Cooking With Firewood

Relationship: Im/migrant

 I emigrated from Pakistan in 1969. In the late 50’s, my mom cooked meals and naans (flat bread) on the firewood. I remember days when she was frustrated as the damp wood would not light. She would be sitting there blowing and blowing till she became exhausted. Then we discovered cooking with saw dust. Barrel shaped metal canister stoves became available. She would pack saw dust (purchased from a lumber mill) and light  the stove. The stove had a cylindrical hole in the middle and the air would flow from the bottom. It solved the problem of damp wood, but the utensils still got black with soot. This was however a huge improvement over firewood.  Then came the kerosene fired stoves. She had us buy kerosene oil from the market. We would fill the reservoir with kerosene and then pump up the pressure. Oil would eject from nozzles on the top, and a lighted match to the nozzle would light up a fire.  A huge relief came in late 50’s. Natural gas was discovered in the early 50’s. It was called Sui gas as it was discovered in the area called “Sui”. When gas pipelines were laid out in our town and eventually our home, my mother was overjoyed. Her life changed. All she had to do was to turn the knob, light a match, and behold: fire. Hours of work got done in minutes and the gas left no residue, soot or odor on the cooking utensils or walls. 

Place(s): Pakistan
Year: 1969

– Khalid Rehman

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant