At most public shows we are required to use fire-boxes to avoid damaging the ground. Some sites have archaeological evidence still in the ground and heat would alter or destroy such evidence, hence the need for keeping fires off the ground. Some venues simply do not want us to damage or dig up their lawns and parklands. The default position is that we must use fire-boxes to support and contain our camp fires. If any specific event, client and/or venue is prepared to relax this rule then this will be specifically advised within the event information published in the Runestaff magazines and/or online on society websites.
A general misconception is that fire-boxes are not authentic, This is not entirely correct. Whilst it is unlikely that they were extensively used during the early years of our period, there is evidence for them at the end of the dark ages. The provenance for these latter period fire-boxes is the Bayeaux Tapestry, where one is shown being used by the Norman army cooks. It can be argued that all armies would need feeding and that similar camp equipment was available and used by others.
Fire-boxes come under the society LHE Rules for any metalwork in that :- ALL METALWORK, AS FOR OTHER EQUIPMENT MUST LOOK WROUGHT OR SMITHED AND NOT BE MODERN CAST, PRESSED OR MACHINED. MODERN WELDS SHOULD BE AVOIDED.
Fire-boxes should be smithed and not look modern. i.e. they should be wrought or fashioned from sheet metal of riveted construction. Avoid integral sliding grills and other modern attachments and accessories that can make a fire box look more like a modern heavy duty barbeque.
Other kitchen specific items to be used with fire-boxes are short metal double ended hooks, or ‘S’ hooks, which are used to suspend pots and pans over the fire. These can vary widely in size and design. For longer drops from high tri-pods a chain can be used, sometimes with a hook on the end. Chains should be forged and not have modern spot welded links.
A handled single ended hook can be useful to rescue pan handles that have dropped into the fire or with bad designs into the pan itself. It can also be used to lift pans off the suspension hooks etc. without needing to touch the invariably hot handles with the hand. (although an insulating cloth also works).
Other useful items are fire pokers and simple rakes. The rake being used to spread the fire embers evenly over the hearth to give a better control of the fire for cooking.