I have wanted a wood cook stove since I started hearth cooking. The technology is a little more advanced than making a "burner" of coals on the hearth floor, but they are much more practical and fuel efficient (and much easier on your back). Soon after we moved into our schoolhouse we bought an old coal range from the 1940s or 50s. It baked beautifully; something about that type of heat that made the best breads. And sitting in front of the oven door was great for drying hair. Unfortunately, the stove's firebox was too small to be our main heat source and frankly the stove was really ugly.
A true wood cook stove just wouldn't work in our current home. The layout is all wrong and we needed the larger firebox and heat output of our Vermont Castings' Vigilant. But when we started to design the interior changes in the new house it became apparent that a wood cook stove would fit in to the kitchen area. We knew we needed a newer stove to get the UL listing so we wouldn't lose our homeowner's insurance. There are two steel stoves, Pioneer and Baker's Choice, that I really didn't like the looks of and I wanted something sturdier. The Elmira has a more solid top and is a bit ornate for my tastes as is the Heartland. Finally I saw someone mention a Waterford Stanley on a blog and I really liked the looks of this stove. It's also solid cast iron and considered the "work horse" of cook stoves.
But, ouch, the price! I have been regularly checking out Craig's List for stoves and finally a Waterford Stanley came up. I think we are going to look at it this weekend. Hopefully it as nice as it looks like on line and I will have a wood cook stove finally.