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Thermos Cookery - Open Knowledge — LiveJournal

Jul. 16th, 2003

05:12 am - Thermos Cookery

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http://www.kurtsaxon.com/foods005.htm

The Survival Foods And Gardening Section

SAVING MONEY WITH
A THERMOS BOTTLE

By Kurt Saxon

Many subscribers write that they will eventually buy all my books but they can't afford them at this time. Many are students on limited allowances. Some are on Social Security or pensions. Others are on Welfare, as I was after an injury, when I got $86.00 per month in l969. I paid $50.00 for rent and had only $36.00 left for food and incidentals. Even so, I ate better than before. Prices were indeed lower then but, surprisingly, the costs of the more basic foods have hardly changed.

For instance, 60 pounds of hard red winter wheat, the highest in protein, minerals and vitamins, averages $8.00 (240 breakfasts at 4 cents each). Brown rice, also higher in nutrition than white, costs $14.00 for 25 pounds. Also 200 servings since rice swells twice as large as wheat. These are bought in bulk at any feed and seed store.

Wheat and rice are the staple foods of billions and, if prepared my way, will fill you up, give you boundless energy; and cost nothing, if you consider that the saving in gas or electricity will offset their purchase prices.

I do not mean that wheat and rice, plain, is what I am asking you to live on. When is the last time you have eaten a potato plain? I am simply suggesting you process all your food in inexpensive, energy-saving ways and eat better than you ever have for less than $10.00 per week. Then you can not only afford all my books but many other things you have wanted but had to do without because most of your food budget goes to pay others to do what you should learn to do for yourself.



The thermos and the dehydrator are first steps in eating better for so much less. As a Survivalist, you will have to understand food preparation or you might as well eat, drink and be merry in the short time you have left.

A great factor which makes this practical and easy to understand is that since it is by a man, it is basic, gut-level and moron-simple. You won't even need to open a cookbook.

First the thermos. There are three kinds but only one is practical. Forget the cheap, plastic ones lined with Styrofoam. These might cook oatmeal and white rice but do not have the heat holding power you need. Silvered glass thermoses are fine, but a bump will break them. Also, since you are going to do actual cooking and will use a fork to remove the contents, they will not hold up.

The only practical cooking thermos is the Aladdin Stanley. It is lined with stainless steel, is well insulated and will keep steaming hot for up to 24 hours and holds a quart. It is also unbreakable, with a lifetime warranty. It costs $22.00 at Wal-Mart or can be ordered through any sporting goods store. It would save you its price in a few days. If you have a family, get two or three.

Most foods cook at 180 degrees or more. We are used to boiling, which is 212 degrees, and foods do cook faster, the higher the temperature. But if time is not important, cooking at a lower temperature is even better as most vitamins are not broken down. Thus, if you cook at a minimum heat, you save nutrition.

A great factor in thermos cooking is the saving in the cost of energy. Whereas it would take about two hours to cook whole-grain wheat or nearly an hour to cook brown rice. Thermos cookery takes only five minutes to cook anything. So it is indeed possible to save as much in energy as you spend on the food. You can imagine the convenience of thermos cookery in camping, which would save on wood, weight of food carried, and no food odors to alert bears or enemies.

Thermos cookery is also an advantage to anyone living where he is not allowed to cook. There are no cooking odors to tip off the landlord.

First, you need the thermos. Then you need a heat source. If you are in a non-cooking room, buy a cheap, one burner hot plate from your local Wal-Mart, Target, Sears etc. You will need a one quart saucepan. You will also need a special funnel to quickly pour the pan's contents into the thermos, plus a spoon or fork to help the last of the food into the funnel.

To make the funnel, cut off the bottom four inches from a gallon plastic milk container. If you do not buy milk or cannot find an empty container, go to your nearest laundromat. You will find in the trash receptacle, an empty gallon bleach bottle. Use that the same as the milk container but wash it until there is no more bleach odor.

The first step in thermos cookery is to fill the thermos with water up to the point reached by the stopper. Empty the water into the saucepan and make a scratch or other indelible mark at the water's surface inside the saucepan. This will allow you to put just enough water in the saucepan, as too much will leave food out and too little will give you less cooking water.

Just to test how the cooker works, start with four ounces of wheat. You do not need to buy 60 pounds. You can buy two pounds from your health food store for about $.80 This would give you eight meals at 10 cents each.

In the evening, put four ounces in your saucepan, plus a half-teaspoon of salt to prevent flatness, even if you intend to sweeten it. Fill to the mark with water. (If you have hot water, let the tap run until it is hottest. Tests have shown that less energy is used in using hot tap water than in boiling from cold.) Bring the contents to a rolling boil, stirring all the while. This will take from three to five minutes.

Then quickly, but carefully, swirl and pour the contents into the funnel and help any lagging matter from the pan to the funnel and into the thermos. Cap firmly but not tightly, shake and lay the thermos on its side, to keep the contents even.

