Old cauldron above an open fire.

Cauldrons are here to stay!

Cauldrons.

What do you think of when you see the word cauldron? Do you think of witches, medieval bubbling stews or Harry Potter? OK, perhaps that's just me. Cauldrons have been used across the world for thousands of years and in fact English cauldrons have been found in bronze age sites dating to about 1100 - 1000 BC. They have been made from a variety of materials such as copper, brass, bronze, cast iron and even pottery. cauldrons have been used for primarily cooking food but also heating water and dying cloth. Some pots hang from chimney cranes or tripods and some have legs. Some have lids and some do not, some have side handles and some have a single hanging handle.

Cauldrons now. 

Today we still find cauldrons being made and again in a variety of materials. Re enactors, witches and people who still love to use them are keeping the tradition alive. I have vintage copper cauldrons for my house plants and a couple of small antique ones in the garden. They are great for house or garden decoration if country, old farmhouses or witchy is your passion. Hand made artisan pots of copper are beautiful and useful. They gleam in your kitchen or by the fire and bring a touch of magic to your decor. Old cast iron pots can still  have a life time of service to offer if looked after, and quality never does go out of fashion!

Medieval feast.

When we first moved to France I found a huge cast iron cauldron at our local  antique / vintage shop. My husband was not surprised at the purchase, we have collected antiques for years, but was perplexed as to what we would do with it. I have had the best times with that old cooking pot. We cleaned it up, removed the rust and seasoned it in the oven. It did only just fit, and then we used it. Outdoor dining takes on a whole different vibe when you use a cauldron for a 500 year old stew recipe and serve home made mulled wine from the same era. What fun trying to track down the spices!  The food was amazing, not because I am a good cook, far from it. Everyone bought into the whole medieval experience with the old recipes and style of cooking. Even finding some of the spices was an experience, though at least we have online shopping now. Using antiques is such great fun and it keeps them alive. It isn't always possible if the item is delicate or very rare, but when you can it adds something very special and gives us little insights you can only get by replicating the act of using the antique itself for it's original purpose. Just as an aside, if you do find a cauldron to cook with, try and find a chimney crane as well. Being able to lift or lower the pot safely is so much easier with one and yes it does all add to the experience. For historical menu ideas I strongly recommend Pinterest and The Townsend Historical Society.

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