Solar cooking is the simplest, safest, most convenient way to cook food without consuming fuels or heating up the kitchen. Many people have become solar cooks for these reasons.
But for millions of people all over the world who struggle to find enough fuel to cook their food or to pasteurize drinking water, solar cookers can be a life-saver. This easy-to-use and inexpensive device can purify water or cook an entire meal. In war-torn African nations, where women and children are vulnerable to attacks when out foraging for fuel, solar cookers are making a huge difference.
Solar cooking activist Annie Landsfield makes a compelling case: “I am most concerned about helping in countries for whom danger, shortages of fire wood, and huge availability of solar energy work together to make the solar cooker a wonderful option. They remove the risk of rape that comes with fuel gathering and children can attend school instead of spending their days looking for sticks!”
Moreover, with solar cooking, women don’t have to stand at a cook stove stirring and have become less subservient as a result. There is also the issue of preserving scant resources. So many places have been denuded and suffer from soil erosion and crop failures because of extensive foraging for cooking fuel.
While cooking with the sun in the northeast might seem unnecessary, or even impossible, all you really need is a few hours of light to create many dishes.
Another local solar activist is artist Mary Frank. “Since the discovery of fire,” she says, “people have cooked with wood or other combustible stuff. People don't think this will work.” But not only has Mary proven it does work – in her own back yard and on a Manhattan window ledge – she sees other advantages. For example, “you can wander away from the cooker as much as you like because the food doesn't burn, and it remains very, very juicy!”
If you want to get out of the kitchen and still enjoy a home cooked meal, solar cooking may be the answer.