I simply want everything I do to be an act of worship to God. ********************EVERYTHING******************** like a spider's web, intricately woven, the threads of our lives are entwined, making us who we are, where we are, at this time in history.... here's a small record of one family's journey to love God

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A Satsifying Discovery

Many ideas and questions mulling around my mind come together in this post.

If we were ever without electricity for a prolonged period of time, how would we cope?

Is there a way to have rice when camping? (I’m a bit dependent on my rice cooker at home!)

If we go travelling is there a way we could cook without lugging a full kitchen with us? (or at least a crock pot which I use almost every day)

Could we reduce our energy consumption? (if I wannabe self-sufficient one day, relying on wind or solar power, I’d really need to address this one)

How could we travel if we couldn’t cook beans? We a) need to eat beans now to save money for travelling and b) would need to eat beans whilst travelling so that we could afford to go into Buckingham Palace BUT I don’t want to miss out on visiting the Statue of Liberty, because I’m watching our pot of beans simmering for seven hours.

So I’ve been pondering “low-cook” meals. A friend suggested hamburgers, but, to be honest, they don’t rate as an easy meal the way we do them….you see, just like the little red hen, we grind the wheat to make the flour to make the buns…..we grow the lettuce and carrots and radishes and tomatoes….we sprout our own seeds…..we pickle the cabbage and beetroot we’ve already grown…we make the relish and the mayonnaise and sometimes the cheese…..it is time-consuming to do these things, and how would we travel with our garden? ;-)

I was thinking more along the lines of salads and raw vege platters and stirfries….until Nikki (hi Nikki!!) suggested cooking baskets.

I’m not usually one to sit around for too long simply wondering (one of my weaknesses is definitely jumping in to things with both feet before engaging brain)….so I *made* one. Not as fancy as the ones in Kenya. Not even out of a basket. I used what I had (a large bag I knit and felted a couple of months ago)...

….and it worked! (BTW, do you like my authentic Nepali cooking pot above? Now, just look at that fluffy brown rice below...mmmmmm)

Once I’ve *started* acting, I tend to do a bit of thinking, refining, improving…and so here’s what HaveCookingPotWill Travel2 is going to be like (thanks K9 for even suggesting that I could knit one – you’re a legend!)
There will be one big huge gigantic enormous outer bag.
There will be an inner bag, which fits the pot snugly, and comes up higher than the pot so that the lid is less likely to be accidentally knocked off. This might even have a drawstring cord at the top!
Once you’ve put the pot into the smaller bag, you’d place it in the big one and then stuff all the clothes you’re not wearing at the time (if you’re travelling) in between the two layers. If you were at home you would be more likely to have a dedicated stuffing! This time I used three baby blankets, a beach towel and some leftover woollen quilt batting.

The cool thing about these bags (I think) is that you can use them to carry your beans and rice and veges home from market before you cook. They would be relatively small (well, smaller than taking a pressure cooker to Peru or Korea) and making them would be a much more creative process than going in to any superstore and buying one of seven hundred and sixty four identical items off the shelf!

I can hardly wait to finish my current projects and start on this one…I’ve got a great stash of cream wool just waiting to be dyed and turned into something funky!
I’ll have to start collecting recipes too. Here’s the first one:

1 ½ C brown rice
1 ½ C water
Put in pot and bring to the boil. Boil for five minutes. Put the lid on and tuck up tightly in cooking bag for half an hour.

That’s it!
Definitely more *simplicity* than intricate!
(I guess the intricate bit comes in even wanting to try something different and not just sticking with crockpots and rice cookers)

One final thought - the blog address given above is big on global warming.....as yet I remain unconvinced that this is anything other than a political agenda. Maybe I'll discuss that another time! For now, I'm loving the cooking basket concept.


kate5kiwis said...

way too quickly, it's getting late and hubby promised me a dance practice (seriously):
last time we went camping we took our pressure cooker. bingo. everything cooks in half the time. even water lol.
my auntie found mine in a second hand shop. dunno how you feel about aluminium cookware, but none of us has alzheimer's yet... i don't think... (anyway, J11 says that's a myth-conception)
rice cooking:
wash rice seven times until water runs clear. now add water until level is two fingers above the level of the rice. boil until water nearly disappears and all you can see is little burrow-holes. now turn off heat and whack on the lid. 15 mins later. nice. white. rice.
i'm sure it would work for brown too... one of your entrepreneurs will be able to find the perfect timing, i'm sure.
and that's all from me now i promise... good night :o)

Maurice said...

Travelling thru Malaysia and just heard on the radio that putting a tea(or was that table)spoon of vinegar in the rice as it bolis guarantees fluffiness. Let me know how it goes..........
Beautiful Nepali pot, but it sure looks like an upside down wooly hat/tea-cosy.
Maurice L

Rach said...

Katie-potatie....aluminium....aaarrrggggghhhh. Just can't do it sorry!

But Maurice I'll try the vinegar. When I tried just boiling rice on the stove it turned out way less fluffy than the pot done in the basket cooker - maybe vinegar will be the secret and I can save my knitted basket for beans and lentils. BTW, you're a sad man reading blogs on holiday!!!!! Glad you saw THE pot though.

LeighLeigh said...

Another option, is when travelling through Europe buy from the market a bag of tomatoes, a bag of fresh mozzarella, a bunch of basil, some fresh bread and drizzle with a good lot of Olive Oil (all cheap as chips - or beans as the case may be) and volia - Dinner!! No cooking required!

CC said...

i so need to come look and be inspired by your knitted/felted bags - I am convinced i want to make at least one, but I need to see and feel one IRL to make that final leap!

Tara said...

you are so quick off the mark there Rachael! Hope that cooked rice on the gas is going to be 'edible'. Will have to try vinegar too - and as for aluminum arrrgghhh here as well. Good for bike frames though (or is it now titamnium???)

Anonymous said...

Hi, great to find your site and to see that you're also having a great time with cooking baskets, too. Global warming and politics aside, these cooking baskets really are a big help to local women living in difficult natural environments where local fuel and water is a major problem. Even the few coins saved from buying less kerosene makes a huge difference in a household that is living under the poverty line. In Africa, for exapmple, 1 log of wood only lasts about an hour's cooking & 1 back-load of wood lasts around 4 days. Staple meals like githere (beans aand maize) take 4 hours or so to cook on the usual fire, but only needs 30 mins boiling time when used with a cooking basket. Cooking in a basket also uses less water - something which is also important when you have to walk anything from 3 to 18 km to collect water each day...
Keep the recipes coming by the way, they're great too. Good luck and keep on enjoying.

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