Thursday, January 31, 2008

How they used to do it

I was talking to a friend recently about life without a fridge. He remarked that it would be smart if houses were built with the ability to take advantage of the cold air outside in the wintertime to cool food. Like some sort of air exchanger that would bring cool air in and would only do this if the temperature outside was below a certain temperature. I loved this idea but it also got me thinking about how food was kept cold before refrigerators. So I did a little internet search.

I already knew about the concept of icehouses but didn't really know how they worked. Turns out that families would cut ice out of a nearby lake and stack it up surrounded by sawdust in a building built just for this purpose. If done well the ice could last for a whole year.

a spring house
I also learned about spring houses. Spring houses are small buildings built over streams and are open to the stream underneath. The cool from the stream would keep the building cold enough to store milk and butter etc.

Then I started thinking about cold storage areas. I'm sure I remember friends of mine in high school living in new homes that had cold storage areas in the basement. I wonder if they still give you the option of including a cold storage area in new homes. If nothing else it would eliminate the need for a beer/pop fridge.

Oh and it turns out my friend won't be making any money off the air exchanger idea. This company already makes them. :-)

Our dream house will definitely have some form of alternative refrigeration. Maybe a combination of all the above.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My Grandparents had what they called a 'cold cupboard.' Here is what it was: they had a cool unheated basement and above that, the kitchen. So my Grandfather cut a hole from the bottom of the kitchen cupboard so the cool air from the basement would rise into the cupboard. Cupboard had a door on it. Inside the 'cold cupboard' he built wooden slats with a space between each slat. They would keep milk, drinks, margarine, etc in the 'Cold cupboard' and it worked for most of the year. It was a brilliant idea :)