Letter: Home on the range

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The Independent Online
Sir: Those who cooked on coal- fired ranges were not masochists ('A taste of childhood', 3 August). My mother used ours expertly for a range of dishes. She gauged the temperature of the ovens by tossing in a scrap of paper - if it flared up immediately, she could put a sponge cake in.

Best of all were her rice puddings, which sat in the cool oven for two days. It was my job to top them up with milk when the level sank. They were brought to the table in a blue enamel dish, creamy inside with a chewy golden skin.

The range itself was black- leaded each week when soot was removed from the flues with a special rake. A chipped enamel oblong covered the hearth, harbouring silverfish and unsolved maths homework underneath it.

Yours sincerely,


Malvern Wells, Worcestershire

3 August