Solar cooker: yes or no?

One of our big challenges during this preparation phase has been deciding what we can take along when we move to Mamelodi.

The shack we are staying in has no electricity so we need to decide how we will cook during the month. Most people use gas as it is easily accessible and convenient but it a) poses a high fire risk in a very not so fireproof area and b) works out reasonably expensive. We will most likely also use gas but Julian has a solar cooker in the garage that he is keen to take along. The advantages are that once the cooker has been bought there are no further costs: no electricity is needed and the only requirements are a nice sunny day (something we have lots of during Gauteng winters) and a lot of time to prepare the food. As I’ll be home with the kids, we should have time. Solar cookers have been designed with the township or rural market as a target demographic but at a cost of about R2,500 they are way above the budget of an average family (even if the savings in gas consumption mean that it could be paid off over a couple of years). As such taking it along feels like a bit of a cheat. Yet at the same time we want to show people what is possible. If it works well and does result in large savings, it may well be something worth pushing more aggressively in this market, even if that requires government subsidization etc.

What do you think. Is it cheating to take it along or are we showing people what is out there are could be used by themselves?

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3 comments

  1. Carol Spicer says:

    Hi,
    I think the idea of the solar cooker is wonderful…in fact I will be very interested and would like to see the results with the idea of using one in my life…electricity is so expensive it would be lovely to bring down the budget.

    God’s blessings to your family for having the courage of your convictions and actually do something to learn more about our diverse community.

  2. Gaynor says:

    You could try making your own solar cooker – all it requires is two cardboard boxes, glue, tinfoil, black paint and a large oven bag. See the following link for an example of instructions to make one – http://wakeup-world.com/2011/07/06/how-to-build-your-own-cheap-simple-solar-oven/. It works best with a dark coloured cast iron pot. The other aid for cooking without electricity is a wonderbox – you bring the food to the boil and cook for a few minutes then put it in the wonderbox, which retains heat and the food will cook to completion over a few hours. An example – http://www.iwillprepare.com/index_files/Wonder_Box.htm. Suggest you experiment at home before August to get used to using them. These are both cheap and effective technologies and would certainly not count as cheating :-)

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