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Food warmer, England, 1801-1850

This glazed earthenware food warmer was used to keep food warm for patients or invalids or to prepare pap. Flour or bread was mixed with milk diluted with water to make pap, which could be used to wean infants off breast milk. The hollow space at the bottom was used to house an oil or spirit lamp which burned alcohol to provide a source of heat. The perforated cover was placed over the lamp and then the food was placed at the top in a lidded jar called a pannikin. Under the pannikin there is a space, known as a liner, for hot water. The steam given off from the liner warms the food.

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Glossary: nursing

The study and practice of caring for and waiting on the sick, injured, or others unable to look after themselves or to deal with their specific medical needs.

Glossary: food warmer

Device used to keep food warm. Often achieved through tealight candles underneath a wire mesh on which food is placed in dishes.

Glossary: pannikin

Small earthenware or now metal drinking vessels.