Being able to sit down and enjoy a warm meal is a great source of comfort. As you feast on a hot dinner, a sense of peace and tranquility overcomes you. Even if the world is in turmoil, for that small moment in time as nourishment enters your body, everything feels much better. You are refueled and rejuvenated and ready to take on TEOTWAWKI.
The good, wholesome feelings of a warm meal aside, being able to cook food prior to eating is necessary for continued good health in many scenarios. Sure, you can eat raw vegetables and consume canned goods at any temperature, but that doesn't mean they will taste good. Even forgoing taste, some food items have to be cooked prior to eating. A clear example of this is meat, which can make you quite ill if you consume it prior to applying enough heat to kill any and all bacteria that may be present.
The thing about cooking meals is that when the power goes, so do the modern luxuries such as the electric stove and microwave. When that happens and you have a fresh game animal to consume, having an alternate cooking option is mandatory. We've all made plans to cook over a fire, but that is not the only option we have, nor is it the only option on which we should rely. Here are five other means of cooking in a survival situation:
1. One option to consider is an outdoor camping stove. These are lightweight and collapsible so they can be easily carried in your BOB. They also allow you to adjust the flame so you don't char the outside of your dinner while leaving the inside raw. This stove burns with butane/butane-propane mixed fuel canisters and leaves no mess behind for you to clean up. You will have to stock up on canisters, but the convenience and portability is noteworthy.
2. The Solo Stove is another portable option that is lightweight enough to carry with you as you go. Thanks to a secondary combustion feature, it creates little smoke and makes the fuel you use more efficient. Fuel itself is that which nature provides, such as leaves, twigs, and other forms of kindling. For about $60, you can boil water in less than 10 minutes with this device by setting a pot directly on top.
Photo: Cooked Brains
3. Next up is the All American Sun Oven. Though pricey at around $300, this item can accommodate many standard baking pans and will reach temperatures from 360 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit with solar power alone. It is lightweight but not practical to carry in a BOB though it does cook without fuel and doesn't create smoke.
4. Next up is the Volcano Stove. These are handy because you can use several different fuel options, including charcoal, wood, or propane. They are also able to serve several different cooking purposes whether it is a dutch oven you wish to utilize or prefer to grill, roast, or more. Though they come in at $150 or so, they are collapsible down to 5" which makes them a realistic item to transport with you as you move about.
5. If you don't have time to sit around cooking, you can instead opt for a slow cooking device that will do most of the work for you. That device is the Wonderbag. It works by retaining heat that is able to cook food and keep it warm for up to 12 hours. There is a catch, however, in that this $60 investment requires you to first heat up your food before placing it inside as it is that heat which is retained and does the remainder of the cooking. If you don't wish to spend $60 on this item, no worries as you can make your own following this tutorial to create a device that works to keep items cool as well.
Regardless of how you prefer to get your cooking done after the SHTF, just be sure that you are able to do it somehow. Aside from being able to enjoy a tasty, warm meal, cooking food thoroughly will kill potentially harmful bacteria that could make you sick. If it takes an additional investment to accomplish that, it will be money well spent when you're able to function at full capacity unimpaired by illness.
What are your survival cooking plans? Have you bought anything to help you along or is traditional fire the way to go? Let us know in the comments!