A kitchen stove or a cooking stove, is a kitchen appliance designed for the purpose of cooking food. Kitchen stoves rely on the application of direct heat for the cooking process.
EARLY KITCHEN STOVES
In the early civilizations stoves were fired by wood or charcoal through a hole in the front. Pots with food to be cooked were placed over or hung into holes at the top of the knee-high construction.
In Europe, around the 16th century, people cooked over open fires fueled by wood, which were first on the floor or on low masonry constructions. In the Middle Ages, waist-high brick-and-mortar hearths and the first chimneys appeared, so that cooks no longer had to kneel or sit to tend to foods on the fire. The fire was built on top of the construction; the cooking was done mainly in cauldrons hung above the fire or placed on trivets. The heat was regulated by placing the cauldron higher or lower above the fire.
Attempts were made to enclose the fire to make better use of the heat that it generated and thus reduce the wood consumption. A first step was the fire chamber: the fire was enclosed on three sides by brick-and-mortar walls and covered by an iron plate. This technique also caused a change in the kitchenware used for cooking, for it required flat-bottomed pots instead of cauldrons. Only in 1735 did the first design that completely enclosed the fire appear: the Castrol stove of the French architect François de Cuvilliés was a masonry construction with several fire holes covered by perforated iron plates. It is also known as a stew stove.
Near the end of the 18th century, the design was refined and thus began the quest for better stoves and the design process of producing improved stoves and also the process of experimentation using different fuels as they were discovered , leading to a vast range of cooking stoves that are available in the present day.
In India too, a continuous design development process has been occurring through the ages in kitchen stove design due to the desire to improve lifestyle, fuel efficiency and to also incorporate newer fuels.
In India the traditional kitchen was an area of sanctity with many taboos on who could enter, how they should be dressed and how pollution must be avoided, and the Indian kitchen is a very special area with its own code of conduct. Even today one must remove shoes before entering kitchen, though the other things have changed. Modern appliances like cooking ranges and electric gadgets, are slowly appearing in urban Indian homes, and many of these households can afford kitchen help, so traditional methods of cooking /preparing food are still preserved for taste and authenticity.
The Three stone stove, Chulha, Angithi, Tandoor, Kerosene stove, LPG stove, Electric stove/Hot plate, Solar cooker, Induction stoves, Microwave oven are some of the cooking stoves that have been appearing in the Indian kitchens from ancient times till the present day.
These are presented below.