
when it was heated almost red-hot?
Perhaps you do not even know what a bake oven
is, therefore I will try to describe ours, which was as
large as any in Philadelphia, excepting, of course,
those to be found in the taverns, where they had need
to cook a large amount of food at one time.
Imagine a huge box, with a rounded top, made of
bricks, set fairly against a big stone chimney, and
connected with it by an uptake, or hole, for the smoke
to pass through. This box has a floor of three
thicknesses of bricks, laid as smoothly as possible, and an
iron door in which has been made an opening with a
sliding covering to serve as a draft hole.