Cooking Your Food Indoors
As I am writing this from New York State’s Southern Tier, I am acutely aware of cold weather, rainy days and limited sunshine, conditions which greatly limit my options for indoor cooking in long term emergencies.
Starting my research, the first option which came to mind was a Coleman Stove, probably a throwback to my childhood camping experiences! However… a query directed to the Coleman company about cooking indoors elicited a response of “No!” Any stove using a source of propane or other bottled gas must have appropriate ventilation. And if you are indoors with no electricity (no exhaust fans!), it would create a dangerous situation. Across the board… no camping stoves.
So… have you heard about or seen a YouTube video about an apple box oven? (Similar applications are called cardboard box oven, scotch oven.) Although appealing and definitely inexpensive, none can be safely used indoors. Charcoal briquettes give off carbon monoxide and could prove deadly to anyone waiting to be fed. Be sure to check these options out in our “Cooking Your Foods Outdoors” section, below. Since we live in a close waterfront neighborhood, with both year-’round homes and “summer people” cottages scattered throughout, we have to be doubly careful about maintaining a low profile concerning our prepper status. The telltale fragrance of roasting meat travels far when your windows are open, giving away your secret food storage!
Wood Burning Stove – If you already have a wood burning stove in your home or apartment, you’re ahead of the game. A wood burning stove is not only a heating option, this may be one of the best options for cooking indoors. But consider that storing and replenishing a supply of wood may become an problem.
Tea Light Stove – Those little candles that go under the tea pot can also be used for some serious cooking indoors. The correct term for this option is the HERC (Home Emergency Radiant Cooking) Stove. Made by Titan Ready USA, the HERC XXL Stove cooks with 20 tea lights on a tray which slides into the stove. Each candle lasts 4-5 hours. Two unglazed quarry stones are positioned inside the stove to both absorb and reflect heat to aid in cooking. You can prepare cookies, brownies, cakes, the list is endless. Chicken, beef, pork, seafood, casseroles… all can be roasted or baked to perfection, and in non-emergency situations when your freezer is still functioning, the stove handles frozen meals, as well. Cooking times vary from less time compared to an electric oven… to more time, depending on what you’re cooking.
DIY Alcohol Stove – This is one of the most inexpensive and creatively simple stoves, and it’s a DIY simple paint can. Also look for this same option included in a separate “Heating Options” section. WATCH VIDEO
Sterno Stove – This is an inexpensive option to use; however, since Sterno does not burn as hot as other options, you may find it more suitable to warming foods such as beans in a can or complete-in-the-can soups (to name just two). Here’s a video to give you an idea of how it will work for you. WATCH VIDEO
Cooking Your Food Outdoors
Coleman (Camping) Stoves – Coleman stoves have been around for a long time. Many campers base their cooking options on at least one of the Coleman options. One which gives me the option of both a burner and a grill is the Coleman Perfect Flow InstaStart Grill Stove. And be sure to stock up on Coleman’s propane fuel cylinders, as well.
Wood/Twigs – Emberlit Wood Grills are designed to work with wood/twigs as fuel (can’t get much cheaper than this!), and can also be used with multiple sterno cans placed in the fuel chamber instead of twigs.
Cardboard Box Oven – You may also find information on this type of baking option on YouTube under “Apple Box Oven” or “Scotch Oven.” Although the video I’m linking is not my favorite as far as the box construction is concerned, I do like the way he shows you how to prepare and bake a chicken. Many other videos show you how to bake cookies or bread, and you’ll find them if you search on YouTube, but in an emergency situation, I’m going to be more focused on real food!
Solar Oven – When you look at Amazon’s solar ovens, you’ll find a price range from about $79 to several hundred $$$. Or… you can choose to make a solar oven/cooker yourself, for just a few dollars. This video shows you several different styles of solar cookers you can make using simple, everyday materials, and also demonstrates making coffee, chicken and rice, etc. WATCH VIDEO
Backyard Grill – Whether your trusty ole’ outdoor grill is fueled with charcoal or propane, it is the site for many more of your family meals in the future. Find space to store either bags of charcoal or propane-filled canisters. You already know how to cook on the grill, so add to your skills by trying new foods and new recipes to feed a hungry family.