Wonder Oven

Call me Mrs. Ingall, but I find if sort of fun learning how to live off the land per se.  You know, do my part to decrease my carbon footprint on the earth (my dad just puked in his mouth a little bit after that comment).  Anyway, I made these wonder ovens after one of my enrichment classes.  I've used it a few times and it actually works; in fact, the food was great.  So, here is how to make one. 
These are so simple to make; however, making the pattern was a different story.  I had to refresh some of my VERY rusty geometry skills (skills is putting it very kindly - admit it, 9th grade geometry at Hurricane Middle was lacking).  If you are fortunate enough to live nearby, I can lend you mine.
 Fold fabric in half and cut 2 of each section, so you will have 4 (unfolded) of each section).
 Sew right sides together, down one side, with all 4 pieces.  
 Leave a 4" opening on one of the top pieces and one of the bottom pieces. 
 Snip the corners, so the corners fold out better (optional)
 Next sew the 2 sections together (2 for the top and 2 for the bottom). Sorry forgot a picture of this step.  Should look something like this when it's done (bottom section). 
Tape a funnel to the opening and fill with polystyrene beads.  I just found some old bean bags on craigslist for cheap - cut it open and use the insides.  You can buy the beads online, but they're actually quite expensive.  I've also heard you can get them from a bedding store, but craigslist is cheaper.  Fill the base piece a little less than half way and fill the lid piece about half full.  
 If you're unfortunate lucky enough to have a "helper" while you fill the bags, your house will end up like this. And yes, Grant is wearing girl shoes.  He LOVES flip flops, any shoe actually, and Ava's were the most handy that day.  
You'll need a bin of some sort to put the bag in while cooking, and an 18 gallon bucket works perfectly.  When you're not using it you can put the lid on and store it.  Test the bag fullness by putting a large pot in the middle and make sure it fits snuggly in there (the little square at the top of the base piece is what you push down and put your pot on it), but don't over fill or it won't surround the pot. 

 The lid should be a little floppy so it can "hug" the pot and cover it really well. 
 If you get carried away and make a whole bunch, you can give them away as gifts, and use up all your scrap fabric.  Yeah.  People might think you're weird, but at least you're preparing them for a disaster, right?!
 OK.  Now how to use it.  So the idea of a wonder oven is that you can cook a meal with only the use of 15 minutes (max) of cooking fuel.  This concept is used all over 3rd world countries, or so I was told.  So if you're using this as Emergency Preparedness cooking, get a little portable propane cooker and keep in the box.  I just think it's fun to use, so I just use it instead of a crock pot basically.  Google wonder oven and you will find a ton of info on it and some things you can cook.  So far I've tried bread, beef stew, roast and a whole chicken.  All of them came out super moist and delicious.  
This is the chicken.  First I seasoned the skin and browned it.  Then I put the whole chicken in a freezer bag (double bag it) with some onions and bay leaves.  Then you put the chicken back in the pot and cover with water (needs to be completely covered).  This seems to be my hardest part, trying to keep it down.  I put some rocks in some cans and that helped.  Bring to boil, cover, and boil for 15 minutes.  Somewhere there is a chart for how long certain things have to boil, but I couldn't find it just now.  Most things are 10 minutes. Without removing the lid transfer directly to the wonder oven. 
 I put a towel down just to fill in any little air pockets, not necessary though. 
Cover with the lid and leave alone for however long you want (3-8 hrs.).  One of the things I like about it, is that it will never burn your food. So if you are making bread and you have to leave for a few hours it can just sit in there until you get back. Hard to believe it works, but it does.  Try it. 

1 comment:

The Yoder's Four said...

Wow, that is so cool! 9th grade geometry at Hurricane Middle, LOL.