Cob Oven Adventure

19 Apr

In the fall our good friend Amy emailed us this article, The 36-Hour Dinner Party by Michael Pollan because she thought it would be right up our alley. Josh read it right away, fell in love with the idea, started enlisting friends to join us in this adventure and for months has been urging me to read the article and get on board too. The inspiration is this: Pollan, along with some friends built a single wood fire in a cob oven and cooked 4 meals over the course of a couple days.

I finally just read the article. And I am officially on board with this crazy and fun undertaking. Our friend Amy was right – as folks who love to cook, and better yet share in the cooking and the eating, this sounds like a totally cool project.

Anatomy of a Cob Oven - Image from

One major difference though: Pollan conveniently had a friend with an already existing cob oven. So, seeing that we don’t know anyone with a cob oven, and seeing that we think it could be really fun to build one in our backyard ourselves (admittedly Josh is the one who is a bit more excited and confident about that aspect of this endeavor) – we’re going to take it one step further. For us, it’s not just about making a big fire and cooking for a couple days, it’s about making the whole oven in which to do all this fabulous cooking.

Some of you may be asking yourselves, “What the heck is a cob oven?” I was answering that question a lot this past weekend as I was explaining this endeavor to  friends. Cob is like adobe. It’s building material made of earth, clay, straw, and sand.  See photo above to get an idea of what they look like.

I bought Josh this book titled, Build Your Own Earth Oven for his birthday in February and we’re in the planning stages now. Wish us luck and stay tuned for more updates about this adventure. Eventually I would love suggestions for what we should cook in it!

8 Responses to “Cob Oven Adventure”

  1. Lori April 19, 2011 at 9:09 am #

    Oooh! This sounds similar to the clay oven my friend Brian built at his house in Westhampton, but his is a little simpler, actually, and he mostly uses it for bread and the most amazing pizza ever. Let me know if I can hook you guys up, I’m sure he’d be happy to show it to you and give you some building tips!

    • Erica April 19, 2011 at 9:53 am #

      Thank you, Lori! It would be great to talk firsthand to someone who has actually gone through the whole process of building one of these. I vacillate between being completely excited about this project and wondering what the heck we’re getting ourselves into!

  2. Garden Variety Mama April 19, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

    Erica, this looks like the coolest project ever. I can’t wait to see the updates!

  3. Adrienne April 19, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

    My friends, Ellen and Crow built a clay oven a few years ago. It was a lot of work and a slow process of curing each layer but the results were phenominal! -best pizza I have ever had!

  4. Brendan April 19, 2011 at 11:24 pm #

    Yes! Excited to hear more about this as you progress toward the cob oven.

  5. Ellen J Stechman April 20, 2011 at 8:17 pm #

    Hey Erica

    Adrienne’s friend Ellen here. Crow and I built a beautiful cob oven a couple of years ago. We did use Kiki Denzer’s book, It was the most fun Project ever. It is time consuming but not that difficult. Just make sure you build a very sturdy base. Invite lots of people to help. I think everyone should build one. If you have any questions feel free to drop me line. if would like to see the oven you are always welcome. I will try to send a picture to you. Good luck

  6. corey April 22, 2011 at 11:40 am #

    wow, looks like a lot of fun! cooking outside is very popular here in JA. it’s common for houses to have outdoor kitchens. i can’t wait to have an outdoor oven of my very own!!

  7. pokey mama April 29, 2011 at 8:37 pm #

    What a delicious blog this is, in every way! I love the look of your place here, and can’t wait to try some of these good recipes. So glad I came by!

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