Solar Cooking

Solar Oven in Action
Solar Oven in Action

A few years ago, I became involved in the green movement. Not in protesting, but living. I ate vegan foods, bought organic, and switched to cloth bags. Cooking was from scratch and always whole foods.

While I did the homey stuff, my husband converted our house to LED lighting and started learning about solar power. Doing my own reading on solar power, I saw the next step in our progression toward a greener and more environmental life. I purchased a solar oven.

Our solar cooker was delivered while I was at work. When I arrived home, it was sitting in our living room. My husband’s reaction was not what I expected. He looked disapproving and asked, “What did you do?” Obviously, our solar oven sat in the closet, neglected for at least a year.

Then one day, things changed for some reason. We took it out of the closet and began experimenting. Reading the directions and looking through the included cookbook, we were a little befuddled. How did we align the cooker without blinding ourselves? How did we tell when the food was done? Did we have to watch it constantly, or could we forget it? Cooking with the sun had a bit of a learning curve, but we persevered.

We started with cooking the simplest foods—boiling potatoes or rice—and then progressed to more involved recipes. We began to see the potential of a solar oven, both for easy cooking and energy efficiency. It became our version of a summer kitchen, something that allowed us to have hot meals without heating our own home. Our traditional oven languished during the hot months, but we loved it.

Even for those who seek positive change, it can be difficult—especially for us older folks. We eagerly sought a more environmentally lifestyle, but we resisted solar cooking at first. It took a few years, along with a solar cooker sitting in a closet for a while, for us to take it on with a gusto.

And what of change that isn’t desired? Perhaps making those life changes that are wanted, such as our move toward a more environmental lifestyle, makes the others a little easier.

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