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WHY SOLAR COOKING? (from the Morning Hill Solar Cookery Book):
Solar cooking is another way of using the resource of the sun which is freely given. Any container with reflectors to collect solar heat can serve as a cooker, but there are several designs which work efficiently enough to make cooking with the sun a practical daily alternative. Cooking with the sun is a way of making a statement on how we feel about our earth and its resources. It is a way of saving the time and money we would otherwise spend to obtain energy for cooking with electricity, wood, or fossil fuels. It is a way of stating our independence from "the system" which runs the energy supply infrastructure. And it is a way of making carefree time coincide with the creation of delicious food.
You can't hurry the sun. Some days are jewels, with azure blue skies and blazing white sun. Others, soft pastels of pale sky and daffodil sunshine, take longer to cook a meal or fully charge the solar power system in our house. Yet more days are in-and-out, peekaboo blue sky and solar shadows on the earth. We have to look at the sky each day and judge for ourselves what will work for us and our food. Ultimately, the only rule is cook it till it's done. Experience will tell us when that is possible.
A PHILOSOPHY OF COOKING
Don't put any more time into it than it's worth. If you wish to prepare an elegant meal, and you love to cook, by all means spend several hours serving up a feast as a declaration of love, creativity or whatever you wish to express through food. But if spending time in the kitchen isn't at the top of your list (this world needs many, many things from you besides your good cooking), don't give up any more time than you can spare to the preparation of food. Nutrition and enjoyment in eating should be of more importance than complexity of preparation, and these may be found in the simplest meal, if it is made of fresh and high-quality food.
A PHILOSOPHY OF EATING
If the eating of food were only to sustain life, we could eat a bowl
of steamed grain three times a day (as many people in impoverished
nations do), and we would stay alive. But food is also a building
block for optimum health, and often the center of our social events.
If our food is varied and of the best quality (this means organically
grown), we are much more likely to get all of the nutrition we need.
We can spread the word about how wonderful truly good food is. If our
food is also chosen with attention to its impact on the environment,
we can make the choice to move the earth towards a healthier
(My sweetheart) gave me a copy of
your wonderful book for Christmas. I love it. Simple, elegant, good
Solar Cooking Classes and Events
Where can you go to learn solar cookery and socialize with other solar cooks? Renewable energy fairs and educational organizations often offer classes in solar cooking. Here are a couple of my favorites (check their websites for schedules and contact information):
Solar potlucks, picnics, and solar cooking contests offer a chance to learn, improve your skills, and socialize with others interested in solar cookery:
Solar Potluck, middle of April, Catlina State Park just north of
Tucson, AZ (est. 1983!)
Bisbee (AZ) Farmer's Market Annual Solar Cookoff, mid-June (summer solstice). Sponsored by Baja Arizona Sustainable Agriculture.
Solar cookery class and potluck picnic at Morning Hill Forest Farm, mid-September.
Jennifer's Solar Cooking Links
I have done a little web searching on solar cooking, and have a list of "favorites". For a first project (just to see how much fun it is without putting in too much time), I would recommend a cooker designed especially as a school project.
Here are some school project designs to check out:
Box Solar Ovens and More (from Union Elementary School)
The Solar Cooking Archive has plans for many kinds of box-style, parabolic, and panel cookers. Its companion site, the Solar Cooking Wikia, is an interactive set of directories, links, and answers to all your questions about solar cooking technology.
Joe Radabaugh is my solar cooking guru! Here's an article he wrote on how to make a Sunstar oven.
Tamara Dwyer's Science of Solar Cooking Page contains excellent background information.
Mindy's Sun Ovens are Wonderful contains the True Confessions of a friendly neighborhood solar cook.
Doug Edwards is an adventurous solar cook with a nice web page.
Surfer Chef's website contains inexpensive solar cookers and plans for making your own panel cooker out of cardboard.
Books You Will Enjoy
Cooking with Sunshine - Whether youre new to solar cooking or have been doing it for years, Cooking with Sunshine is your definitive guide to making a variety of tasty sun-cooked meals. The book provides everything you need to get cooking. Purchase at 100 Fires Books.
Cooking with the Sun: How To Build and Use Solar Cookers - Good instructions on building and using solar cookers, nice recipes for omnivores with varied tastes.
Solar Cooker Manufacturers
Clear Dome parabolic solar cookers.
Global Sun Oven is easy to use and efficient. This is my every-day solar cooker.
Solar Chef International, maker of the StarFlower solar oven.
Solar Household Energy, Inc. has a neat Solar Hot Pot.
Solar Oven Society makes and sells the Sport Solar Oven.
Solar Sizzler is a parabolic cooker kit. I like their ingenious supports and cooking stands.
Tulsi Hybrid is a solar/electric hybrid oven that supplements solar heat with electric backup.
The disclaimer: all external links on this site are provided for your information only. Morning Hill does not have an interest in the external links, nor can we guarantee any of the products mentioned on these sites, or even that the company is actually in business!