In the dog days of summer, many people try to avoid turning on their kitchen stove. And if you’re like commentator Pat Priest of steamy Athens, Georgia, you prefer cooking with the energy of the sun.
GELLERMAN: As former president Harry Truman once said, “If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” Well, with the dog days of summer upon us, that’s just what commentator Pat Priest of Athens, Georgia does.
PRIEST: When you say, "It's like an oven out there!"…when one baking hot day follows another, try baking outside using the free radiant heat of the sun. I’m cooking some beets this afternoon in my side yard in my solar cooker as I write this. I occasionally have to adjust the cooker slightly to orient it more squarely towards the sun. But other than that, it’s simple, working like a crock pot you can leave all day while you’re at work. No plug needed, no danger of fire. The only problem I’ve ever had is that someone ran over mine in the driveway once, causing an explosion of glass and garbanzos.
Most sun ovens are shaped like the Elizabethan collar that you put on your dog so it won’t lick and scratch its wound - the shiny collar funnels the sun inward. The oven I use costs a little over a hundred bucks. It’s a black, enamel bowl that sits inside a rounded glass bottom and top, creating a greenhouse effect. I set the pot inside that reflective collar that cantilevers outward to surround the meal I’m cooking - it’s dazzling, really, gotta wear shades.
With my solar stove, I can cook without using electricity, which I avoid because of the CO2 emissions and the mountain top removal associated with coal-fired power plants. And when I’m cooking outdoors, I don’t have to use more energy still to cool my kitchen on these stiflingly hot days. I love to be outdoors working in my garden and catch a whiff of my dinner cooking. And the neat part about the company that makes my solar cooker is that a portion of its sales helps send these simple devices to developing countries. Fuel is expensive. And cooking with wood or dung is harmful to people’s health. Solar cooking limits the deforestation that happens when poor people cut trees for wood stoves. So there, and here, solar ovens make sense. Sun powered, and very cool.
GELLERMAN: Pat Priest produces a radio program called “True South” in Athens, Georgia. For more information on solar stoves, go to our website – loe.org.
Living on Earth wants to hear from you!
P.O. Box 990007
Boston, MA, USA 02199
Newsletter [Click here]
Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.
Sailors For The Sea: Be the change you want to sea.
Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live. Listen to the race to 9 billion
The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.
Energy Foundation: Serving the public interest by helping to build a strong, clean energy economy.
Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary wildlife photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.
Buy a signed copy of Mark Seth Lender's book Smeagull the Seagull & support Living on Earth