Today, I want to review the book Rediscovering the Woodburning Cookstove, written and illustrated by Robert Bobrowski. Published in 1976 and originally retailing for $5.95, its ISBN number is 0-85699-130-9. It was published by The Chatham Press of Old Greenwich, Connecticut.
|A scan of the front cover or Robert Bobrowski's book.|
For me, this book was an eBay find some years ago. I no longer remember how much I paid for it, but I can guarantee it wasn't too much; otherwise, I wouldn't have bought it. My copy is autographed by the author, but the message that accompanies the signature is so full of swear words that it probably actually detracts from the value of the book.
Rediscovering the Woodburning Cookstove is an album of information about various models of historic woodburning cookstoves sprinkled with some lore from the various cookstove users Bobrowski interviewed in compiling the stove biographies. Directions for using a wood cookstove are present, but definitely take a secondary place to the historical information.
The most charming feature of the book is Bobrowski's artwork. I counted no less than 107 hand-drawn pencil illustrations spread over the book's 95 pages. Bobrowski also did a masterful job of choosing a wide variety of woodburning cookstoves to share with the reader. From simple box stoves and the true original "cookstove" to various models of portable ranges to a beautifully rendered "set range," pretty much all styles of wood cookstoves known to man in 1976 are covered in this book. (For a detailed discussion of each of these types of wood cookstove, see this post.) Bobrowski also shares information about various equipment and accessories which are cookstove compatible.
Throughout the book, Bobrowski includes recipes which other cookstove owners shared with him as well as a few of his own. The recipes are interesting, and several have a definite eastern United States feel, which is obvious to this Midwesterner because of the presence of fish and fiddleheads (forty-year-old cookbooks from the Midwest don't include fish recipes as a general rule). Come to think of it, most of the brands of stoves featured in the book are also more common in the Northeast than in other parts of the country.
The only criticism I would offer is that the text of the book is handwritten in a somewhat calligraphic style, which can be truly difficult to read at times. I noticed that my reading was slowed considerably by this aspect, and I suspect that someone with eyesight more troublesome than mine would find the book quite challenging.
|A scan of an interior page which shows the beautiful illustrations|
and the difficult text.