Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A meal cooked by the sun

"Would you like some rice?" my mother had asked me tonight. I had been about to say no when I had remembered how I had opened the glass lid of the solar cooker today afternoon at half past three. A very strong effluvia of boiled tomatoes had struck my nose. "One vessel contains tomatoes for a soup and the other rice" my mother had told me. I had opened each vessel in turn. The boiled tomatoes had smelt yum. And the rice was white and fluffy. She had kept these two blackened vessels in the solar cooker at about 12 noon and left them there without thinking about them. The sunrays had done the rest as they made the cooking compartment of the cooker very hot and boiled the vegetables and rice. Nothing gets burnt in this solar cooker my parents had bought in 1986. In the almost two decades that she has been using this cooker my mother must have saved quiet a lot of money as well as prevented burning fossil fuels like cooking gas. Peanuts get roasted very nicely. And as they are untouched by any flame they remain as white as they were when raw. I had once made tea by boiling water in this cooker. Just for fun. It had turned out very nice or maybe I made myself imagine it. She had once even baked my birthday cake in this. This was done after there had been a power failure which had meant that she couldnt use the electric oven. The old oven which she kept on the gas stove also collapsed so the cake went into its third cooker i.e., the solar cooker. It had come out so tasty that my mother felt sad that she hadn't noted the times it had remained in the two ovens. I have never eaten such a tasty cake ever since. But maybe I look at the past with what is called a 'soft focus'. But when all is said and done this is a real neat thing that we have in our house. I am thinking of presenting one such cooker to a family which can't afford to buy it but spends an awful lot of money on wood, kerosene and cooking gas. Even if they can cook a hundred meals a year on it there would be a very positive impact on the environment and their fuel bill. If I had been a schoolkid I would have ended this short note with a "I love my solar cooker, it is soooo nice." It really is. And I must tell you that I did have some rice tonight. It was really very tasty!


Blogger Priya Sivan said...

Though I do not have any idea of the latest model solar cooker, Ive seen it in Trade Fairs :) Doesnt it need a lot of patience?
Btw thks for stepping by. I liked those oneliners :)))

9:42 PM  
Blogger Dev said...

Hi Priya. Well if you get enough sunshine then a solar cooker is something you should have. One learns how to time the cooking. In my house we use it a lot to boil dal (lentils), rice and vegetables and also to roast peanuts. If I think of the amount of fossil fuels we must have saved in these 19 years I feel proud. It is particularly recommended if you can leave the cooker unattended in the sun for long periods of time. There is no question of anything getting burnt. Worth a try?

11:15 PM  
Blogger aria said...

Good one Dev.
I'm gonna tell my mom to hv a solar cooker!
It seems you really enjoyed your meal cooked by the sun. Anything cooked on a low flame tastes better - my mom tells me. In this age of instant-everything we probably lose patience soon n then life is fast n ppl are short of time but rather than reaching a point - when humankind gonna exhaust all the fuel n wud be forced to take up alternative means .. its better we give it a shot now.

7:07 AM  
Blogger vi said...

We had power failure for 1 and half day here about two years ago and that meant life on a standstill - esp. food we couldn't cook anything because we just have electric stoves! That solar cooker could have come in handy then...but then again does it have to be just sunny or sunny and hot for it to work?


6:53 PM  
Blogger Dev said...

Hi aria, hi vi. Talking of cooking and sunrays, I have seen that the intensity of the sunlight varies from season to season. And that affects the cooking time. The worst time are the monsoons. But the thumb rule is that if the sun is out the solar-cooker works. It has its limitations if you want something in a limited time span. So if you are depending on the box-type solar cooker alone then it can be difficult if somebody wants a quick cup of tea. I have heard that there are more sophisticated models including one which can also be plugged in to an electric socket in case of cloudy weather and/or rains - it wouldn't have been of much use to you vi. The piece my mother uses is in a horrible condition after nineteen years - but it still works! And that is what is important. It is a good thing to have as it gives you back the money you spent in the form of money saved on cooking gas and electricity. Plus the added satisfaction of having done some 'green' cooking. I am thinking of identifying a family which isn't so well off and presenting such a cooker to them. The long-term benefits to the environment and the purse of the family chosen makes me think it would be a good idea. Whaddyasay?

8:26 PM  
Blogger vi said...

whaddyasay...thats a great idea!


4:58 PM  
Blogger Priya Sivan said...

Thks for the quotation page. Nice one :)

4:53 AM  
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3:17 AM  

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