Thursday, January 27, 2005

Perot Rumah 1

The kitchen is the centre of household life and activity in a Baba house the matriach of the house and the womanfolk would gather here to prepare food and even entertain relatives and friends. That is why the Baba akin the kitchen as the Perot Rumah or The stomach of the house.

" My grandmother's friends never had to venture beyond the comforting embrace of the kitchen when visiting her. It is from here that my grandmother entertained traders, family friends and relatives as the the mistress of the house" Lim Kean Siew, The Eye Over the Golden Sands - Pelanduk Publications

In the days before refrigeration, live fowls were kept in cages in the backyard. Food had to be stored away from ants and cockroaches, so a long hook will hang from the ceiling and on this hook a small wooden box enmeshed with fly screen doors was suspended. The meat storage boxes were later replaced by tall almari cupboards with fly screen doors. The four high legs of the almari stood in small bowls made of ceramic which were filled with water to deter ants.

Cooking was done on long brick stoves with several holes over which the cooking pots were placed. The fuel source would be firewood in the early days, charcoal was only available later.

The furniture would be a square or long wooden table with long bangku (benches) for preparing food as well as for the servants dining.

Wooden drying racks hung on the walls were use to store the many tools required for food preparation.