Posting ID : B1008781020
Date Posted : 2012-05-19
Group : Antiques By Owner
Vintage RAPID FIRELESS COOKER. Excellent Original Condition.Very Clean and Complete.
WHAT IS FIRELESS COOKING ??
Fireless cooking is also known as "hay box" cooking. It's a method of cooking wich uses heat retained by insulation of some sort. The main purpose of cooking by this method is to conserve fuel but it has many other advantages. The food can be left to cook unattended, no electricity is required, and the food can't burn. This is an excellent way of cooking foods wich require a long cooking time. Beans, whole grains, or tougher cuts of meat are good choices of foods to cook this way. It works very much like a crock pot but doesn't require electricity.
The fireless cooker has a long history and has taken many different forms. In Eastern Europe, it's been used for centuries in the form of a chest similar to a cedar chest. The chest was filled with fresh hay and a clean cloth was spread over the hay. The pot used the most was pushed down into the hay to form an indentation, or nest, to hold the pot. An elderly Jewish freind told me that in her childhood in Poland, her family wouldn't cook on the sabath so they prepared food before the sabath and used a "hay box" to keep the food warm.
During both World Wars, the fireless cooker was used to supplement rationed or unavailable fuel sources. In England during World War II, it was known as the "Victory Oven". In America the fireless cooker was widely used by pioneers in the treeless prairie states. Willa Cather mentions fireless cookers in her novel, "My Antonia" about Eastern European immigrants to Nebraska.
Many older American cookbooks have chapters on fireless cooking. "The Settlement Cookbook", wich was published by the aid workers of the Settlement Houses who worked with new immigrants, had a chapter on "fireless cookers". I own a Butterick Cook Book , published in 1911, wich has a chapter on fireless cookers. Currently aid workers in Asia and Africa are encouraging use of the "Wonder Box" (a fireless cooker) to save fuel in deforested areas.