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Control the Stove 生炉子技术

Controlling the heat of a coal stove wasn't so easy. People do it by adjusting the air flow.

Chimney+Fan=higher heat

Certain dishes required very high heat.

For restaurant cooking , they even needed to use a small electric fan. Most families would only use a grass made hand fan to reach a balance of heating fast and saving coals.

(photo from internet)

Getting the ash out was messy.

Coals on the lower side burns out earlier. In order to keep the air flow, people needed to remove the bottom layer coals constantly by breaking them into ashes with a iron hook. Then a spatula was used to get the ash out of the stove.

The whole process create a lot of dust: in the air, on the ground, on the clothes.

Things got less messy when coal cakes replaced coal balls.

(photo from internet)

Only add coals when necessary.

No one would want to waste any coal balls. They were not very expensive but still cost money.

Close the stove up to get low heat.

There was an air inlet (at the bottom) and an air outlet (on the top). By closing them half or fully, less air would be involved in the burning process. Many dishes like meat stew, steaming rice requires low and steady heat.

An experienced cook could control the stove better. However unexpected situations still happened all the time: a stove could die if it was closed for too long. Food could get burnt if the air flow was too high.

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