Next morning open the thermos and pour its contents into the saucepan. With four ounces of dry wheat, you will now have at least 3/4 pound of cooked wheat and about a pint of vitamin and mineral enriched water. It has a pleasant taste. Drink it.

You can now put milk and sweetener on it or margarine, salt and pepper, etc. If you can eat the whole 3/4 of a pound, you will be surprised at how energetic you feel for the next several hours. An added bonus is its high fiber content.

Having tried the four ounce portion, you might next use eight ounces. This will absorb most of the water. It is unlikely that you could eat a pound and a half of cooked whole grain wheat. You can either divide it and eat the other half for supper or if you are a family man, make it the family breakfast food to replace the expensive brand.

If you have children, get them into the act by fantasizing they are Rangers on a jungle patrol.

For lunch, prepare a few ounces of hamburger or other meat chopped finely, plus chopped potatoes and other vegetables the night before. After breakfast, put these and the right amount of water in the saucepan and prepare as usual. At lunchtime you will have a quart of really delicious stew. Since nothing leaves the thermos in cooking, as contrasted to the flavor leaving stew cooking on the stove, you can understand the better tasting, higher vitamin content of thermos stew.

Lunch and possibly supper should not cost you more than 25 cents if you study the article on the dehydrator. Jerky and dried vegetable stew is good and costs little.

The brown rice dishes could also be either a main course or desert. Brown rice has a much greater swelling factor than wheat so four ounces of rice will pretty much fill the thermos. You can put vegetables and meat in it to cook or try a favorite of mine. It is four ounces of brown rice, 9 cents; one ounce of powdered milk, 10 cents in a large box; two ounces of raisins, 22 cents; one teaspoon of salt; some cinnamon and four saccharine tablets. Cook overnight. This is 46 cents for 1 1/2 pounds of desert.

With some experimenting, you can become an expert in thermos cookery. If you are single and live alone, you could, conceivably, eat nothing except what you cooked in a thermos. But if you are married, and especially if you have children, don't push it. Even with the economy of this system, it's not worth alienating your family. If your wife doesn't like it, challenge her to make the food tastier and think up some thermos recipes. You might also tell her the advantages of thermos cookery.

For one thing, she would spend much less time in the kitchen. What with the expected brownouts, she could do all the cooking in five, ten, fifteen minutes, depending on how many thermos bottles she used. Another important factor is that, especially during the heat waves, the home would not suffer the added heat from the kitchen. This would also cut down on the air conditioning costs.

A tip you may not have known is that the pilot light in a gas stove not only raises the temperature in the kitchen but also accounts for a fourth of all the gas burned in the stove. Matches are much cheaper. Turn the pilot light off.

Be sure to get SURVIVOR Vol. 1 for a full course on inexpensive but tasty and nourishing food, plus sprouting for green vegetables, soy milk, tofu, etc.



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Comments:

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From:gentlemaitresse
Date:July 16th, 2003 06:06 am (UTC)
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Interesting article. I already knew about Thermos cooking, but I'd never heard of cooking anything other than grains in it. He says to make stew "in saucepan", but I'm thinking he must have meant in the Thermos?

Personally, I don't eat grains for breakfast because I believe I need a high protein breakfast. Adelle Davis recommended eating 1/4 to 1/3 of your daily protein first thing in the morning, and I find that I feel better over the long run if I follow that advice. Grains will give you quick energy because they turn to sugar in your body. Protein will stay with you longer.

Of course, if we're talking about *survival*, one eats whatever one can find, or whatever is easiest to carry or stash somewhere. Then lightweight grains would be a tremendous benefit! Add milk powder or nuts or seeds for a more complete protein. :-)

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From:crasch
Date:July 16th, 2003 08:12 am (UTC)
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Where did you hear about thermos cookery? This is the first time I've encountered it.
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From:gentlemaitresse
Date:July 16th, 2003 08:28 am (UTC)
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It was very popular back in '99. Before "Y2K", y'know. <wink>

I have some great info on survivalism that I gleaned during that period. If there is something you are particularly interested in, I'd be happy to post about it in my journal. Your entry here has brought up some fond memories. Do you know about solar cooking?


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From:crasch
Date:July 16th, 2003 06:42 pm (UTC)
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I've heard of solar cooking, though I haven't tried it yet--the solar ovens seem a bit cumbersome. Have you tried it?

I'm also particularly interested in ways of keeping clean with limited amount of water, space, and/or elictricity--showering, washing hands, drinking, washing clothes, etc.

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From:gentlemaitresse
Date:July 16th, 2003 06:47 pm (UTC)
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I've done laundry without an automatic washer before. I did that for a whole year. I've stayed with Amish friends for weeks at a time, too, so I can tell you about washing and doing dishes, etc. These Amish that I know are the ones that don't allow gas engines or gas refrigerators or anything modern like that. You can learn a lot from them, but they are usually too busy to bother with us "English". ;-)

I'll think about what kinds of things I can post. Might start with how to do laundry by hand, as well as the advantages and disadvantages.

