Mission La Purísima Kitchen

The kitchen is a small building behind the monastery. As you come up to it examine the roof as it gives one of the best looks at how mission roofs were actually constructed during the mission era.

Basically, logs of the correct size were placed on top of the adobe walls, These were covered by logs crosswise and the two were lashed together with rawhide strips. The superstructure was then covered with dried reeds. Before 1790 that would have been the extent of the roof, but the need to protect Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa from flaming arrows dictated that tiles be placed on top of the reed layer. From then on all mission roofs were tiled as a standard construction technique.

Rawhide roof construction
Picture taken 1:20pm 21 Jul 2001

The making of the tiles was also fairly standard across the missions. Basically, a clay rectangle was made and then formed into a tile shape by pressing it over a wood form. The formed tile was then baked to harden it. There is a good description of this in the Monastery chapel sacristy museum which I’ll show here, a bit out of sequence.

Tile Materials
Picture taken 1:00pm 21 Jul 2001

The inside of the kitchen is standard across most missions. You’ll note fire pits and ovens for cooking and various ways of storing and serving the foods. This two-picture panorama illustrates this.

Kitchen pan
Picture taken 1:20pm 21 Jul 2001

As you might expect, material preparation also took place in the kitchen. Here you see a grinding wheel where grains were put into the hole in the wheel. The wheel was turned by patient humans and the stone ground the grains. The resulting flour was collected at the bottom.

Grinding wheel
Picture taken 1:20pm 21 Jul 2001