Monday, November 9

Solar Cooking - Are Mainstream Chefs Different?

Mainstream Cooking is Inside

For the purposes of this Blog, mainstream cooking refers to those home cooking enthusiasts whose idea of cooking outside means grilling, regardless of fuel used. Solar cooking is something from a childhood memory of summer camp or a school experiment. The idea of solar cooking the dinner is just not a part of their current scene.

Mainstream cooking is generally done using conventional/microwave ovens, pressure cookers, slow cookers, rice cookers, counter grills -- you're getting the idea -- any appliance, large or small, that can be used indoors. We not only become familiar with cooking methods that require specific cookware and accessories, we don't mind paying for them because we enjoy the end product so much.

Outdoor grills have become very sophisticated and there are some cooks that use them for almost all their cooking needs from early March through mid-November.  They enjoy the taste and, especially in the summer
 months, they want to keep the house cool and utility bills down. For this blog, folks who grill outside all year round are still not considered mainstream cooks. Or, to put it another way, if every new home came with an outdoor grill, you could consider yourself mainstream.

Solar Ovens Are Just Another Appliance

Mainstream cooks don't want to be held to using only one type of appliance. They want to try a variety of recipes and cooking methods.  For instance, slow cookers have been riding a high wave of late. There's a very strong case against fast, high heat, cooking of foods and one of many discussions can be seen here.  The new drumbeat is for a slower, healthier, method of cooking. (By the way, there's always a new drumbeat. Keeps life interesting.)

So, what does this mean for the cooks of America? It means that we are now blessed with an exciting array of cuisine choices and kitchens filled with the aromas of the world. Every new small appliance comes with its own cookbook to help the newcomer adjust to the new method for cooking food. Bookstores abound with recipes for every favorite culinary skill. Well, almost every skill.  Solar cooking is still pretty new to the mainstream cook.  But, I'm doing my best to bring it there.  A commercial solar oven or well-crafted home made solar oven can do anything a conventional oven can do.

Solar Ovens Are the Only Truly Green Appliance

Except for the solar oven, all the above appliances have one thing in common -- they all use some form of fuel. Grills use charcoal, wood, or gas; inside appliances use electricity or gas (and, in some instances, the old/new wood stove) -- or, in other words, fossil fuels. 

Once you've made your purchase or built your own, the solar oven doesn't cost a thing and, yet, it does everything a conventional fuel-burning stove will do.  They can last for up to twenty or thirty years with care and that's some serious money in your pocket. 

While I adore a great grilled steak or hamburger, to me, it only makes sense that a solar oven would be a natural part of your cooking experiences. Sous vide cooking combines both methods of high heat and slow cooking for exceptional taste. 

I hope through this blog you will come to see just how easy it is to incorporate a solar oven into your mainstream lifestyle to take advantage of both sunny days or those days with at least 20 minutes of sun per hour to enjoy the benefits of delicious, healthy, food and money in your pocket. 

Next, it's fall weather and pumpkin season!

6 comments:

  1. Sharlene, You have made a solar cooking believer out of me. Your recipes are always top of the line, and your helpful hints, tips, and advice are so appreciated.

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