A Gift to Myself
Let me take you back to last year. I was just north of Las Cruces, New Mexico at Leasburg State Park. The folks next to me happened to be in a Nash trailer as well, though the larger 25C. They were a family with two young boys. I heard their diesel truck leave one morning and I looked out and saw a solar oven out for the day with all it’s reflectors shinning. I thought it looked interesting and looked up the company. It was sticker shock that put the kibosh on the plan.
Jump ahead a year and here I am in Arizona, and the temps have been about 10-15 degrees warmer than average. California’s wine country has had the worst fire in their history. I thought about my two dutch ovens and that I hadn’t used since Wisconsin in August.
Out in the West, it seems the droughts continue to grow in size. Fires start earlier and last far into fall, and with it, fire restrictions. You see where I’m going.
I began researching solar ovens again. My choice came down to the Solavore Sport Oven. Why? First, it holds two pots at once (dinner and dessert or a side), second, it only weighs nine pounds, and third, there were scores of You Tube videos of folks using the Sport Oven, even in an Idaho winter. So, I bought one.
I’ve used the oven a few times now, and there is a bit of a learning curve. I baked some scones as my first test. They didn’t rise much, but that could be due to the baking powder that expired back in 2015! Second test was a Thai Peanut sauced chicken and rice. Bingo! The rice was fluffy, the chicken fell apart into delicious morsels. Another meal was a Shepherd’s pie. It came out a bit on the soupy side. I added too much stock. One of the rules to solar cooking is to cut the amount of liquid.
Comparing the Solavore to dutch ovens, I just put out the Solavore and let it preheat then put the pots in. With the Dutch ovens I need to fill the charcoal starter, light it and wait for the coals to get started, then the filled Dutch is put on the coals and more are placed on top. You have to watch the coals and tend to the Dutch. All the while watching for sparks, so they don’t start a fire!
I can burn up dinner in the Dutch, but the Solavore doesn’t get hot enough to burn a thing.
The Nash does have and oven, and you may remember that I’ve burned a few pizzas. I’ve found, its not really a good workable oven, but pots and pans fit well as storage.
I think this solar oven is going to improve my cooking repertoire. Plus, I can put the Solavore out in the morning and take Geordie for a hike and have dinner waiting when I get back. Also, in summer I won’t be heating up the trailer with dinner cooking.
All in all, its a winner, plus I save propane.
I’ll take the next couple of weeks off.
Have a merry Christmas and happy Chanukah.