What to wear in the kitchen

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uksimes
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What to wear in the kitchen

Postby uksimes » Wed May 16, 2012 8:55 pm

I've been trawling through pictorial references looking for what the well dressed cook would be wearing, particularly out on campaign. I had assumed that with access to plenty of dead animals, he would wear an apron of skin, ie leather, but all i can find is versions of a white material tucked into a belt. Can anyone suggest otherwise?


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Re: What to wear in the kitchen

Postby Bittersweet » Thu May 17, 2012 5:57 am

I'd suggest linen, or later on, cotton, as it's a lot easier to clean than leather.


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Re: What to wear in the kitchen

Postby Catherine of Gwent » Thu May 17, 2012 7:33 am

I would suggest a cloth apron too.

If you watch how a cook uses that cloth - it is not just protection for clothes, but is a hand wiping cloth, dish wiping/dusting cloth, tea towel when you can't find anything else to use, insulation for hands when picking up hot pots and dishes and any number of other functions. You would not be able to do that easily with a leather apron. And, of course, it is easy to clean and easy to transport.

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Re: What to wear in the kitchen

Postby Dave B » Thu May 17, 2012 11:30 am

uksimes wrote: I had assumed that with access to plenty of dead animals, he would wear an apron of skin, ie leather


Remember that although plenty of skins are available, the process of tanning was a long and specialist one. It's relatively easy to cure a skin into stiff rawhide, but if I understand it right making a good quality flexible and non-rotting cured leather involves many stages that together take months and are done by specialist tanners - so even with access to free skins leather would not have been a cheap option.

By the way, if you just want something a bit more 'heavy Duty' than normal weight linen, Bernie the bolt has a load of old potato sacks made from unbleached linen sackcloth for sale. They are about 30 inches by 60, close woven, and very tough indeed. For a fiver one of these might cut up into an excellent apron. I'd imagine such heavy linen would give a pretty decent level of fire protection, although I have not tried it. I was thinking of making one that way myself.


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Re: What to wear in the kitchen

Postby Grymm » Thu May 17, 2012 2:42 pm

(Cloth) Apron, a case of knives, a flesh hook and/or a gurt big spoon tend to be what marks out a cook in period pics.


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Re: What to wear in the kitchen

Postby guthrie » Fri May 18, 2012 9:05 pm

Just don't let it get too greasy and then lean over the fire. Apparently apron fires have been a common cause of death for centuries. Or so I have read.



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Re: What to wear in the kitchen

Postby Bittersweet » Sat May 19, 2012 5:47 am

guthrie wrote:Just don't let it get too greasy and then lean over the fire. Apparently apron fires have been a common cause of death for centuries. Or so I have read.


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Re: What to wear in the kitchen

Postby SteveC » Sat May 19, 2012 2:08 pm

guthrie wrote:Just don't let it get too greasy and then lean over the fire. Apparently apron fires have been a common cause of death for centuries. Or so I have read.


I have been told that apron fires were the second commonest cause of premature death in women after childbirth.
The advice we have been given (C17 living history) is to make sure that you can get the apron off quickly. No fancy knots!

S



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Re: What to wear in the kitchen

Postby Bittersweet » Sun May 20, 2012 3:55 am

Maybe that's where the practice of having the tie up of the apron at the front comes from? Easier to get it undone...but then isn't there the danger of the loose tie ends getting in the fire?


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Re: What to wear in the kitchen

Postby gregory23b » Mon May 21, 2012 10:04 pm

'particularly out on campaign'

depends on which period. WOTR - which images are these? Or later with more militarised uniform roles eg Scappi?

Problem with cookingal fresco in reenactment is pinning down the when and where.


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Re: What to wear in the kitchen

Postby Colin Middleton » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:51 pm

Bittersweet wrote:Maybe that's where the practice of having the tie up of the apron at the front comes from? Easier to get it undone...but then isn't there the danger of the loose tie ends getting in the fire?


If you look at the pictures of aprons, you should see that most of them simply tuck into the belt. If it ignites, just yank it out!


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Re: What to wear in the kitchen

Postby Bittersweet » Wed Jun 20, 2012 5:25 am

Good idea and materials saving to just tuck the apron in to the belt.
So the advent of ties on aprons was when the wearing of belts went out of fashion presumably?


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Re: What to wear in the kitchen

Postby Dave B » Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:39 pm

Colin Middleton wrote:
Bittersweet wrote:Maybe that's where the practice of having the tie up of the apron at the front comes from? Easier to get it undone...but then isn't there the danger of the loose tie ends getting in the fire?


If you look at the pictures of aprons, you should see that most of them simply tuck into the belt. If it ignites, just yank it out!


There seem to be quite a variety; http://larsdatter.com/aprons.htm


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Re: What to wear in the kitchen

Postby Fox » Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:29 pm

Bittersweet wrote:Good idea and materials saving to just tuck the apron in to the belt.
So the advent of ties on aprons was when the wearing of belts went out of fashion presumably?

No, you see them on ties as well. [see Dave's link]



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Re: What to wear in the kitchen

Postby Dave B » Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:37 pm

And also ones that are big enough that they are just a single peice of fabric wrapped all the way round with the top corners tied together at the small of the back. There does not seem to be any particular pattern (from the number of sources available) on which was used for what except that maybe women used the sort with ties more than men, as Karen states on her page I think. That may be because men wore leather belts more universally.


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Re: What to wear in the kitchen

Postby Colin Middleton » Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:08 pm

You might find that the 'tuck in' style is more common when working with fire, while the tie-on style is worn where you expect to be doing physical activity, or other characteristics.There appear to be 'fashion aprons' in that list too.

That's a really interesting sample Dave, thanks to both you and (or course) Karen.

Best wishes

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Re: What to wear in the kitchen

Postby Fox » Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:10 pm

There is something a medieval woman wearing more than one layer of apron; best on the bottom, roughest one on top.

If I can find the reference I'll post it.



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Re: What to wear in the kitchen

Postby lucy the tudor » Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:59 pm

I was told that about Tudors too, the nicest one on the nearest to the skirts, so you could strip them off according to the status of your visitor.


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