lighting the fire in your outdoor kitchen

Lighting your fire, in Serbia we used the inside of the maize, dry and easy to get going.

Living in Serbia I first experienced the outdoor kitchen phenomena. The main problem in summer is to keep the house cool. So, who wants to turn on an oven? The net result is an outdoor kitchen to catch the breeze and preferably in deep shade. Q.E.D. No extra heat needs to be generated inside the house.

In towns on balconies or verandas are pre war "outdoor kitchens". There is usually a small electric cooker, a fridge, a wall unit like the one my mother had in the 50s and a small formica topped table. Most of these are immaculately tidy, functional and very well used.


The outdoor kitchen in summer

The outdoor kitchen in summer showing the pergola and fruit trees providing shade.

In rural southern Serbia the outdoor kitchen is usually a wooden cabin with an iron stove, table, chair and hooks for utensils. On the outside of the cabin hang saucapans of every colour and shape and size along with dried herbs, peppers and garlic. There is sometimes even some tabacco hanging up to dry. Within reach is a tap and a vague sort of drying wrack.

In northern rural Serbia, every old house had a designated room for summer cooking. There is even the lovely expression "letnja kuhinja" which means summer kitchen. Most Vojvodina homes built during the Austro Hungarian rule were of a similar design but different sizes. Each house has a "Gong" or open passage, running along the side of the house. Each room in the house has access to this passage as do the giant larder room, steps to the cellar, ladder to the roof space and of course the summer kitchen. The "gong" itself was often used as an over flow to the summer kitchen.


the outdoor kitchen from the house

The outdoor kitchen, from the shade of the "Gong", showing the works surfaces, and cooking area.

The outdoor kitchens that really attracted my attention were the older style ones. I am banning electricity so no fridge and only wood fired cooking. We would like a bread oven, somewhere to hang the kotlich over a fire, space for all the cooking kit, a work surface and a sink. We can't attach ours to the house so it will have to be a free standing, open sided wooden structure, with room to incorporate all that is most admirable about the Serbian summer Kitchen.

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outdoor kitchen

The outdoor kitchen in between activities. You can see the hanging Kotlich, fire place, work surfaces and the  sink with tap on the left.