I reckon wild food foraging is the perfect companion to solar cooking. Gather your ingredients wild, then cook them with the sun. As activities they complement each other perfectly.
Both are about utilising free, abundant resources that you can find almost anywhere. Both allow you to wander. Both promote self-reliance and independence from any system. And both, if you engage in them with care, are utterly sustainable.
Okay, it's not exactly solar cooking season yet. (Did you see that hailstorm today?) But I did manage to use our little solar oven as a haybox cooker last night, sort of. And I did forage for a little bit of the meal.
On the stove, I brought to the boil a pot of huakaroro potatoes (very waxy and dense), then quickly took them off and put them into the box cooker, which I'd lined with an old cot quilt.
I wrapped the quilt over the pot, tucked towels around it, and laid my son's folded swanndri over the top. I added a couple of my old jerseys over the top of that - just for good measure! Then I put the cooker lid on, and weighed it down with a couple of books. (Not sure if that last bit with the books was necessary, but what the heck.)
I didn't keep track of how long I left it, but I guess not long enough, because when I opened the pot, the potatoes were still too hard to eat. Since I'd now let a lot of the heat out, I put the potatoes back on the stove and brought them to the boil again before re-ensconcing them in the cooker.
Some time later (I really should have kept track!) I opened the cooker a second time, and the potatoes were nicely soft.
After draining and cooling them, I chopped them up and made a salad of them, using home-made orange mayonnaise and finely chopped onionweed. We had them for dinner on a bed of puwha, along with cold slices of the previous night's lamb roast.
The foraged bits were the puwha and the onionweed, both of which grow prolifically around our neighbourhood. I love wild onionweed! I'd choose it over store-bought spring onions any day.
Funny how things change. As a child helping my parents with their weeding I loathed the very sight of onionweed - and the stink of it as we pulled it up by the handful.
Now, when I see it down the road, or up the bank next door, or in our back yard, I think instead, 'Yay, onionweed.'