UNCLE!

Okay, I call uncle, time-out, I give…..

Do you ever feel that way? Today I am there…I QUIT!

I have yet another failed attempt at solar cooking. The beans were hard! I guess, unless it is just to heat up something that is already cooked, I am not going to waste another bit of food. DH has a problem with food cooked at low temps and it just goes to waste.

On top of it all, I just received notice that my solar cooker from Path to Freedom is on back-order. Well, actually I knew that part already , but NOT UNTIL MID JULY!  The air conditioners are going in tonight. I have puttered around with NOT cooking inside the house for long enough. Peanut butter sandwiches are getting extremely old, as are salads.

So please excuse me while I have a temper tantrum sitting here melting away in the heat.  I think I will go take a nap!

Third Solar Cooking Attempt

Is it called an attempt if you don’t know the outcome yet? This morning at 10:40 I placed a pot of pinto beans out in my home-designed solar cooker. In only 20 minutes, the temperature on top of the pan was 240 degrees, with the ambient temp being only in the 80s.

I soaked the pinto beans in a bit of water on the kitchen counter all night last night. This morning I rinsed them before placing them in my oval roaster. With fresh water, I added salt, chili powder and 1/2 of a japaleno. After placing the lid on, I slid the roaster inside the oven turkey bag (which was used the last time I solar cooked) and promptly took it outside…well after I took some photos anyhow.

So as we are waiting to see the end product, here are a few photos to ponder….. oh and by the way…it is okay to chuckle at my contraptions…

pinto beans ready for the solar cooker

Photobucket

Photobucket

Solar Cooking – First Attempt

My first attempt at solar cooking was not a total success, but subsequent efforts totally bombed. We constructed our makeshift solar cooker out of a cardboard box, weed barrier (which I would not recommend), glass from a screen door and a thermometer. At one point, I had the inside temperature up to 170 degrees, but when I had to reposition the items inside, I must have rearranged it enough that it did not seal as well. We had preheated the oven to around 120 degrees. After a couple of hours, I used a potholder to remove the items…a jar with broccoli and a pan of rice.


solar cooker
The rice and broccoli were not as done as I would have liked it, but it was all still edible.

rice and brocolli
The next day I was going to try some lentils and rice, but the wind knocked over my window and it shattered. I had seen a video about cooking in black jars using aluminum pans, but I just could not get the temperature up high enough. Luckily, DH is in favor of solar cooking, so I was able to order the Sport Solar Oven from the Peddler’s Wagon. I am so excited because the solar oven kit comes with two black cooking pots,  a solar reflector, oven thermometer, water pasteurization indicator and recipe book, which I am certain will come in handy.  I had looked at the other solar oven they offered, but was happy to see that the pans were included with this particular solar oven.

The Future of Food

This past week, I have had several different blog topics rolling around in my head. Most of those thoughts have been about food…either the growing of, the shortage of, the cooking of, the harvesting of, the preserving of, or, yes, the genetic engineering of…..OUR FOOD!

These thoughts have prompted a couple of movements for me.  I requested Michael Pollan’s books, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, , In Defense of Food, and A Place of My Own, from our local library. As I have begun to read, I have been wishing I belonged to a book club with members with whom I could discuss my readings and thoughts. DH has been kind enough to oglige, but it would be nice to hear what others have to say.

On another path, I attempted some solar cooking last weekend and hope to share my failures with you soon. Because of those failures with a home-fashioned solar cooker, I purchased a new one from The Peddlar’s Wagon at Path to Freedom/Urban Homesteaders. I am excited about the possibilities of not heating up the kitchen and still being able to prepare a meal.

What brought me to all of these thoughts about food and has me attempting action on those thoughts? First was the Path to Freedom Sustainable Food UCLA Lectures hosted on YouTube. Part four was just recently uploaded and now we are waiting for the Q & A video to be released. In Jules Dervaes’ lecture he mentioned Deborah Koons Garcia, the wife of Jerry Garcia, who is the producer of The Future of Food Documentary about, well, the future of food.  Immediately searching YouTube for Garcia and the future of food, I found several videos from which to choose. DH and I listened to Mrs. Garcia on a radio show broadcast, as she talked about the history of the documentary and her journey with food.

This radio broadcast is a bit longer than most YouTube clips…but you will gain so much info for a small investment of your time.

Introduction to The Future of Food

The Path to Freedom Sustainable Foods UCLA Lectures began with Part One……

I had not written a post, because I was not certain what I, as an individual, could say about the mess that we appear to be heading toward. My head is reeling from everything that I am learning. Today, at Prairie Dreams, Anita posted an entry about farmers being thrown out of the Food Shortage Summit in Rome and though Rome is on the other side of the earth, I know that we are all in this together…farmers, consumers, and unfortunately, large agribusiness corporations. As Jules Dervaes often speaks…it is time for a HOMEGROWN REVOLUTION. While our backyard and patio “farms” will not head off world hunger, it might just make a difference in our own household.

I encourage all to “do your own research” and take some baby steps toward sustainability. That is all that we can all do….each take baby steps toward a success.