Saturday, August 28

Solar Cooking Question - Give Me the Children

Solar Cooking Question of the Week - Give Me the Children

This past week in my comments, I was asked a very good question by Maggie at Walk On The Happy Side.  She inspired me to start a new section for this blog -- answering questions from mainstream folks who are just discovering solar cooking and want more information.  Once a week, I will pick one or two of your questions and answer them to the best of my ability. (No, I'm not going to answer questions about the contents of my car trunk or where I get my drugs -- although, I must say the expression on the helpful policeman's face when I brought out the axe, the whip, and my seven-inch filleting knife, looking for the jack, was priceless!)  This week's question was also a challenge that you can read in its entirety in my previous post.  Here is the paraphrased question:
"Cause here's your challenge... While I love the idea of saving energy, the earth and living naturally all at once. How would you encourage me into the solar cooking world?"
Answer:   Well, Maggie, truth is, whenever you want to introduce a new way of thinking, you start with the children.  Their minds are little sponges, open to new ideas and eager to know everything about their world.

 From your blog, I'm guessing your guys have just reached school age. This is the perfect time to introduce them to solar cooking. Without mercy, I'm heading for your weak spot, your boys, turning the thumbscrews... My point is to get your boys involved and they'll be planning meals, in no time, and, you'll forget all about how much you hate cooking.  You can't HATE solar cooking -- it's too much fun.  Each and every time you remove a fully-cooked meal from the solar oven, you have to smile one of those 'well-I'll-be-hornswaggled' grins. Can't help it; comes with the territory.

Your boys have pretty standard palates for their age (hey, I know adults who put ketchup on everything, and the less said on that, the better), so the problem seems to be with... with... ah... mmmmmm, with, well, er, with you... because of that 'hate' thingy. I don't think you really hate cooking. I'm guessing you just haven't been allowed to let your creativity (we all have it) fly because of the boys' limited palates, so the idea of cooking has become boring.

Outside of a melted box of crayons, there isn't much else in one's life that offers such a complete palette as cooking -- color, taste, texture, harmony, chemistry, seduction, anticipation, jaw-dropping ecstacy from ingesting a sublime morsel of self-prepared sustenance... (oh, dear, I digress... forgive me.) 

I know that your boys are challenged but they seem able to really involve themselves in their peer group and have already mastered quite a few challenges.  Well, cooking is a great place to start making them feel useful and in control. It's a full process of taking steps, measuring ingredients, combining ingredients, and watching it all transform into something they can EAT! An end result that is precisely what humans love to do -- eat -- and, it's going to taste better because they've fixed it, themselves.  Nothing tastes better to a kid than a sandwich they made themselves.  Don't even care how it looks -- it's going down... When they're part of the process, they'll demand to eat what they've cooked. Teach a man to fish...

Ah, but add the magic of using the SUN to make scrumptuous (okay, that may be a bit overboard for a hot dog -- but, I'm selling, here) hamburgers, hot dogs, etc.  and it takes care of the problem of only wanting to eat foods cooked one way.  They're going to want to try other foods as they get older and, if they have been using a solar oven since early childhood, it's not a strange idea, it's perfectly natural, and we've come one step closer to enjoying delicious meals while saving fossil fuels. 

Start with your favorite cookies... they cook great in the solar oven and the boys can watch them (YOU can watch them!) cooking. Usually done in under 25 minutes, solar cookies are a fast and tasty introduction to using a solar oven. Since I don't know the actual recipes you are using, it's hard to say how to do the preparation.

Almost anything you cook in a slow cooker or on top of the stove can be cooked in a solar oven. But, I would never say that solar cooking is the only way you can cook or ask you to throw out every other appliance you have, because I enjoy variety in meal preparation too much. It's when you actually see the fuel bill drop that you start to really incorporate solar cooking into your lifestyle.

Unfortunately, if you really HATE cooking and let the kids see it, they're going to hate it, too... (they're imprinting that that's what you do in your family, you're a 'hate cooking' family). Let them try this Artisan Bread recipe... It's very basic, easy to prepare, and delicious.  Start checking out some of my recipes, here, just using chicken breasts in those dishes.  You'll see a big change in your boys' food choices and your feelings about cooking. Have I raised your enthusiasm, at all?

Does anyone else have a question about solar cooking?

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