Friday, November 11, 2016

Fridge Logic

1) Answering William Savage's Cleanliness and Class · 2) "If you wanted bacon you had to make it yourself—and what a lengthy, laborious job it was!" · 3) Fridge Logic · 4) Speaking of Drinking Problem for Georgians? That is Anachronistic. · 5) A Distinction and a Gratitude to William Savage

More from William Savage, same post as my previous one:

Although some grand families had ice houses from quite early in the eighteenth century, it took a surprisingly long time for people to realise the preserving power of freezing food. It was never common, even well into the twentieth century, probably because the volume of ice needed was too great and there were few containers of suitable size that could be made sufficiently insulated to stop everything melting in a few days. So far as I have been able to discover, the first attempts to preserve meat by the use of cold happened in the nineteenth century. In some cases, the carcasses of hunted animals, like deer, would be hung above the ice in the ice house. Cold then, but not frozen; the equivalent of a modern fridge rather than a freezer.

The historic sequence is entirely possible - if only because it is entirely possible that people go on neglecting sth which would be useful.

However, this is not a case of pre-industrial technical possibilities.

Having, not indeed a freezer, for long preservation, but a fridge, so you can at least open a can of bacon (see previous), desalt it (partially), fry it and mix it in some stew (like Irish stew, but with bacon instead of mutton) in a cooking which will last a few days, like perhaps earlier or later or mid part of the Twelve Days of Christmas - that was entirely possible, technically speaking.

In the early part of 20:th C Sweden, before fridges and freezer part of fridge became standard, it was done like this.

An ice cupboard was first of all procured. Manufactured at home or bought. It had an inner large compartment, surrounded by metal, like iron or steel. It had an upper compartment (smaller in height, same horizontal extension, or even wider) for the ice. It had very narrow side compartments for the melting ice water to drip down to a lower compartment, which was regularly emptied, much like the ash compartment of an oven is emptied when too much ashes fall down.

When using it, you needed to buy a block of ice to lay in the upper compartment - and it would last a few days.

Whom did you buy that from? Well, an ice merchant would in a larger city like Malmö or Stockholm, perhaps even a smaller one like Södertelge, procure large quantities of ice blocks, sawed out of frozen lakes, stapled together in ice houses with straw as insulator, and he would sell it off an ice block at a time - I think even ordinary folks had a chance to buy such, at least when it came to cooking rationally for Christmas tide.

However, South Sweden is further North (55°36′21″N 13°02′09″E = Malmö, our South tip) and less exposed to the Atlantic warmth than North Norfolk (52°56′N 1°18′E).

And of course, the whole scheme depends on there being a town big enough for an ice merchant to stock his ice over winter and sell it piecemeal to those using above kind of fridge.

This is some logic about existence of fridges in pre-industrial cultures. But TV Tropes defines Fridge Logic as sth else, so as to title, I've been off topic so far. Off to TV Tropes and read what is on topic!

Hans Georg Lundahl
Paris XI
St. Martin of Tours

Turonis, in Gallia, natalis beati Martini, Episcopi et Confessoris; cujus vita tantis exstitit miraculis gloriosa, ut trium mortuorum suscitator esse meruerit.

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