Strange things fascinate me… really strange things, but also little quirky things from the past, little glimpses into an almost forgotten world… The little ‘Light Fare Recipes for Corn Flour and “Raisley Cookery”‘ must have been written in the 1920’s or 30’s; there may be people old enough to remember households and kitchens in those days who may remember chafing dishes, and their mother (or servants) using them, but not that many! Her is how the book describes the chafing dish:
The chafing dish consists of:-
A hot-water pan, to be used when cooking anything which burns readily, or to keep the dish hot.
The blazer, in which the cooking is done.
A three-pint size is small as should be bought. This size does well for six people, if it is a substantial dish which is being prepared, for ten people, if only a small quantity is required. The lamp is, of course, of great importance, and the purchaser should see to it that it is –
(a) one which will give a large flame,
(b) one in which the flame may be regulated,
(c) one which will hold enough spirits to burn as long as desired.
Some lamps have a screw top, which prevents evaporation when not in use.
The chafing dish should stand on a tray to protect the dining table, and a large spoon and fork and a skimmer to remove grease are required. In using the chafing dish, place all the utensils and ingredients on a large tray beside the dish; when the cooking is finished the tray may be removed.
The price, including stand, lamp, water-pan and covered blazer, ranges from 12 to 30 shillings (60p – £1:50, in today’s money £20 – £50)
Any general furnishing house or large iron monger can supply them.
If you should be tempted by the thought of a chafing dish (which is used mainly by caterers these days – ans as a way of keeping food warm rather than cooking on them) there are plenty available on-line at least – and maybe in specialist cookery shops, and as in the past, so today, for example, brand new stainless steel twin pack 8.5 litre chafing dishes, supplied with water pan, food pan, cover and 2 chafing fuel holders in mirror polished stainless steel is £53 – pretty much the same as in the old Brown and Polson cookery book!