Sunday, July 20, 2008

Absolute beginners

My daughter and I stand in the clear, winter air, examining our long shadows.

‘Not yet,’ she says.

We are waiting for the day in early spring when, at the Sun’s highest point, our shadows are exactly the same height as us. That will mean New Zealand is at a 45 degree angle from the Sun, and it will soon be possible to solar cook again.

Last summer we bought a cheap cardboard panel cooker from Solar Cookers International, a non-profit organization that also sends these cookers to regions of the world where electricity is non-existent and firewood increasingly scarce.

For us solar cooking is an indulgence by comparison, but who can argue with saving electricity? And there’s something empowering – almost magical – about using little more than sunlight to cook a meal.

Our first few solar cooking attempts were disastrous (under-cooked rice, over-cooked rice, then under-cooked rice with a layer of over-cooked rice on top). But we kept our ambitions modest, and persevered. Finally, just before the weather packed up for the season, we got it right. You never saw a family so thrilled with a meal of boiled eggs.

- Extract from 'The Art of Eating'- today's cover story in Sunday Magazine (by me).

7 comments:

Nikki said...

Look forward to following your future experiments with solar cooking. I know several online friends who are in the process of importing a couple. I've occasionally thought about making my own, but haven't got there yet!

Johanna Knox said...

Hi Nikki - We've just made a solar box cooker as well. It was fun, er,I think. (The memories of the snags we hit are fading ...)

I'm hoping to put some pics of it up this week. It *looks* good ... remains to be seen whether it will actually cook anything! I thought it would be good to be able to have two on the go at once ...

Lynda Eichler said...

Hiya Johanna & Nikki

Great blog. A few years ago we made a solar oven from a pizza box. We started with 'toast', which took all day to cook (LOL) and I'm not sure if we tried anything else. Congrats on the eggs ! Mmmmm, you've rekindled my interest .........

Johanna Knox said...

Hi Lynda - Cool - a pizza box solar cooker! That toast sounds hard won. :o)

Well, maybe we should all get together for a solar cooking picnic one day.

Are your friends who are imprting the cookers local, Nikki?

x

Lynda Eichler said...

Hey - a solar cooking picnic sounds a great idea. We'll have to visit Luigi first though (shame) as we've no idea where our oven is and we'll need another pizza box - mmmmm.

Since we've mastered the toast (LOL), we could do the toast and we could have a 'rice on toast' picnic! :-)

Nikki said...

No, not local unfortunately! But, the challenge is now on! I will be perfecting my own solar oven to add something to the toast-rice-picnic lol.

Johanna Knox said...

All righty - well why don't we make an event of it ... throw it open to other solar cookers out there as well ... (maybe some experienced folks will come who can give us tips ...)

I'll put up a post ...