It is very useful to know how to keep food cool without the use of a fridge. Nowadays it is the norm to see a refrigerator in the kitchen but many years ago a refrigerator was considered a luxury. But years ago people tended to shop locally which meant that they shopped little and often. Back gardens were filled with home grown vegetables that could be pulled or picked as and when needed. Today food is bulk bought and frozen or refrigerated. Instead of concentrating on one meal at a time we plan our menus way in advance. This means that the food is brought into the home and stored in the refrigerator until it is used.
But there is life after a refrigerator. If you have a scullery or a pantry in the kitchen then buy yourself a marble cooling slab. The thick slab of marble enables you to keep food cool for a few hours. Lay meat on a plate, cover it and place it on the cool marble slab in the pantry. Cheese will keep on the marble slab too. If you buy cold meat in the morning then place the sliced meat onto a plate, cover it and leave it on the marble slab. The meat will not keep for days but it will keep fresh for a number of hours.
Run the cold water tap until the water is as chilled as it will run. Fill a bucket with the cold water and use it to keep food cool. As long as the food is wrapped tightly then it will come to no harm. Store your potatoes in a cloth sack and place them into a dark cupboard. The potatoes will keep for weeks. If you have a glut of root vegetables dig a hole in the cool soil and bury them. The cool soil will keep the vegetables crisp and fresh until you need to cook them.
Ice cream may be a no-no but you can store milk and yoghurt in a pail of cold water. Try making a Zeer pot. The Zeer pot consists of two large terracotta pots. The smaller of the two pots slots inside of the larger pot. The space in between the two pots is then filled with sand. The dish of food is then placed inside of the smaller pot and covered with a fresh damp cloth. The inner pot stays cooler and preserves the contents.