What did the kitchen smell like?

The most constant smell, always drifting on the air outside and filling the inside of the kitchen, was the smell of the wood burning in the fireplace. Even when the fire was out, the room would retain this smoky, woodsy smell. And it was not just the room that would smell smoky; the smell of the fireplace gets onto the clothes and in the hair of everyone who works around it, so people working in the kitchen would always smell a bit like a camp fire.

There were lots of cooking smells too, depending on the season of the year and what the cook decided to have on the menu. There might be meat roasting, or a big pot of stew bubbling over the fire. Once or twice a week there would be bread baking in the oven, and almost every day there would be a pie of some kind cooling on the windowsill. Bunches of dried herbs hanging from the ceiling bring the smell of the garden indoors, and the grinding of spices might fill the air with the smell of ginger, cinnamon, and pepper. If the kitchen was very hot or smoky, the doors might be open, allowing fresh air and farmyard smells to come inside. Some of these smells were pleasant, such as freshly mown hay in the summertime. Others were not so nice, such as cow manure or the pig sty.

A Closer Look at the Painting

What are some of the smell that might drift into the kitchen from outside? Can you imagine some smells from the kitchen that visitors arriving at the tavern might notice?