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From:hjcanning
Date:July 16th, 2003 06:34 am (UTC)
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in summation: "look what you can do if you pretend you eat only for survival." food is a pleasure. as soon as i am destitute, maybe i'll look this guy up.
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From:crasch
Date:July 16th, 2003 08:09 am (UTC)
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When ravenous zombies are roaming the streets of post-apocalyptic Boston, you'll regret that you didn't learn the fine art of Thermos Cookery.
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From:hjcanning
Date:July 16th, 2003 08:12 am (UTC)
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i'll be eating brains at that point i imagine.
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From:crasch
Date:July 16th, 2003 08:20 am (UTC)
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hmmmm....brains....now I'm all hungry.
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From:misfitz
Date:July 16th, 2003 12:38 pm (UTC)
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I bet post-apocalyptic Boston will look a great deal like some of the areas of New Orleans I grew up in =)

Quite interesting, this thermos cooking concept. First I'd heard of it (despite my conspiracy theorist nature/interest in Loompanics) - I suppose that my luck is pretty horrible; so even if I survive the nuclear (or worse?) holocaust, I'll only stumble, break my leg, and die of an infection.

Really, though, I'm not (usually) THAT grim - it's all said with a light-hearted veneer =) I should probably get a good Thermos anyhow, as I'm a big fan of hot cocoa.

*cheese smile*
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From:crasch
Date:July 16th, 2003 06:24 pm (UTC)
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Cocoa is good. I heartily endorse cocoa-products.
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From:serratia
Date:July 16th, 2003 07:49 am (UTC)
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Anyone glance through the rest of this guy's site? He's pretty scary. Islamic witch-hunt, much?

Also, just because you can do something, that doesn't mean you should do it. I've heard delicious baked goods can be made from ground earthworms...
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From:crasch
Date:July 16th, 2003 08:10 am (UTC)
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Yeah, many of his views are nutty. But I still think it's a cool idea. Great for camping, if nothing else.
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From:ilwitchgrrl
Date:July 16th, 2003 07:57 am (UTC)
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very interesting article - thanks for posting!
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From:crasch
Date:July 16th, 2003 08:11 am (UTC)
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You're welcome!
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From:saintswife
Date:July 16th, 2003 08:36 am (UTC)
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Cool! First I'd heard of thermos cooking, although we took the time in Y2k to set up a solar oven. With the 100 degree weather we are having - it would work really well right about now.

Thanks for posting that :)
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From:crasch
Date:July 16th, 2003 05:42 pm (UTC)
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You're welcome!
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From:adifferentpath
Date:July 16th, 2003 10:32 am (UTC)
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I really enjoyed that article. I'm going to try it out. I already spend little on food ~ 100 a month for one person. If times got hard and I found myself unemployed (in the computer industry job security is nonexistant) I am confident that I could get by on $40 a month for food. I have so much food stockpiled from loss leader sales that I could get by on that for a couple of months without buying any new food.
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From:crasch
Date:July 16th, 2003 05:43 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, I'm going to try it out too. The only bad thing I see is that if you leave it in the thermos too long, I would imagine that the thermos would be difficult to clean.
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From:crasch
Date:July 16th, 2003 05:44 pm (UTC)
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BTW, the internet-grocer might have some stuff of interest to you:

http://www.internet-grocer.net/dehydrtd.htm
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From:perich
Date:July 16th, 2003 05:13 pm (UTC)

Suggested Sub-Header:

(Link)
When You Have More Time Than Money
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From:crasch
Date:July 16th, 2003 05:47 pm (UTC)

Re: Suggested Sub-Header:

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Yes, adding boiling water to a thermos does take quite a bit of effort. I'm sticking with Pop-tarts and microwave popcorn.
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From:perich
Date:July 16th, 2003 08:03 pm (UTC)

Re: Suggested Sub-Header:

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p0p-t@rts! w00t

(Also, don't knock the protein content of popcorn)
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From:commander_zero
Date:July 18th, 2003 10:38 am (UTC)
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I've played with the thermos cooking idea for a while. Heres my two cents worth:

It does work, albeit slowly, and sometimes the results are mixed. Some rice, dried meat, dried vegetables, and that sort of thing, left overnight, worked well in the sense that the texture and consistency was goo, but it seemed rather bland. perhaps the actual cooking process distributes flavors more?

When I was playing around with this I used the Aladdin Stanley, purchased for about $40. Its definitely a substantial thermos and appears to be a product that will definitely 'last a lifetime'. (So, of course, I bought three.)

I have a food dehydrator and dried onions, basil, oergano, thyme, tomatoes, beef, garlic and rice actually works well and is filling but you really need to experiment with water/food ratios and I think a bit of motion helps things to 'cook' evenly...that is to say, I think better results would be obtained if the thermos was not always stationary but rather moved around, say, as in a pack or something.

It definitely works if you just want to make some rice to add to an MRE or something.

In my opinion, its worth the effort. Its nice to have for long trips in the sticks (hunting, etc) and absolutely nothing beats being in the middle of nowhere having hot food.
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