The original Kitchen must have been a busy, bustling place throughout the day, from well before sunrise until late evening: steaming kettles, cuts of meat roasting over glowing embers, the rhythmic sound of vegetables being chopped, stacks of dishes awaiting washing in wooden tubs, servants scurrying about, and the air fragrant with cooking smells, pipe tobacco and sweaty bodies.
Many activities vital to the good order of the fort’s daily routine would have taken place in the Kitchen. Not just cooking, but also dish washing, heating shaving water for the residents of the Big House and Bachelors Hall, candle making, pickling meats and vegetables, and polishing the clerks’ shoes, to name a few.
There is no record of how many people actually worked in the Kitchen other than the two stewards and the gardener, but a half-dozen or more doesn’t seem unrealistic in view of the staggering amount of work that had to be accomplished every day.
You are invited to step into the reconstructed Kitchen and perhaps catch the fragrance of roasting meat or maybe the tantalizing aroma of a freshly baked tart. The staff and volunteers that work in the kitchen are constantly busy, demonstrating the ways of cooking in the early 19th century and telling about the farms, gardens, and orchards that supplied the meat, vegetables, and fruit to the table.
Did You Know?
As the fur trade-era depot and headquarters for the Hudson's Bay Company's Columbia Department, did you know that over 61,000 animal pelts were shipped from Fort Vancouver to England in 1843 alone? This and many other stories are interpreted at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. More...