cooking with solar

Today’s prompt was supposed to be a photograph of someone I miss- however, since the internet is so damn slow here and as there are, hm, I don’t know, at least fifteen people who immediately come to mind, I’m going to have to pass on the challenge. Most especially, though, I really miss my Mount Holyoke friends. The combination of being our first summer apart and being halfway across the planet makes for one big cocktail of missing you. And, since I know it’s mainly my MoHos and family who read this, I suppose it’s safe to say I just miss all of you!


But, never fear dear readers, I will not forsake a photographic post in entirety! For today I happen to have a special picture-filled update on one of our major project undertakings: the solar cooker!

It’s still most certainly a work in progress, but we’re one step away from completing one cooker, and about two-thirds of the way finished with the other, more complicated, cooker. Essentially, the most difficult material to find/recycle for this project is a sheet of glass. While you can find window panes and table-tops in abundance in the US, it appears, through much scavenger hunting around town, that Kotido is not overflowing in sheets of glass. The hardware stores have none and, while there’s an abundance of broken bottles, our initial idea to mosaic them together has proven impossible because (a) we have no welding equipment and (b) no glass blowing experience. So, we’re working on it. Trial and error, folks. Learning every day.

But, with the help of Magellan the Wizard Cat, we spent the better part of two days foiling, papier-mâché-ing, gluing, cutting, and otherwise assembling our ovens out of the following materials:

  • 4  whole cardboard boxes (2 per cooker)
  • 1 cardboard box to demolish into stacks
  • an unbelievable number of collected wrappers, crisp bags, milk cartons, juice boxes, and foil for the metallic interior
  • old vogue magazine ads (for paper stuffing and in place of black paint)
  • some fabric cut into four strings
  • a large quantity of glue and duct tape
We began by cutting open all of our wrappers and cartons to reveal their metallic/aluminum interior. In non-found-item solar appliances, this need can be filled with foil. Once we realized how difficult it was to make the milk and juice boxes stick to the other  wrappers most especially, we decided to separate the shiny stuff by texture. I took on the carton-like materials, while Thera pieced together the foils and cut open bags.
After slicing up the the foil-y stuff, we turned our attention to the Cardboard Box Meant for Destruction. Magellan the Wizard Cat was very helpful in the divvying up of tasks and deciding what projects to tackle when.
Thera set to work cutting the Box Meant for Destruction into small squares, which we then glued into five stacks 37 squares high for the pillars in Cooker #1 (the two-thirds finished cooker). For this style, the smaller, inner cardboard box has to be raised from the bottom of the larger exterior box for insulation. Thus, the box (which we found on the street) Meant for Destruction.
Magellan the Wizard Cat  was most helpful in this process:
We then both turned to the inner and outer boxes for Cooker #1: Thera with the inner, using foils and wrappers, and I with the outer, duct taping the cartons to each other so that they would form their own box, sans-glue, to be fitted into the larger box.
                       Before and After foiling!
And the partially-complete larger box:
Since we knew we didn’t have enough cartons to finish the larger oven, we turned to Cooker #2. Thera covered the exterior box entirely in foil and I papier-mâché’d the interior box with black paper from Vogue ads. Since there was such opportunity for some fun art inserts, all around the box are cut-outs of black sunglasses, dresses, purses, etc. My personal favorite touch are the pants on the bottom!
We used the scraps of the cut outs and other ads as insulation between the larger and smaller box. The last step was to tie the four sides together so they made a kind of funnel for sunlight. Annnnd, voilà! A solar oven!
And, despite the lack of a sheet of glass, we were determined to make something, so we used the little cooker to expedite the process of making sun tea. Yum!
current jam: “make her say” kid cudi
bet thing in my life right now: the red book and bon iver and sun tea.
last film: stardust (a favorite!!)
fantas consumed: 8

4 thoughts on “cooking with solar

  1. Elizabeth M. says:

    Sweet! Excellent work, ladies. I encountered the same lack-o-glass problem when building my own and I just resort to removing two panels from my window every time I use my oven. Happy cooking! Knowing that Kotido kitchen, I’m sure an abundance of glorious baked goods will emerge in no time : )

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