Cooking will always be a way of life as long as there is food to cook and people to cook it. With the construction of the outdoor kitchen underway, I have been thinking about different ways to cook. There are many, many ways to choose from, so I thought I would see if we could get a good conversation going. Like Frank says, we're all in this together, and we always learn so much from interaction with the folks that stop by and visit here.
As I pondered this question, I came up with several possibilities. Here they are in no particular order.
We cook with propane in the house, and will be able to continue to do so until the tanks run dry. For now, it's easy to call up a company and have them come and fill the tank. When that is no longer an option, we'll have to come up with other alternatives.
We have our wood stove in the livingroom that has a flat top. It's not ideal and isn't meant to be a cookstove, but we can put a cast iron dutch oven on it and cook beans or soup. I'm not sure how well it would work for making a pot of coffee with a camping percolator, though. Yes, we really like our coffee, and until our supply runs out, we'll be having some everyday, even after the SHTF.
Now we come to the outdoor kitchen. We will have a wood cookstove there along with a grill/smoker.
Another addition for quick cooking and heating will be a Rocket stove. Once we have everything set up out here, I will practice with all three.
An option for baking we have acquired is a Coleman camp stove oven. It folds down flat, so it isn't air tight, and makes me wonder how effective it will be. It is about an internal 10 inch cube, so no 25 lb. turkeys. In one of the reviews Frank read, someone suggested putting bricks in the bottom to help hold the heat. We have firebricks to put in the wood cookstove, and will try some in the oven as well.
Another oven option is a Sun Oven, which we also have, but it hasn't made it's way out of the box yet. I've read about several people using them very successfully, including our friend Grace down the road, so it's time I learn how to use this one.
Of course there is always a campfire with a metal grate across it, or an open pit fire that you can hang pot over or put a rotisserie on. If you have the right cookware, you can cook all sorts of meals this way.
Another possibility is a small cast iron hibachi type of system. It's small, doesn't take a lot of fuel, and will provide a small, hot fire. Again, with some cast iron cookware, this would be an easy way to cook a quick meal.
Now that we have different ways to cook, we need to think about fuel for all of those fires. Right now we have an abundance of firewood stored, but that won't last forever, just like the propane. There will come a time when we need more wood, along with a way to cut and haul it.
There will also come a time when it may not be safe to cook because of the smell. If you are trying to keep a low profile for security reasons, the odor of cooking food would be a dead give away, especially to someone, or a bunch of someones, that are hungry. Then what do you do? Even the smell of a fire would draw attention.
On the other hand, if your retreat is your homestead then there are all sorts of noises that come with the territory. Your chickens make all kinds of noises, from crowing to singing the egg song. Your goats will holler good morning when they see you. The pigs will excitedly greet you asking for breakfast. Your dog will bark. Your radio will come to life with a greeting or message from down the road. Not to mention everyday conversation that comes with the activity of the day.
These are some of the things I think about as I go through my days. The sounds and smells of life are a rich addition to all we do. There may come a day when some of these things have to be curtailed for a while for our safety. If that happens, and you can't cook, how will you provide adequate nourishment? Let's face it, if a collapse happens in winter, it will be easy to see where the people are. There will be fires for warmth, and where there is fire, there is smoke.
So, what do you think? How many different ways can you cook, and will you be able to cook when the SHTF? Will it make a difference if it is winter or summer? Will it make a difference if safety is a concern? I have thought many times recently that two is one, and one is none. I've applied that to many things, including cooking, canning, gardening, clothing, animals, tools, radios, just about everything. That's what brought me to this article about cooking. I want to make sure I have enough options to be able to put good, nourishing food on the table when we need it the most. I'd love to hear your ideas and thoughts.
Until next time - Fern