Pizza made in a wood fired oven is a heavenly treat, the thought of it all takes me back to the early 70′s when Pizza Hut cooks knew how to make a fabulous “thin and crispy”. This month, December will be a milestone for Stanton in that the kitchen is going to have an upgrade.
Stanton has never actually had a fitted kitchen in the engineering mode or in the culinary sense that we know and love. Mister Smeg and Monsieur Miele were never guests here.
Yes, over the years the house has witnessed the comings and goings of an assorted line up of fridges and the odd cooktop in the room downstairs we now use as an informal dining room, but nothing grand, imposing, or even inspirational.
We get by with a few benches that do their part as well as a stainless steel sink of 1980′s vintage that is an ageing reminder of washing up in the past. Until recent history two of the fireplaces still had attached swing out metal arms for holding up the rabbit stew.
The meals prepared at Stanton come off a 3 burner gas camping cooker mounted on a bench with its chum — a 44 gallon drum bbq — which sits next to an ex-metal room heater outside the spa house courtyard. Roasts are still done this way as well.
A well respected Brisbane architect, Margaret Ward, has designed us a simple yet sympathetic kitchen that will be beautiful when complete sometime in the future; the house will love this one. For now it is just us and a lot of very fine country smells inside and out.
Most of what we eat at Stanton comes from the property including the meat. I know we are fortunate in that we live well and have simple pleasures (quite a lot) to keep us going. Our newest arrivals, six Wyandote chicks and four Khaki Campbell ducks are not destined for the pot, rather they will have a long and chirpful/quacking life whereas one of our largest roosters will become Christmas dinner. What they say about home grown chicken is about to be tested poultry Mythbuster style.
The new outside pizza oven is made of stone sourced from the property and is quite imposing. It reminds me of a monument to some long forgotten explorer or perhaps an engineer who built a road through some unforgiving valley.
The original outside kitchen’s foundations are still evident where the spa house now stands, but it was not nearly as majestic as the new building which is much more fun and quite sinful.
Helen’s band SUNAS used to frolic in this bath house Roman style, it was the setting for a memorable musicians party where Helen wrote the piece about the oft absent host in the wide blue hat (me! I was a Policeman in Hobart).
The original wooden building was included in a 1912 painting of Stanton by Thomas Bone. This pleasant painting is depicted on the Stanton web site, alas the original has moved on and its whereabouts is unknown. At a stretch … a long one at that, the new pizza oven could be the outside equivalent of an old convict bakery.
December means Christmas . At Stanton this was a slow affair and quiet but it did happen. For the first time the man of the house (MOTH) did not spend Christmas in the house which may have rattled some of the ancients still here.
The MOTH finished his year early (he is a schoolteacher) and flew off to the Gold Coast where he enjoyed Christmas dinner with a new crowd of people he had never met before.
I hope some of these new friends will be able to visit Stanton next year and see the place for themselves. Living here is about letting people in, not keeping them out.
So, this is the final story about the year at Stanton. Not a tumultuous ending with fireworks and bubbles, no heroic conclusion, not even a cliffhanger with some lurking new event threatening the “status quo.”
Actually, there is no ending; it all just ebbs along from one season to another, one lifespan to the next only the observers change occasionally, such players presenting themselves then fading to history. Its all part of being here in the house, and the house is about the slow passing of time from 1817 to the present.
We understand quite a lot about what happened in the district, who the people were due to our books and technology. Can we assume that as we lived after them we know better and have richer lives as a result? With all the sophistication available at Stanton I would like to be able to approach the new year with as much courage, good humour and philosophy as the builders of Stanton did in 1817.
Thank you for living with us this past year. Now you can return to a more hectic world, enjoy.
13 Mar 2012 admin