Friday, 11 October 2013

Fuelless cooking

After three or four years of discussing the idea, I finally made a hay box cooker.

A hay box is a method of fuelless cooking. It is something of a misnomer, because whilst the box does not use fuel to cook the food, the food has to be brought up to temperature using a separate heat source before it is placed in the box. The hay box itself is heavily insulated and completes the cooking of the food by retaining the heat already contained within. There also may be no hay involved - the box can be insulated with just about any material that sufficiently stems the loss of heat.

Ours is made from an old wooden crate, a pillow case, some newspaper and a couple of bags of hay, a total expenditure so far of £4. I lined the crate sides with a good thick layer of newspaper and added a bag of the loosened hay to the bottom. The pot sits in this.


 The second bag of hay stuffed into the pillowcase comprises the lid. I added a few sheets of newspaper and a folded sheet to cover the whole thing too.

I am currently scouting around for an Ottoman or other piece of furniture that I can integrate the cooker into; one that doubles up as a usable surface. I suspect that I can increase the heat retention significantly with a square box and more layers of insulation; but even this knocked together version.

I really wish I hadn't procrastinated for so long on this, it has been so satisfying to finally achieve. I somehow got trapped by the idea that I had to get everything perfect, when I could have made a good-enough hay box cooker all along . I am currently scouting around for an Ottoman or other piece of furniture that I can integrate the cooker into; one that doubles up as a usable surface. I suspect that I can increase the heat retention significantly with a square box and more layers of insulation; but even this knocked together version.

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